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Title: Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican, v. 2-2 - A Historical, Geographical, Political, Statistical and - Social Account of that Country from the Period of the - Invasion by the Spaniards to the Present Time.
Author: Mayer, Brantz
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican, v. 2-2 - A Historical, Geographical, Political, Statistical and - Social Account of that Country from the Period of the - Invasion by the Spaniards to the Present Time." ***

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                    AZTEC, SPANISH AND REPUBLICAN:


                          WITH A VIEW OF THE



                            AND NOTICES OF

                      NEW MEXICO AND CALIFORNIA.

                             BRANTZ MAYER,

                            IN TWO VOLUMES

                              VOLUME II.

                         S. DRAKE AND COMPANY.


      ENTERED according to Act of Congress, in the year 1850, by

                             SIDNEY DRAKE,

      In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Connecticut.

                         C. A. ALVORD, PRINTER

                          29 Gold-st., N. Y.



 CHAPTER I.--Absence of accuracy--Humboldt--Superficial extent
 of Mexican Territory--Physical structure of Mexico--Volcanic
 mountains--Climates--Tierras Templadas, Calientes,
 Frias--Political divisions and boundaries of Mexico--Old Spanish
 boundary--Present States and Territories--Rivers of Mexico--Rivers and
 Lakes of Mexico,                                                      9

 CHAPTER II.--Division of
 Indifference, Procrastination--Females--Better
 Classes--Their social habits--Entertainments--Leperos--Their
 habits--Evangelistas--Thieving--The Ranchero--His character and
 habits--The Indian race--Agriculturists--Traditionary habits adhered
 to--Improvidence--Superstition--Drunkenness--Indian women--Servile
 condition--Local adhesiveness--Peonage--Whipping--Planter-life--Its
 solitude and results--Mülenpfordt's character of the Indians--Indian
 tribes and races in Mexico--Table of castes in Mexico,               22

 CHAPTER III.--Population--Census--Tables of population--Relative
 division of races--Relative intellectual cultivation--Relative
 population in hot and cold districts,                                41

 CHAPTER IV.--Agriculture--Dry and rainy seasons--Irrigation--Yield
 of corn lands--Colonial restrictions--Colonial dependence--Bad
 intercommunication--Arrieros--Corn lands--Different kinds
 of corn in Mexico--Mode of cultivation--Production--various
 uses of corn--Banana--Mainoc--Rice--The olive--Vine--Chile
 pepper--tomato--Frijol--Maguey--Maguey estates--Making
 Pulque--Aloes--Cacti,                                                48

 CHAPTER V.--Estates in the valleys of Cuernavaca and
 Cuautla--Mexican haciendas--Sugar regions--Coffee--Its
 yield--Tobacco--Orizaba--Chiapas, etc.--Indigo--Cotton--Manufactures
 encouraged in Mexico--No new agricultural
 population--New manufacturing population--Production of
 cotton--Vainilla--Jalap--Cacao--Cochineal--Its production and
 quantity--Silk--Fruits--Agricultural prospects--Grazing, and not an
 agricultural country,                                                62

 CHAPTER VI.--Reflections on emigration--Advantages of America--Land
 and labor--Mines wrought by Aztecs--Mining districts and extent
 in Mexico--Errors as to early supply of metals from America--True
 period of abundance--Mines not exhausted--Condition--Families
 enriched--Effect of mining on Agriculture--Relative product of
 silver for ten years--Table of product--Yield of the mines since the
 Conquest--Coinage in 1844--Total coinage 1535 to 1850,               76

 CHAPTER VII--Income of New Spain 1809--Expenses
 of New Spain 1809--Mineral productions--Military
 commerce--Imports--Exports--Nineteen years trade between the United
 States and Mexico--Character of imports--Character of exports--Silver
 exported--Fairs in Mexico--The future prospects and position of
 Mexico--Not a commercial country--Railway from Vera Cruz to the city
 of Mexico,                                                           93

 CHAPTER VIII.--Disorder of Mexican finances--Enormous usury--Character
 of financial operations--Expenses of administrations--Analysis of
 Mexican debt--Comparison of income and outlay--Deficit,             107

 CHAPTER IX.--Table of cotton factories in
 Mexico--Consumption--Production--Increase of factories--Day and night
 work--Deficit of material--Water and steam power--Mexican manufactures
 generally,                                                          112

 CHAPTER X.--The military in Mexico before and after the
 revolution--Confirmation of army--Its political use--Character
 of Mexican soldiers--Recruiting--Tactics--Officers--Dramatic
 character of army--Recriminations--Condition of the army at the
 peace--Army on the northern frontier--Military colonies--Character
 of the tribes--Fortresses--Perote--Acapulco--San Juan de
 Ulua--Re-organization of the army--Tabular view of men
 and Materiel--Navy--Extent of coast on both seas--Naval
 establishment--Vessels and officers--Expenses of war and navy,      116

 CHAPTER XI--Relations between the Mexican church and the
 Pope--Clergy--Monks--Nuns--Monasteries--Convents--Wealth of the
 church--Ratio of clergy and people--High and low clergy--their
 history--vices--Monks--Rural clergy--Their character--Conduct
 of clergy, public and private--Missions in California--Mode of
 conversion--Monks in Mexico--Zavala's strictures--Pazo's strictures
 on South American clergy--Church in the United States and in
 Mexico--Constitutional protection of Catholicism--Duty of the
 church--Bulls--Paper money,                                         130

 CHAPTER XII.--Various changes of the Mexican
 constitution--Present organization of the national and
 state governments--Constitution of 1847--Legislative and
 judiciary--National and state--Judiciary--Administration of
 justice--Civil and criminal process--Mal-administration of
 justice--Prisons--Crime--Accordada--Condition of prisons--Statistics
 of crime in the capital--Garrotte--Mexican opinions,                144

 CHAPTER XIII.--What Mexico has done--Review
 of her conduct and character--Mexican
 of whites--want of Homogeneousness--Want of nationality and of
 a people--Remedies--Emigration--Religious liberty--political
 order--Labor,                                                       155


 CHAPTER I.--Division of Mexico into States--Eastern, western,
 interior--Yucatan--Boundaries, departments, population, districts,
 towns, parishes, productions, principal towns, islands,
 harbors--Chiapas--Boundaries, products, departments, towns, rivers,
 population--Remains in Yucatan and Chiapas--Discoveries of Stephens,
 Catherwood, Norman, etc.--Palenque--Uxmal--Yucatan calendar--Yucatan,
 Chiapan, Mechoacan, Nicaragua and Mexican months--Yucatese and
 Chiapan cycle--Yucatese and Mexican solar year--Differences--Yucatese
 months--Tabasco--Boundaries, rivers, lagune, inhabitants, productions,
 towns and villages,                                                 165

 CHAPTER II.--Boundaries of Vera Cruz--Rivers, lagunes, mineral
 springs, population, political divisions, productions, cattle,
 cities, towns--Vera Cruz--Its diseases--Meteorological
 observations at--Water fallen at Vera Cruz--Orizaba--Ascent
 of the mountain--Magnificent views--Difficulties--The crater
 extinct--Elevation of the mountain--Descent--Antiquities
 in the state of Vera Cruz--Ruins at Panuco, Chacuaco, San
 Nicolas, La Trinidad--Small figures--Papantla--Description
 of the pyramid--Ruins at Mapilca--Pyramid and temple at
 Tusapan--Isle of Sacrificios--Misantla--Remains near
 Puente Nacional--Tamaulipas--Boundaries, rivers, lagunes,
 climate, population, productions, towns--Antiquities of
 Tamaulipas--Topila--Rancho de las piedras--Sculpture--Remains, etc.,
 etc.                                                                183

 CHAPTER III.--Oajaca--Extent, Boundaries, Geology, Valley, Indians,
 Departments, Population, Mines, Ports, Productions, Cattle,
 Towns, Ancient remains--Mitla--The palace--Tombs--Antiquarian
 speculations--connection of Mexican remains--Quiotepec, or Cerro de
 las Juntas,                                                         210

 CHAPTER IV.--Puebla--Divisions, productions,
 factories--River--Streams--Puebla de los
 --Atlixco--Olivares--Ascent of the mountain--The crater--Elevation--Pyramid
 of Cholula--Visit to the pyramid--Correct dimensions--Territory of
 Tlascala--History--Position--Size--Productions--Towns,              220

 CHAPTER V.--State of Mexico--Area, Divisions,
 Population, Federal district, Valley, Highways,
 --Cities--San Augustin--Festival--Tezcoco, Tacuba, Toluca--Cascade
 of Regla--Towns--Valley of Cuernavaca--Acapantzingo--Its Indian
 isolation--Mines in the state,                                      233

 CHAPTER VI.--Description of the city of Mexico--Cathedral--Its
 architecture and riches--The Palace, University, Market,
 Chamber of Deputies, etc.--Portales--Mineria--La Merced--San
 Domingo--Characters and costumes--Paseos--Alameda--Aqueducts--Passeo
 Nuevo and de la Viga--Alameda--Description of it--Life in
 Mexico--Theatres--Opera--Domestic life--Genuine but cautious
 hospitality--Legend of the virgin of Guadalupe,                     244

 CHAPTER VII.--Antiquities in the museum--Statue of Charles
 IV.--Condition of the museum--Feathered serpents--Viceroy's
 portraits--Cortéz--Portrait--Armor--Pedro de
 mounds--Tescocingo--Hill--Its ancient adornments--Ancient
 bellevue and reservoir--Tezcocan splendor--Bosque del
 Contador--Ponds--Lakes--Arbors--Pyramids of Teotihuacan--Houses of sun
 and moon--Path of the dead--Carved pillar--Pillar at Otumba--Pyramid
 of Xochicalco--Hill of Xochicalco--Its structures,                  266

 CHAPTER VIII.--State of Mechoacan--Boundaries--Elevations--Volcano of
 Jorullo--Theories of Humboldt and Lyell--Present condition--Rivers of
 Mechoacan--Climate, Health, Indians, Departments, Agriculture, Towns,
 Mines--Jalisco--Boundaries, Population, Rivers, Lakes, Divisions,
 Manufactures, Agriculture, Factories--Guadalajara--Towns--San Juan
 de los Lagos--Tepic--San Blas--Mines, Islands, Mining region,
 Indians, Character and Habits, Church and School, Education,
 Bishopric--Territory of Colima--Extent, Climate, Productions,
 Towns,                                                              286

 CHAPTER IX.--Sinaloa--Boundaries, Climate, Divisions, Indians,
 Products, Towns, Mines--Sonora--Boundaries, Divisions, Rivers,
 Climate, Indians, Trade, Towns, Mines--Territory of Lower
 California--Boundaries, Character, Population, Products, Pearls, Salt,
 Mines, Seals, Whales, Climate, Ports, towns, Population--State of
 Guerrero,                                                           298

 CHAPTER X.--State of Querétaro--Boundaries, Divisions,
 Characteristics, Rivers, Population and climate, Districts,
 etc., Agricultural products, Forests, Factories, Cities,
 Mines--State of Guanajuato--Boundaries, Extent, Soil--Lake
 Yurirapundaro--Climate, Effect of maladies--Productions, Vine,
 Olive--Divisions--Population--City of Guanajuato--Towns in
 the state--Hacienda of Jaral--Mines--Silver, Copper, Lead,
 Cinnabar--Zacatécas--Boundaries, Extent, Agriculture, Divisions,
 Population, Towns--Zacatécas--Aguas Calientes, etc.--Product and value
 of Zacatécan mines--Ruins of Quemada in Zacatécas,                  306

 CHAPTER XI.--State of San Luis Potosi--Boundaries,
 Lakes, Rivers, Climate, Departments, Products--San
 Luis--Towns--Mining region--New Leon--Boundaries, Character,
 Rivers, Climate, Departments--Agriculture--Grazing,
 etc.--Monterey--Coahuila--Boundary, Position, Climate, Productions,
 Towns--State of Durango--Boundary, Character, Divisions, Streams,
 Productions--City of Durango--Towns, Mines, Iron, Silver--Indian
 necrology--Cave burial,                                             324

 CHAPTER XII.--State of Chihuahua--Position, Boundaries,
 Extent, Characteristics, Rivers, Lakes, Indians, Divisions,
 Climate, Productions--Cattle estates--Mint--Mines--Principal
 towns--Chihuahua--El Paso del Norte--Military importance--El
 Paso wine, etc.--Antiquities--Indian ravages--The
 Bolson de Mapimi--Mexican modes of travelling and
 wagons--Mexican habit of Home-staying--want of exploration--Modern
 advancement,                                                        334

 APPENDIX NO. 1--Profile of the Plateau--Mexico to Santa Fé--Santa Fé
 to the Gulf,                                                        346

 APPENDIX NO. 2--Mexican Coins, Weights and Measures,                347


 TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO.--Exploration of the far
 west--Long, Nicollet, Frémont--Santa Fé trade--First
 adventurers--Caravans--New Mexico erected by Congress into a
 territory--Geological structure of New Mexico--The Rio Grande--Its
 --Copper--Iron--Gypsum--Salt--Climate--Pueblo  Indians--Wild Indians
 enumerated--Number of Pueblo Indians--Census--Proximate present
 population--Character of people and government--Santa Fé--Alburquerque
 --Valley of Toas--Statistics of Santa Fé trade, etc.--Itinerary from
 Fort Leavenworth to Santa Fé and El Paso,                           351

 STATE OF CALIFORNIA.--Title to the region--Missionary settlement,
 its purposes--Character of California--Secularization
 of missions--Population in missions--Agricultural
 war--Condition of California at its close--Progress of
 settlement and law--Constitution adopted--Admission as a
 state--Former boundaries--The great Basin--Utah--Great
 Salt Lake--Pyramid lake--Rivers--Present state
 boundaries--Area--Geography--Sacramento--San Joaquin--Shastl
 peak,                                                               367

 STATE OF CALIFORNIA CONTINUED.--Configuration of the state--Bay
 of San Francisco and city--Rivers of California--Character of
 soil, etc.--Relative sterility and productiveness--Climate--Dry
 and wet seasons--Causes of change--Climate in San Francisco,
 coast range valleys and interior valley--Area of arable and
 grazing land--Productions--Discovery of gold--Its position--The
 placeres--Washing--Digging--The Mines--Calculations as to the yield
 of the mines--Gold yielded by California--Its quality--Quicksilver
 mines--Commerce--Population--Growth of cities--Old
 presidios--Towns--Land titles--Mission lands--Conclusion,           378

 APPENDIX.--Meteorological Observations in California,               398






It is unfortunate that, notwithstanding the rich mineralogical and
agricultural character of Mexico, no thoroughly accurate survey or
geological examination has ever been made of the whole country. There is
no complete map of the territory which may be confidently relied on. The
enterprise of developing Mexico, since the foundation of the colonial
government by Spain has been almost entirely abandoned to private
enterprise, and, consequently the valuable information, collected by
individuals, either perished in their hands after it had been used for
their own benefit, or, if imparted to the government, has never been
united and collated with other accounts and reconnoissances which were
in the hands of national authorities. A great deal was done by Baron
Alexander Humboldt, during his visit to New Spain early in this century,
towards gathering the geographical, geological and statistical
information which was then in existence, though scattered, far and wide,
over the viceroyalty, in a thousand different hands. His voluminous work
is an enduring monument to his industry and talent; but there is
necessarily a great deal of it that was altogether transitory in its
character both on account of the political and social revolution which
has since occurred, and in consequence of the opening, by the republic,
of Mexican ports to the commerce of the world.

Nevertheless, at the period of Humboldt's visit, the main bold
geographical and geological features of Mexico were sufficiently well
known for practical purposes, and as his descriptions have, in most
cases, stood the test of criticism during near half a century, we may
still safely appeal to him, and to his industrious countryman,
Muhlenpfordt,[1] as the most reliable authorities upon these topics.

       *       *       *       *       *

According to Humboldt, Mexico presented a surface of one hundred and
eighteen thousand four hundred and seventy-eight square _leagues_, of
twenty-five to the degree, yet this calculation did not include the
space between the northern extremity of New Mexico and Sonora, and the
American boundary of 1819. Thirty-six thousand five hundred square
leagues, comprising the States of Zacatecas, Guadalajara, Guanajuato,
Michoacan, Mexico, Puebla, Vera Cruz, Oajaca, Tabasco, Yucatan, Chiapas,
were within the torrid zone; while New Mexico, Durango, New and Old
California, Sonora and a great part of the old Intendancy of San Luis
Potosi, containing in all eighty-six thousand square leagues, were under
the temperate zone.[2]

A more recent, and, generally, an accurate writer,[3] has estimated the
boundaries of Mexico, prior to the treaty of 1848, at Guadalupe, between
the United States and Mexico, to have embraced an area of one million
six hundred and fifty thousand square miles, including Texas. By the
treaty just mentioned we acquired an undisputed title to Texas, and a
territorial cession of New Mexico and Upper California.

  Texas is estimated to contain,    325,520 square miles.
  New Mexico    "          "         77,387   "      "
  Upper California         "        448,691   "      "
                                    851,598   "      "[4]

If we, therefore, deduct from the preceding estimate of one million six
hundred and fifty thousand square miles, the sum of eight hundred and
fifty-one thousand five hundred and ninety-eight square miles, we shall
have, as the best approximate calculation, that we can now make, seven
hundred and ninety-eight thousand four hundred and two square miles, for
the total superficial extent of the Republic of Mexico, as at present
bounded since the ratification of our recent international treaty. By
that negotiation it consequently appears that we have obtained one half
the former territory of Mexico and twenty-six thousand five hundred and
ninety-eight square miles besides.

The geological structure or physiognomy of Mexico is peculiar. The great
Cordillera of the Andes, which traverses the whole of South America,
from its southernmost limit, is exceedingly depressed at the Isthmus of
Panama, where its gentle swells serve merely to form a barrier between
the union of the Pacific and Atlantic. But, as soon as this massive
chain enters the broader portion of North America, it divides into two
gigantic _arms_, to the east and west along the shores of the Gulf and
of the Pacific, which support between them a continuous lofty platform,
or series of table lands, crossed, broken, and intersected by
innumerable and abrupt _sierras_, some of which rise to the height of
seventeen thousand feet above the level of the sea. This geological
structure prevails throughout the whole of Mexico, as now bounded; for,
at the Rio Grande, the southern limit of Texas, the land sinks to
comparative levels, and affords channels for the numerous and important
streams with which, Louisiana, Florida and Texas are abundantly
irrigated. Whilst this is the case on the _northern_ and _eastern_
confines of Mexico, the _western_ portion is still traversed by the main
body of the gigantic Cordillera, which, penetrating California with its
icy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, passes onward to the north until its
rocky walls are lost, beyond Oregon, in the wilderness that bounds the
Frozen Sea.[5]

The reader who pictures to himself such a country will easily understand
that all temperatures are gained in Mexico on the same parallel of
latitude,--or that eternal heat and eternal frost are encountered in
crossing the country in a straight line from Vera Cruz to the Pacific
coast. It is a country hanging on the two slopes of a mountain, one of
which descends to the Gulf and the other to the Western Ocean; and the
traveller, in penetrating it, even by the road usually traversed by
public conveyances, must attain a height of ten thousand six hundred and
sixty feet, before he begins to descend into the valley of Mexico, which
is, still, seven thousand five hundred and forty-eight feet above the
level of the sea! Thus it is, that throughout the table lands, the
geographical position, as far as latitude is concerned, is entirely
neutralized by the extreme rarefaction of the atmosphere obtained by
ascending through loftier regions. Humboldt graphically declares that
climates succeed each other in _strata_ or _layers_, as we pass from
Vera Cruz to the capital, or from the capital, descend to Acapulco or
San Blas on the west coast,--beholding in our varied journey, the whole
scale of vegetable life. The wild abundance of vegetation on the shore
of the Gulf,--its beautiful palms whose stems are wreathed by a myriad
of impenetrable parasites which grow with such rank luxuriance in the
hot and humid air of the tropics,--are exchanged, as we begin to rise
from the level of the sea, for hardier forest trees. At Jalapa the air
is milder, though the vapors from the Gulf which concentrate and
condense at about this height on the sides of the mountains, sustain the
perpetual freshness of the verdure. Further on, the oak and the orange
give place to the fir and pine. Here the rarefied air becomes pure, thin
and perfectly transparent; but as it necessarily lacks moisture, which
condenses below this region, the vegetation is neither so luxuriant nor
so constantly vigorous. Great plains or basins, spread out in silent and
melancholy vistas before the traveller,--many of them, cold, bleak and
lonely moors, whose dreary levels sadden the heart of the spectator. The
sun which comes down through the cloudless medium of an atmosphere
unscreened by the usual curtain of vapor, parches and crisps the thirsty
soil, whilst the winds that sweep uninterruptedly over the unbroken
expanse, fill the air, during the dry season, with sand and dust. These
high barren plains occupy a large portion of the centre of the country
between Zacatecas, Durango and Saltillo; and such is in fact the
character of large portions of the whole of Mexico, except when the
comparatively level nature of the soil permits the small rivulets that
filter from the Cordillera through the narrow vallies, to form
themselves into rivers which may be used for irrigation. Wherever this
is the case nature at once recovers her vigor under the influence of
heat and moisture.

These physical features, and consequent diversities of temperature, have
caused the division of Mexico, as it rises from the two Oceans, into
three regions, or superficial strata, which are called, the _tierras
calientes_, or _hot lands_; the _tierras templadas_, or _temperate
lands_; and the _tierras frias_ or _cold lands_. The _tierra caliente_
covers chiefly that portion of the territory which lies on the borders
of the Atlantic and Pacific; yet it is not confined exclusively to the
coast, inasmuch as all those parts of Mexico in which there is heat and
moisture enough to produce the fruits and maladies of the tropics, are
classed under this head. The _tierra fria_ comprises the mountainous
districts rising above the level of the capital up to the limit of
constant snow; while the _tierra templada_ embraces those milder middle
regions not comprehended in the two other sections. Classing them by
elevation _in feet_, we may suppose that the _tierras calientes_ extend
to between 3,000 and 4,000 feet above the level of the sea; the _tierras
templadas_ to between 4 and 8,000 feet; and that the _tierras frias_
embrace all the remaining portions up to the region of eternal ice.


It is, perhaps, more of historical or antiquarian interest, than of
actual present value, to recur to the ancient divisions of the
viceroyalty of New Spain. Nevertheless, there are readers who are
naturally anxious to trace the territorial aggrandizement as well as the
recent curtailment of Mexico, and we have, therefore, thought it proper
to present a picture of the limits and apportionment of the country at
several periods.

The territorial limits of that region generally called NEW SPAIN, were
comprised between the degrees of 15° 58´ and 42° of north latitude; and
between 89° 4´ and 126° 48´ 45´´ west longitude from Paris,--calculating
from the easternmost point of Cape Catoché, in Yucatan, to the extreme
western limit of the land at Cape Mendocino, in California. The Gulf of
Mexico and the Carribean Sea bounded this country on the east and
south-east; the Pacific Ocean on the west; Guatemala on the south; and
the United States, on the north. There was a multitude of islands
comprehended under this territorial dominion. On the east coast of
Yucatan were the isles of Holvas, Comboy, Mugeres, Cancun, Cozumel and
Ubero;--in the Gulf of Mexico, the island of Bermejos and several
smaller ones;--in the Pacific, the isles of Revilla-gigedo, of Maria,
Cedros, San Clemente, Santa Catalina, San Nicolas, Santa Barbara, Santa
Cruz, San Bernardo, San Miguel;--and in the Gulf of California, or
Cortéz, the isles of Cerralvo, Espiritu Santo, San José, Santa Cruz,
Carmen, Tortugas, Tiburon, Santa Iñez, and numerous insignificant islets
or keys.

       *       *       *       *       *

The limit between the United States and New Spain was defined by a
treaty negotiated between the Chevalier de Onis, then Spanish minister
at Washington, and John Quincy Adams, American Secretary of State, after
long and learned historical as well as legal discussions of territorial
rights and limits, which the student will find, at large, in the second
and fourth volumes of "American State Papers," published by the
government of the United States. This treaty was signed on the 22d of
February, 1819, and, according to its third article, the boundary
between Mexico and Louisiana, which was then ceded to the Union,
commenced with the river Sabine at its entrance into the Gulf of Mexico,
at about latitude 29°, west longitude 94°, and followed its course as
far as its juncture with the Red river of Natchitoches, which then
served to mark the frontier up to the 100th degree of west longitude,
whence the line ran directly north to the river Arkansas, which it
followed to its source at the 42d° of north latitude,--whence another
straight line was drawn upon the said 42d parallel, to the coast of the
Pacific Ocean.

This line, it was supposed, would interpose a perpetual barrier of
wilderness, tenanted only by Indians and wild animals, between the
republic of the north and the treasured colonies of the Spanish crown.
But subsequent events have shown in the course of little more than the
quarter of a century, how rapidly the population of the old world and
the new has swelled beyond the limits prescribed by statesmen, until the
savage and the beast have been made to yield their hunting grounds and
forests for the use of civilized man.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the earliest period of which we have any authentic information, this
territory of Spain was divided into the kingdoms of Mexico, New Galicia,
and New Leon; the colony of New Santander; and the provinces of
Coahuila, Texas, New Biscay, Sonora, New Mexico and the two Californias.
This arrangement was extremely indefinite; but, in 1776, the country was
divided into twelve intendancies: Merida, Oajaca, Vera Cruz, Puebla,
Mexico, Valladolid, Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi,
New Biscay, and Sonora; and the three provinces of New Mexico, and Alta
and Nueva California. The intendancy of San Luis Potosi, included New
Leon, New Santander, Coahuila and Texas, and San Luis Potosi,
proper;--the intendancy of New Biscay embraced the provinces of Durango
and Chihuahua; and the intendancy of Sonora took in the provinces of
Sinaloa, Ostimuri, and Sonora. Each intendancy was subdivided into
_subdelegaciones_. Another division cut off New Spain, proper, from the
_Provincias Internas_. These last named provinces included all the
territory lying north and northwesterly of the intendancies of Zacatecas
and Guadalajara, or the kingdom of Nueva Gallicia. The "_Provincias
Internas del Vireynato_," must be distinguished from the "_Provincias
Internas de la Commandancia de Chihuahua_," which, in 1779, were
comprised in a General-Captaincy. The two intendancies New Biscay and
Sonora, then part of San Luis Potosi, belonged to the provinces of
Coahuila and Texas. The interior provinces of the viceroyalty were the
intendancy of San Luis Potosi, including the provinces of New Leon and
New Santander. The _actual_ kingdom of New Spain was composed of the
intendancies of Mexico, Puebla, Vera Cruz, Guadalajara, Valladolid,
Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Oajaca, Merida, and San Luis, proper, and the two
Californias. In the year 1807, the "_Provincias Internas_" were divided
into _western_ and _eastern_, and two general commandancies created.

1st. The _Provincias Internas Occidentales_, or _Western_, were the
intendancies of Sonora, Durango, with Chihuahua (new Biscay); the
province of New Mexico, and the two Californias.

2d. The _Provincias Internas Orientales_, or _Eastern_, were, Coahuila,
Texas, New Santander and New Leon.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such were the main territorial divisions of New Spain during the
concluding years of the Spanish government,--whilst the revolution was
in progress,--and until the nineteen provinces of the empire of Iturbide
were erected by the federal constitution of 1824 into the nineteen
States of Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila and Texas, Durango, Guanajuato,
Mexico, Michoacan (Valladolid), New Leon, Oajaca, Puebla, Queretaro, San
Luis Potosi, Sonora and Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Vera Cruz, Jalisco
(_Guadalajara_,) Yucatan, and Zacatecas,--and the TERRITORIES of Old and
New California, Colima, New Mexico, and Tlascala. In 1830 the State of
Sinaloa and Sonora, separated into its natural divisions, since which
each has been a distinct, independent State. In 1836, the revolution
which destroyed this federal constitution, changed these STATES into
DEPARTMENTS; by which name they were recognized until the month of May,
1847, when the old federal constitution of 1824, with some amendments,
was reenacted, and the departments once more converted into states;
whilst provision was made for the creation of the new _state of
Guerrero_, to be composed of the districts of Acapulco, Chilapa, Tasco
and Talpa, and the municipality of Coyucan--the three first of which
pertain to the state of Mexico, the fourth to Puebla, and the fifth to
Michoacan,--provided these three states gave their consent within three
months from the 21st of May, 1847, at which period the act reforming the
constitution of 1824 was passed.

The war between Mexico and the United States was happily terminated by
the treaty negotiated at the town of Guadalupe, by Mr. Trist, on the 2d
of February, 1848; and, by this compact, the limit between our
respective territories was greatly changed from that which had been
fixed by the treaty with Spain in 1819. According to the convention of
Mr. Trist, the boundary between the republics commences in the Gulf of
Mexico, three leagues from land, opposite the mouth of the Rio Grande,
otherwise called Rio Bravo del Norte, or opposite the mouth of its
deepest branch, if it should have more than one branch emptying directly
into the sea; from thence it passes up the middle of that river,
following the deepest channel, when it has more than one, to the point
where it strikes the southern boundary of New Mexico, thence, westerly,
along the whole southern boundary of New Mexico, which runs north of the
town of El Paso, to its western termination;--thence northward, along
the western line of New Mexico, until it intersects the first branch of
the river Gila, or, if it does not intersect any branch of that river,
then to the point on the said line nearest to such branch, and then in a
direct line to the same;--thence down the middle of the said branch and
of said river, until it empties into the Rio Colorado;--thence across
the Rio Colorado, following the division line between Upper and Lower
California, to the Pacific Ocean.

It will be perceived by inspecting the map that this new boundary cuts
off a large portion of northern Mexico, and gives us the valuable
territories of New Mexico and Upper California, together with an
undisputed right to the enjoyment of Texas, which had previously been
united to the North American confederacy by international contract,
after the independence of Texas had been recognized by foreign nations
and maintained by its own people.

The states of the Mexican Republic and its territories are,
consequently, under the existing constitution, the following:


  1. Coahuila.
  2. Tamaulipas.
  3. Vera Cruz.
  4. Tabasco.
  5. Yucatan.
  6. Chiapas.
  7. Oajaca.
  8. Puebla.
  9. Mexico, with the Federal District.
  10. Michoacan.
  11. Jalisco.
  12. Sonora.
  13. Sinaloa.
  14. Chihuahua.
  15. Durango.
  16. New Leon.
  17. Zacatecas.
  18. San Luis Potosi.
  19. Guanajuato.
  20. Queretaro.
  21. Guerrero.


  1. Lower California.
  2. Colima.
  3. Tlascala.



1st. The RIO GRANDE DEL NORTE, or RIO BRAVO, which is the largest of all
Mexican streams, and rises, in about 40-1/2° north latitude, and 100°
west longitude, from Paris, in the lofty sierras which are a
continuation of the gigantic chain that forms the spine of our
continent. It pursues a southeasterly direction towards the Gulf of
Mexico, and traverses a distance of nearly eighteen hundred miles.

2d. The RIO DEL TIGRE, rises in the state of Coahuila, and passes, in a
southward and easterly direction, through the states of New Leon and
Tamaulipas, and finally, after traversing about three hundred miles,
debouches in the Gulf of Mexico.

3d. The RIO DE BORBON, or RIO BLANCO. The sources of this stream are in
New Leon, whence it runs towards the east, and, crossing the state of
Tamaulipas, falls in the LAGUNA MADRE.

4th. The RIO DE SANTANDER, rises in the state of Zacatecas, crosses the
state of San Luis Potosi, passes by Tamaulipas, winds to the north, and
falls, near the bar of Santander, into the Gulf.

5th. The RIO DE TAMPICO, is formed by the union of the rivers PANUCO and
TULA. The upper source of the PANUCO is in the neighborhood of the city
of San Luis Potosi, the capital of the state of that name. Near half a
league north north-east of this city, in the valley de la Pila, rises a
spring which is protected by a basin of fine masonry, and conveyed by an
aqueduct to town. Several other streams, coming from the south-west,
unite with this source and form the PANUCO. West of the first of these
streams, swells up the mountainous ridge which divides the waters of
Mexico between the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Panuco courses
eastwardly,--and, passing rapidly through the LAGUNA CHAIRÉL, unites
with the TULA. This latter stream mingles the waters of the rivulets
Tepexi, Tequisquiac, and Tlantla, in the northern part of the state of
Mexico; and receiving, by the canal of Huehuetoca, the water of the Rio
Quautitlan, it winds onward through the valley of Tula, and near the
limits of the states of Queretaro and Vera Cruz, until it joins the
Panuco. These united rivers receive in the state of Tamaulipas, the name
of the RIO DE TAMPICO, which debouches, finally, in the Gulf of Mexico.

6th. The RIO BLANCO rises in the state of Vera Cruz, near Aculzingo, at
the foot of Citlaltepetl, or the mountain of Orizaba. It courses onward
through a varying and rough channel among the mountains and plains,
until it is lost in the lagunes near Alvarado.

7th. The RIO DE SAN JUAN. The sources of this river lie partly in the
metallic mountains of Ixtlan, in the state of Oajaca, and partly in the
neighborhood of Tehuacan de las Granadas. Many large, but wild streams,
spring up in these mountain regions, and form the broad but shallow RIO
GRANDE DE QUIOTEPEC. This river, after winding through the valley of
Cuicatlan, receives, from the south, the large stream of LAS VUELTAS;
and all these unite to form the RIO DE SAN JUAN, which pursues its
eastern course until it approaches the coast near Alvarado, when it
divides into two arms. One of these, named TECOMATE, joining the
COSOMALOAPAN and PASO, form the large lagunes of TEQUIAPA and
EMBARCADÉRO,--whilst the other arm, by a different course, also
debouches in the same lagunes.

8th. The RIO DE GUASACUALCO, rises at about 16° 58´ of north latitude,
and 96° 19´ west longitude, from Paris, in the mountains of Tarifa, and
pours onward towards the east, receiving accessions from a great number
of small mountain streams and rivulets, until it falls into the Gulf of

the mountains of Cuchumatlanes towards the centre of Guatemala, and
falls into the gulf at the port of Tabasco.

10th. The RIO DE USUMASINTA, rises also in Guatemala, and debouches in



Many of these streams are, in fact, not entitled to the name of rivers,
though a few of them are important, whilst all are valuable to some
extent for agriculture, transportation, irrigation, or occasional water


1st. RIO DE CHIMALAPA, sometimes called also, RIO DE CHICAPA, rises in
the forests and mountains of Tarifa in about 16° 43´ north, 96° 33´ west
from Paris, and debouches in the Pacific, after passing the village of
Tehuantepec. The rivers OBSTULA, NILTEPEC or ESTEPEC,--DE LOS PERROS or
JUCHUITAN, ARENAS, LAGARTERO, OTATES, are small coast streams falling
into the lagunes that border the ocean.

2d. The RIO DE TEHUANTEPEC is formed by the union of two streams, one of
which rises about fifty leagues west north-west of Tehuantepec, near the
village of San Dionisio, whilst the other springs from the mountains of
Lyapi and Quiégolani, in the lands of the Chontales. The two unite seven
leagues north-west of Tehuantepec; and, passing by the village of that
name, this river finally pours into the Pacific, near the small port of
Las Ventosas.

3d. The RIO VERDE rises in the Upper Misteca, eight leagues north of
Oajaca, and falls west of the Cerro de la Plata and of the Lagunas of
Chacahua, into the Pacific. On the coast of Oajaca there are many
smaller streams and rivulets, such as the CHACALAPA, the MANIALTEPEC,
the CHICOMETEPEC and the TECOYAMA,--the last of which is the boundary
between the states of Oajaca and Puebla.

4th. The RIO DE TLASCALA, or RIO DE PAPAGALLO, has its source in the
vicinity of the town of Tlascala, in the mountain Atlancatepetl; passes
through the state of Puebla, receives the RIO MEZCALA, out of the state
of Mexico, and enters the Pacific south of the village of Ayulta.

5th. The RIO DE ZACATULA, or RIO BALSAS, originates in the valley of
Istla, in the state of Mexico, and after winding west south-westerly, it
receives the RIOS ZITACUARO, de CHURUMUCO, and del MARQUEZ out of the
state of Michoacan, and passes into the Pacific.

6th. RIO DE AZTALA rises two leagues south-west of the village of
Coalcoman, receives the AGAMILCO, MARUATO and CHICHUCUA, and flows into
the sea between Cachan and Chocóla.

7th. RIO DE TOLOTLAN, RIO GRANDE DE SANTIAGO. This is one of the longest
and most important of Mexican rivers, formed by the junction of the LAXA
and LERMA, near Salamanca, in the state of Guanajuato, and falls into
the Pacific near San Blas after a course of about two hundred leagues.
The Rio Bayóna or Cañas is an important stream on the coast near the
boundary between Jalisco and Sinaloa.

8th. The RIO DE CULIACAN rises in the north of the state of Durango,
where it is called RIO SANZEDA, thence it takes its course towards the
north-west, receiving some smaller streams, and then passing by the town
of Culiacan, falls into the Gulf of California. The RIO DE ROSARIO, RIO
DE MAZATLAN, debouche in the same gulf. The rivers PIASTLA, ELOTA,
the coast of Sinaloa.

9th. The RIO DEL FUERTE has its source in the metalliferous mountains of
Batopilas and Uruachi, in the state of Chihuahua, where it is known as
the river BATOPILAS. It takes a westerly course across the state of
Sinaloa about 27° north;--it receives a number of other streams, on the
western slope of a range of the Cordilleras, and finally flows into the
California Gulf.

10th. The RIO MAYO is the boundary stream between the states of Sinaloa
and Sonora; at its mouth in the Gulf of California is the small port of
Santa Cruz de Mayo, or Guitivis.

11th. The RIO HIAQUI, or YAQUI, rises on the west slope of the Sierra
Madre, near the village Matatiche in the state of Chihuahua, whence its
course is west south-west, across the state of Sonora; it receives the
RIO GRANDE DE BAVISPE which rises in the state of Chihuahua, and also
the RIOS OPOSURA and CHICO, and, finally, is lost in the Gulf of
California, at about 27° 37´ north latitude.

12th. RIO DE GUAYAMAS. This river rises at San José de Pimas, in
latitude 28° 26´ north, its course is west south-west, and its mouth in
the Californian Gulf, at the fine and favorite harbor of San-Jose de
Guayamas in latitude 27° 40´.

13th. The RIO DE LA ASCENSION rises at about 31° 40´ north and 112° 37´
west longitude. On its south-westerly course it receives the tributary
waters of the RIO DE SAN IGNACIO and falls at about 30° 20´ north into
the Gulf of California.

14th. RIO DE COLORADO. This important stream is formed of the river
RAFAEL in about 40° 15´ north, and 110° 50´ west longitude from Paris,
on the western declivity of the Sierra de las Grullas, whence it takes
a south-west course and receives, at the foot of the Monte de Sal Gemme,
the RIO DE NUESTRA SEÑORA DE DOLORES, which springs about 1° 30´ west of
the RAFAEL, in the Cerro de la Plata; and, thus, receiving the
accretions of a number of other streams, it courses onward until it is
lost at the head of the Gulf of California. The whole length of the
COLORADO is estimated at about two hundred and fifty leagues. For about
fifty leagues it is navigable by small sea going vessels; and, for about
a hundred leagues higher, it may be traversed by large boats. The sea is
said to ebb and flow between thirty-five and forty leagues beyond the
mouth of this river. The sources of the ARKANSAS and of the RIO GRANDE
DEL NORTE lie very near those of the COLORADO; so that the waters of the
Gulf of Mexico and of the Gulf of California are nearly united by these
streams across our continent.

15th. The RIO GILA rises in the Sierra de los Mimbres, and descends to
the south, through a small and mountain bound valley until it unites
with the Colorado.



and DE CASTILLA in the state of Chihuahua.


4. The LAKES of PARRAS and AGUA VERDE on the west boundary of Coahuila.

5. The LAKES of CHARCAS, CHAIREL and CHILA in the state of San Luis

6. Nine small SODA LAKES in Zacatecas.

7. The large and important LAKE OF CHAPALA and others in Jalisco.


and ZUMPANGO in the valley of Mexico.

10. The LAKES of ATENCO, COATETILCO, and TENANCINGO in the valley of

11. A number of small ones in Oajaca.

gulf coast or near it.

13. The LAKE of YURIRAPUNDARO in Guanajuato.




An adequate and proper classification of the Mexican population, for
descriptive purposes, may be made under the general heads of: Whites,
Indians, Africans, and the mixed breeds, who are socially sub-divided
into--1st, the educated and respectable Mexicans dwelling in towns,
villages or on estates; 2d, the Leperos; and 3d, the Rancheros.

The whites are still classed in Mexico as _creoles_, or, natives of the
country; and _gachupines_ and _chapetones_, who are Spaniards born in
the Peninsula. The Spanish population yet remaining in the country, its
immediate descendants, and the emigrants from Spain, form a numerous and
important body. Her Catholic Majesty's Consul General in Mexico derives
a lucrative revenue from supplying this large class of his countrymen
with annual "protections," or "_cartas de seguridad_," granted by the
Mexican government, but procured from it through the instrumentality of
this functionary.

The Spaniard no longer holds his former rank in the social scale of the
ancient colony. There are many wealthy mercantile families in the
republic, who owe allegiance to the crown; but among the mechanical
classes there are numbers of poor Castilians whose fate would be
melancholy in Mexico, were they not succored and protected by their
wealthier countrymen.

The Mexican native, in whose veins there is almost always a few drops of
indigenous blood, is commonly indolent and often vicious. The bland
climate and his natural temperament predispose him for an indulgent,
easy and voluptuous life; yet the many

[Illustration: RANCHEROS.]

faults of his character may be fairly attributed to the want of
education, early self-restraint and the disordered political state of
his country which has produced a bad effect upon social life. With quick
and often solid talents, the Mexican citizen is not devoted, early in
his career, by thoughtful parents, either to intellectual pursuits or to
that mental discipline which would regulate an impulsive temperament or
fit him for the domestic, scientific, or political position he might
attain in other countries, under a different social _régime_. He
recollects that in the best days of the colony his family had been
distinguished, powerful and rich, and he finds it difficult, in his
present impoverished state, to forget this traditionary position.
Accordingly, he acts upon the memorial basis of the past, as if it were
still within his grasp or control. This renders him thriftlessly
improvident. Mexicans still speak of the epoch when they or their
parents "swam in gold," or dispensed ducats to the dependants on whom
they now reluctantly bestow coppers. Besides this, their indolent
indifference, which almost amounts to Arab fatalism, makes them not only
subservient to the past, but idolaters of a hope which is quite as
fallacious. According to their belief, better times are continually
approaching. Something, they imagine, will shortly occur to improve
their broken or periled fortunes. "_Paciencia y barajar_,"--"patience
and shuffle the cards," is a maxim on the lips of every one who is
overthrown by a revolution, loses his friends, incurs censure, or finds
himself starving for want of a dollar. If you enquire as to their
prospects, their friends, their interests, or, indeed, in regard to
almost any subject that requires some reflection for a reasonable
reply,--they answer with the habitual--"_Quien Sabe!_"--"who can tell!"
which in the vocabulary of a common Mexican is the--"_quod erat
demonstrandum_" of any social or political problem.

Such qualities and habits do not prepare a nation for resolute action
upon progressive principles. We consequently find, throughout Mexico, an
universal predisposition to _dependence_ upon others, or to a blind
reliance upon _chance_. The drum and the bell which ring forever in our
ears in Mexico, apprise us that immense numbers who possess sufficient
influence to introduce them into the army or the church, repose
comfortably under the protection of those two eleemosynary institutions.
Such is, moreover, the case in all the administrative departments of the
government. Indeed, the state seems only to be constitutionally
organized in order to supply the wants of those it employs, or to found
a genteel hospital in which intriguing idlers are supported either at
the expense of industrious men or by contracting national loans which
may finally overwhelm the republic.

The church, the army, and the government, are thus three permanent
resources for young persons who are too indolent to engage in mercantile
pursuits, or too proud to stoop from their hereditary family rank either
into trade or the workshop.

Bad as are these social features, there is another which may be reckoned
still worse. There are thousands in the republic whose daily reliance is
exclusively on fortune, and for whom the turn of a card decides whether
they are to return to their comfortless families with a plentiful
dinner, or without a cent upon which they may, to-morrow, recommence
their contest with luck at the gambling table. This is a dreadful vice
when it becomes habitual among a naturally susceptible, thriftless and
procrastinating people like the Mexicans. Prodigal not only of their
gold but of their time, they squander the latter without ever reflecting
that it is the capital of industrious men. They regard business as a
burden, and put off, whenever they are permitted, a debt, an engagement,
or a duty, "_hasta manana_"--until to-morrow!

We are perhaps wrong in alleging that every duty is procrastinated, and
life given up exclusively to pleasure; for the genuine Mexican is strict
and punctual in the performance of, at least, the externals of religion.
The pious observances of the church, are, however, even more generally
rigorous among the women than the men.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Mexican females in the upper ranks are badly, if at all, educated.
Few foreign modern improvements have been engrafted on the old Spanish
system of teaching, whilst the subjects taught, and the text-books used,
are quite as primitive. At home, the Mexican lady is obsequiously served
by devoted domestics, but is brought up without a personal knowledge of
a housewife's thrifty duties. The evil influence of such vacant minds
upon the male sex must, necessarily, be very great. If the intellect
does not suggest topics for conversation, it is natural that the
instincts will supply the deficiency. Thus it is that the life of large
numbers of Mexican men is summed up in devotion to their horses, their
_queridas_, and their favorite gambling tables; whilst the existence of
Mexican women is as easily divided between mass, meals, dress, driving,
and the theatre.

Yet we will not be tempted by an epigrammatic sentence, into
condemnation of the whole of Mexican society. It would be unjust to
convey an unqualified idea that such are the characteristics of the
entire white race whose birth or rank entitle it to an exalted social
position. Nevertheless, it is a true picture of perhaps the most
numerous class. The Mexican revolution--its struggles, endurance and
success,--disclose many manly features of national character, and
prepare us to appreciate that patriotic and cultivated body of men and
women who form the national heart and hope of the republic.

The Mexicans have been so harshly dealt with in the descriptions of
foreigners, that they are not always disposed to welcome them beyond
their thresholds. This arises neither from fear nor jealousy, but from
the natural distrust of persons whom they imagine visit their country
with but little sympathy for its institutions and less consideration for
their personal habits. Nor is this repulsiveness to strangers exhibited
so much in the fashionable circles of society as it is among that
loftier description of persons we have already referred to. Yet there
are occasions upon which the houses and hearts of this very class are
cordially opened to intelligent and discreet foreigners, and it is then
that an opportunity is afforded of seeing the best phases of Mexican
character. The fine benevolence of ancient friendship, the universal
respect for genius, a competent knowledge of the laws and institutions
of other countries, a perfect acquaintance with the causes of Mexican
decadence, and a charming regard and care for all those domestic rites
which cement the affections of a home circle, may all be observed and
admired within the walls of a Mexican dwelling.

When a stranger is thus received in the confidential intimacy of a
household, there is no longer any restraint put upon the inmates in his
presence. The courteous expressions which are ordinarily used in the
commerce of society, and whose formal but excessive politeness have
induced careless men to imagine the Mexicans insincere, are now only
expressive of the most cordial devotion to your interests and wants. "Mi
casa esta á su disposition," "my house is at your disposal," means
exactly what it says. You are at home.

As the Mexicans are not a people addicted to the same mode or extent of
informal social intercourse among themselves as the Germans, the
English, or the Americans, it is not strange that they should guard
their doors so carefully against foreigners who visit their country for
the purpose of acquiring fortunes rapidly, in order to enjoy them in the
society of their native land. The reception of a stranger upon an
intimate footing is therefore the greatest compliment he can receive
from the meritorious classes. It is not alone with public affairs or
purely intellectual discussions that we are entertained in such
re-unions of cultivated society. In the free conversation of the
intimate circle there is always a cordial display of sincere interest
for the welfare of each other. The aspirations of the rich or the hopes
of the poor, are always tenderly discussed. There is abundant evidence
of _heart_; and, even after years have elapsed, and the sojourner in
Mexico has returned to his home, he will find by his correspondence that
he is still remembered by the intelligent friends, who made him forget
that he was "a stranger in a strange land."

The Mexicans have generally supposed that it was impossible to entertain
their friends without an extravagant expenditure which was perhaps the
standard that measured the value of their guests. They have still to
learn that a simple style and a cordial welcome together with the
refined conversational intercourse are more valued than imported
champagne and "_pâté de foie gras_." As soon as their society becomes
less old fashioned and formal, they will find themselves more
comfortable in the presence of strangers. In Mexico, as in all
countries, there are notorious specimens of egotism, haughtiness,
ill-breeding, and loose morals, both among men and women; and although
we find these worthless elements floating like bubbles on the surface of
society, they must not be regarded as exclusive national
characteristics. "A nation, in which revolutions and counter-revolutions
are events of almost daily occurrence, is naturally prolific in
desperate and crafty political adventurers;" but the evils that have
been begotten by the past, must not be considered as permanent.

The _Lepero_ is a variety of the Indian, and combines in himself most of
the bad qualities of the two classes from whose union he derives his
being. He is the inhabitant of cities, towns or villages, and, is in
Mexico, what the _lazzaroni_ are in Naples. Neither white, black nor
copper colored; neither savage nor civilized; neither an agriculturist
nor a mechanic, the _lepero_ occupies an equivocal position upon the
boundaries of all these characters. His existence is altogether a matter
of chance. He has scarcely ever a permanent home. His wife and children,
or his _amiga_, are lodged on the ground floor of a hovel in the
outskirts of the town, from which he is often expelled in consequence
either of his poverty, intemperance, or quarrelsome behavior. If
unmarried, he finds a resting place, in these delicious climates, on a
mat beneath the sky, or within the friendly shelter of a wall

[Illustration: FANDANGO.]

or portico. He is devoted to _pulque_ and music; for, whilst he drains
his social glass in the _pulqueria_ amid a crowd of companion _leperos_,
he is ever ready to sing a stave or make a verse in which a spice of wit
or satire is certainly found. When he has earned a dollar by toil, he
quits his labor even before it is completed, in order to spend his
enormous gain. His wants are so small that he may be liberal in his
vices. He regards work as an odious imposition upon human nature; and,
created merely _to live_, he takes care only of to-day leaving to-morrow
to take care of itself. Prudence, he thinks, would be a manifest
distrust of Providence. His food, purchased at the corner of a street
from one of the peripatetic cooks, consists of a few _tortillas_ or
corncakes, steeped in a pan of Chili peppers compounded with lard. A
fragment of beef or fowl sometimes gives zest to the frugal mess. His
dress, of narrow cotton or leather trowsers, and a blanket which is at
once, bed, bedding, coat and cloak,--is worn season after season without
washing, except during the providential ablutions of rain, until the
mingled attrition of dirt and time entirely destroy the materials. An
occasional crime, or quarrel, which is terminated by a resort to knives
and copious phlebotomy, sends him several times every year to the public
prison, where he is faithfully visited, fed and consoled by his spouse
or _amiga_. As he passes along the streets with the manacled chain-gang
to sweep the town, he begs a _claco_ with such bewitching impudence that
the man who refuses the demanded alms must be insensible to humor. Like
the Indian, he is remarkably skilful in imitation, and makes figures of
wax or rags, which are not only singularly faithful as portraits, but
possess a certain degree of grace that is worthy of an artist. Some of
the tribe read and write with ease and even elegance. Among this class
are to be found the _evangelistas_ or letter writers, who, seated around
the _portales_ and side walks of the _plaza_, are ready, at a moment's
notice, to indite a sonnet to a mistress, a petition to government, a
letter to an absent husband, or a wrathful effusion to a faithless
lover. Another branch of this nomadic horde is engaged in the profitable
occupation of "thieving," which requires no capital in trade save nimble
fingers, rapid action, and a bold look with which detection may be
defied. The narrow streets and lanes of towns are the theatres in which
these accomplished rogues perform. No man in Mexico dares indulge in the
luxury of carrying a handkerchief in his pocket. The attempt would be
useless, for a _lepero_ would appropriate it before the stranger had
walked a square. Upon one occasion a hat was actually taken off an
Englishman's head by a _lepero_ in a dense crowd; but the act was so
adroitly done, that the jolly foreigner joined in the shout of laughter
with which the hero was hailed as he vanished among the masses. Should
the priest pass at such a moment with the _host_, on his way to the
chamber of a dying citizen, the _lepero_ would fall on his knees with
the rest of the townspeople, yet whilst he beat his breast with one
hand, he might be seen to keep the other tenaciously in his victim's
pocket. If caught in the felonious act, which rarely happens, the
_lepero_ takes the inflicted blows or choking with craven humility, and,
whilst he shouts--"_ya esta, Senor amo,--ya esta!_" "enough, my master,
oh enough!" he is seeking for another opportunity to pilfer his
punisher's watch or purse, during the conflict.

Such is the Mexican _lepero_. The sketch may seem broad or even
caricatured to those who are unacquainted with the country, but its
accuracy will be acknowledged by all who have resided in Mexico and been
haunted by the filthy tribe.

       *       *       *       *       *

The RANCHERO comes next in our classification of the Mexicans. He is a
small farmer, or _vaquero_, who owns or hires a few acres on which he
cultivates his corn or grazes his cattle. He is not an Indian, a white
man, an African, or a lepero, yet he mixes the qualities of all in his
motly character. He is a person of lofty thoughts and aspirations;--a
devoted patriot;--a staunch fighter in all the revolutions whenever
_guerillas_ are required;--a hard rider and capital boon companion over
a bottle or in a journey among the mountains.

On his small estate he devotes himself to the cultivation of the ground,
or leaves this menial occupation to his family whilst he goes off to the
wars or to carousals and _fandangos_ in the neighboring village
_pulquerias_. He is an Arab in his habits, and especially in his love
and management of the horse. Dressed in his leather trowsers and jerkin;
with his serape over his shoulders, his broad brimed and silver corded
_sombrero_ on his head; his heels armed with spurs whose three-inch
rowels gleam like the blades of daggers; his sword strapped to the
saddle beneath his _armas de agua_, and, grasping his gun in his
hand,--the Ranchero is ready, as soon as he mounts, to follow you for
months over the republic. He is the _nomade_ of the country, as the
_lepero_ is of the town. His devotion to his animal is unbounded. The
faithful quadruped is his best friend and surest reliance. His _lazo_
lies curved gracefully in festoons around the pommel of his saddle.
Thus, with his trusty weapons and his horse, the mounted _ranchero_ is
at home in the forest or in the open field; on hill side or in valley.
Few riders, elsewhere, can equal him in speed or horsemanship; and few
can excel him as a herdsman, a robber, an enemy, or even a _friend_
whenever you hit his fancy or are willing to understand his character
and pardon his sins.


Notwithstanding the brilliant pages which Aztec history contributed to
the annals of America and the civilization which prevailed, not only in
the valley of Mexico, but also in other portions of the territory now
within the limits of the republic, we find that the indigenous
descendants of these heroic and intelligent ancestors have degenerated
to such a degree that they are at present in general, fitted only for
the servile toils to which they are commonly and habitually devoted.
Three hundred years of oppression may have done much to produce this sad
result. Without union among the tribes; without community of feeling,
language or nationality; the Indians became an easy prey to the
Spaniards after the conquest of the great central power. Old prophecies
were accomplished, according to the Aztec belief, by the arrival of the
Spaniards. "It is long since we knew from our ancestors,"--said
Montezuma to Cortéz,--"that neither I nor all who inhabit these lands
were _originally_ of them, but that we are strangers, and came hither
from distant places. It was said that a great lord conveyed our race to
these regions and returned to the land of his birth, and yet, came back
once more to us. But, in the meantime, those whom he first brought had
intermarried with the women of the country; and when he desired them to
return again to the land of their fathers they refused to go. He went
alone; and ever since have we believed, that from among those who were
the descendants of that mighty lord, one shall come _to subdue this
land, and make us his vassals_! According to what you declare of the
place whence you come, which is _toward the rising sun_, and of the
great lord who is your King, we must surely believe that he is our
natural lord."

Such were the superstitious opinions amongst the most civilized of all
the Indian nations at the period of the conquest. It is not surprising
therefore to find the other nomadic, predatory hordes,--whose ferocity
was not so keen as that of their northern kindred, but had been tempered
and softened in some degree by the genial climate of the tropics,--soon
yielding to the superior will of a masculine race, eager, not only for
gold, but for the establishment of estates which were in fact
principalities, and whose beneficial improvement required the employment
of large bodies of continual and compulsory laborers. The Indians
afforded the staple of this stock at once. The conquest rooted out all
their old institutions by violence. Their government and laws were
overthrown by force; their religion was changed by power; their graven
idols, the material emblems of their gods, were ground to dust; their
social system was completely overturned; and thus, perfectly
annihiliated as a nation, in politics, theology, and domestic life or
habits, they were, in the end, but wretched outcasts in their own land.

The Indians may therefore be regarded as somewhat prepared by
degradation for the system of _repartimientos_, which, as we have
already seen in the historical part of this work, was instituted
immediately after the conquest.

The aborigines throughout Mexico have been devoted as a class to
agricultural labors. Immediately after the conquest the Spaniards forced
them to toil in the mines as well as in the fields; but as soon as a
race of mixed blood was found to replace these original laborers in the
bowels of the earth, the native Indian escaped to wilder districts where
there were no mines, or where his services were required on the surface
of the earth. Besides this, since the revolution, labor has been
somewhat more free than before that epoch. The Indian, if not bound to
the estate, by the slavery of debt, as we shall see hereafter, has the
right to do what he pleases, and consequently he selects that labor
which will give him support with least fatigue in a country whose soil
is almost spontaneously productive.

The Mexican Indian, may therefore be generally designated as an
agriculturist. A few of them engage in the manufacture of certain
elegant fabrics of wool and cotton; in some of the _imitative_ arts, in
which they greatly excel; and in the formation of utensils for domestic

In the field, the Indian executes all the labor,--sometimes in the midst
of the great plantations of sugar, cotton, coffee, corn, tobacco, wheat,
and barley--or, at others, in the midst of the beautiful gardens for
which some parts of the republic are celebrated. In all these positions
his labor is faithfully performed;--but he is the enemy of all changes
in the modes or utensils of his work. He prefers the old system of
drawing water for irrigation; the old system of rooting the earth with
the Arab stake instead of the American plough; the old system of
carrying offal, stones, or whatever is to be removed from his fields,
in bags, instead of in barrows or carts; and the old system of bearing
every burden, no matter how onerous, on his shoulders instead of a dray
or a wagon. It offends him to speak of changes, which he regards as
unrighteous innovations. His character, like that of the Chinese, is one
of excessive tenacity for old customs. After three centuries of constant
intercourse with strange races, he still segregates himself from the
foreigner, and, nestling in his native village, keeps aloof from the
Spaniard. He speaks his hereditary language; clings to his old habits;
and,--according to the report of reliable travellers,--worships,
occasionally in private, his ancestral idols. In the capital, garlands
which have been secretly suspended on the images by Indians, are still
sometimes found around the hideous Aztec divinities preserved in the
court yard of the University. "You gave us three very good gods"--said
an Indian once to a respectable Catholic curate,--"yet you might as well
have left us a few of our own!"

Grave, taciturn and distrustful,--types, in manners, of a crushed and
conquered race,--the Indians of Mexico, wear a sombre look and demeanor,
accompanied by an air of evident submissiveness. It is rare to find them
merry, except at the end of harvest on the large estates, when an annual
festival is prepared, in which they are accustomed to unite with great
zest. They have other periods of cessation from toil, such as the
Sabbath day, the feasts of the patron saints of their village or parish
church. Upon these occasions their devotion to the externals of religion
is exhibited by a lavish expense in articles which they imagine may
contribute to the honor or glory of their spiritual protector in heaven.
In order to celebrate the occasion with due decorum, according to their
simple ideas, they not only spend whatever money they happen to possess
at the moment, but _pledge themselves_, in advance, at the _haciendas_,
for the loan of sums which they must repay by future labor. The result
is that these superstitious frivolities consume a large share of the
Indian's substance; and, notwithstanding his economy and frugality, he
and his family are obliged to spend the greater part of the year in
misery, in recompense for the rockets, fire crackers, music, wax
candles, and flowers, which he purchased on the Festival of his _Santo_.
In addition to these ecclesiastical costs, we must not omit his personal
expenses, for the Indian does not forget his bodily condition whilst he
pays attention to his spiritual wants. Liquor and gambling, fill up the
occasional pauses in the pious ceremonials, so that after the Indian has
finished his religious services and his dinner for the day, it is quite
likely that he is prepared to creep into a hovel or shelter with his
family, where they may sleep off the debauch that universally finishes
these ecclesiastical functions. Similar wild indulgences are permitted
among them at marriages, baptisms and interments, and in consequence of
this thriftlessness, these miserable wretches are never able either to
leave property to their offspring or to afford them an education by
which they may improve their lot in life.

The Indian woman is the true and faithful companion of her husband's
fortunes. She works incessantly at her appropriate tasks. She grinds the
corn for the _tortillias_ and _atolé_ of the family, and carries them to
her husband wherever he is at work; she weaves, in her rude manner, all
the materials of cotton or wool that are worn by her household; she
makes the garments of her spouse and children; she keeps the domestic
premises in order without an assistant; nor does she cease, for a
moment, to nourish and watch her offspring during their infancy. If her
husband departs to another district, or is enlisted as a soldier, she
straps her pack and her youngest child on her back, and accompanies her
liege lord, whilst a train of their mutual descendants, "small by
degrees and beautifully less," follows in their rear.

We have said that the Indians are frugal in their food and economical in
their dress, for in reality, their meals commonly consist only of cereal
products, and, especially, of corn. Atolé, tortillias, Chili peppers and
frijoles, are sufficient to support them. They do not eat flesh
habitually, and yet they are healthy and robust, nor is it extraordinary
to see individuals among them who attain the advanced age of more than
of ninety years.

Their occasional indulgence in drunkenness, disgusting and injurious as
it is at the moment, does not generally destroy the constitutions of
these hardy laborers, whose subsequent compulsory temperance, not only
in drink but in food, soon repairs the momentary inroads of a day's

The dress of both men and women is the simplest and the cheapest
possible. In the state of ignorance and abjection in which this race has
been so long held, it is not easy to conceive whether their intellectual
faculties might be again aroused. In some of the colleges of Mexico,
individuals have applied themselves with great care, have received
classical educations, and made remarkable progress even in the sciences,
in some of which they excelled. But generally speaking, these instances
may be regarded as remarkable exceptions. The Indian, as we have

[Illustration: INDIAN'S OF THE SIERRA.]

[Illustration: HACIENDADO.]

before observed, when he quits the agricultural field, exhibits most
talent in the imitative arts. The instruments and materials he uses are
of the simplest and rudest kind, and, although the imitations produced
by him are wonderfully accurate, yet they want that lively variety which
is only produced by vivid imaginations.

Upon the plantations the Indians are in reality slaves, notwithstanding
the Mexican laws prohibit slavery. This condition is produced chiefly by
two causes. The Mexican Indian who cherishes, as we have seen, a
remarkable devotion to his old habits, customs, utensils and implements,
is gifted with an equal tenacity or adhesiveness for the place of his
birth. Nomadic as were his ancestors, the modern Mexican Indian is no
wanderer. The idea of emigration, even to another state or district,
never originates in his brain, or is tolerated if proposed to him as a
voluntary act. So helpless is his condition if placed beyond the limits
of his habitual neighborhood or hereditary haunts, that he feels himself
perfectly lost, abandoned and cast off, if compelled to change either
his residence or his occupation. He has no variety of resources. He
knows nothing of alternatives. The operations of his mind, as well as of
his hand, are perfectly mechanical. The utter helplessness of such an
individual, if suddenly transferred from the midst of his companions and
all the scenes of his life-long associations or duties, may be easily
conceived, and consequently the greatest punishment that a _haciendado_,
or Mexican planter, can inflict upon his Indian serf is to expel him
from the estate upon which he and his ancestors have worked from time
immemorial. When other punishments, which elsewhere would be thought
severe, fail to produce reform or amendment in the Indian's conduct, it
usually happens, that the serious threat of expulsion from the estate,
made by the owner himself, or his authorised representative, to the
native, reduces the refractory individual to subjection. Thus it is,
that this peculiar territorial and local adhesiveness contributes to
making the Indian's condition not only _menial_ but _servile_.

The second cause may be found in the habits of wild and extravagant
indulgence which we have already described. These licentious outbursts
of recklessness create a pecuniary bond between the proprietor and his
laborer. The Indian becomes his debtor. It is the policy of the
landholder to establish this relation between himself and the Indian,
and consequently he affords him every facility to sell himself in
advance, even for life, to his estate. The Indian, is thus at least
completely mortgaged to the landed proprietor, and as that personage
usually possesses considerable influence in his neighborhood, the
laborer finds it extremely difficult or nearly impossible to enforce his
freedom even by appeals to the legal authorities. Such is the origin and
system of _peonage_, which still curses Mexico although the
_repartimientos_ and slavery have been abolished by fundamental laws.

We have observed that there are other punishments of the Indians
resorted to on Mexican plantations for trifling faults or misdemeanors,
besides the great and final calamity of expulsion. They are fined and
they are flogged. "Looking into the corridor," says Mr. Stephens, in his
work on Yucatan, "we saw a poor Indian on his knees, on the pavement,
with his arms clasped around the knees of another Indian, so as to
present his back fairly to the lash. At every blow he rose on one knee
and sent forth a piercing cry, he seemed struggling to retain it, but it
burst forth in spite of all his efforts. His whole bearing showed the
subdued character of the present Indians, and with the last stripe the
expression of his face seemed that of thankfulness for not getting more.
Without uttering a word, he crept to the major-domo, took his hand,
kissed it, and walked away. No sense of degradation crossed his mind.
Indeed, so humbled is this once fierce people that they have a proverb
of their own: "Los Indios no oyien sino por las nalgas,"--"The Indians
only hear through their backs."

       *       *       *       *       *

This hereditary condition or relation between the Indian and the
original Spanish races has acted and re-acted for their mutual
degradation. With a large population under his control, for all purposes
of labor and menial toil, the Spaniard, of whatever class, found himself
entirely free from the necessity of manual labor or mechanical pursuits.
Notwithstanding this immunity from bodily toil, the native of Castile
did not devote the leisure he enjoyed, whilst the Indians were working
for him, either to the improvement of his mind, or the preparation of
philanthropic plans for the amelioration of his servant's lot. A mere
physical life of personal indulgence, or an avaricious devotion to the
rapid acquisition of fortune, absorbed the whole time of these planters,
who lived in almost utter seclusion amid the lonely wastes of their
large territorial possessions. The planter who resides in a populous
nation, or who is enabled to visit easily the capitals of commerce,
literature, and art, is a man, who, from his personal independence,
culture, and wealth, is usually in our own country to be envied for the
peculiar privileges which his station affords him. But in Mexico, the
position and education of the planter, if he lives constantly on his
estate,--which is not universally the case,--are altogether different
from those of the North American land-holder. The Mexican possesses few
or none of those social and intellectual qualities that have been
cultivated by the North American in the best colleges and circles of his
country; nor does he enjoy equal facilities of intercommunication
between the cities or rural districts of Mexico. The immense size of his
plantation which sometimes extends several leagues in length and
breadth, necessarily disperses instead of congregating a populous
neighborhood. "He is master of all he surveys,--he is lord of the fowl
and the brute," but his dominion is a solitary and cheerless one. Few,
and irregular posts rarely bring him the news of what occurs in the
great world. Visits are seldom and ceremoniously paid. He must find
within himself the constant springing source of vivacity and of an
ambitious desire for progress, or he must subside into mere animal
existence. The latter is unfortunately in most instances the natural
result, and it is therefore not at all astonishing to find Mexican
planters or their mayordomos devoting all their energies to the
maintenance of the servile system we have described, whilst their
statute-book and constitution profess to have abolished slavery.

Whilst such is the effect upon the character of the master or his
representative, it is natural to suppose that the character of the
servant will be equally degraded by the want of those new ideas with
which the constant refreshing intercourse of society ventilates the
mind. The Indian knows no world but that bounded by his horizon.
Slavery, when involuntary, may even be respected in the sufferer, but
the Indian who becomes a slave in spite of law, by religious
superstition, loathsome vices, and time-hallowed servility, sinks far
below the level of the African, who is sober, careful, faithful to his
master and his family, and either from imitation, or a degree of natural
dignity, seeks to acquire respectability among his fellow slaves.

"It is hardly possible," says Mühlenpfordt, "to judge of the true
character and intellectual capacity of the Indian at a time when he has
but just partially recovered his rights as man, and has had little
opportunity of giving independent culture to his mental faculties.
Though the civic oppression under which the Spaniards and Creoles held
all the copper colored race and the colored people generally before the
revolution, has, for the most part disappeared, yet their emancipation
has, as yet, only nominally taken place. Hierarchial oppression has yet
hardly decreased, and the clergy, both the inferior secular priests and
the monks who have the greatest influence over the Indians, find their
account in declining to promote, if they do not positively retard, their
intellectual development. Time only can inform us what advantages will
accrue to the Indians from the new order of things. Up to this period
the introduction of the boasted civilization of Europe, as well as of
the Catholic religion, has been of but trifling benefit to them, and
only a trace here and there of progress to an amelioration of their
condition is to be remarked.

"The Mexican Indian of the present day is generally grave and taciturn,
and almost sullen, when not excited by music and intoxicating drinks to
loquacity and pleasure. This serious character may be remarked even in
the children, who appear more knowing at the age of five or six, than
those of northern Europeans at that of nine or ten. But this appearance
of steadiness is by no means consequent on a quicker development of
mind, and the looks of these young people, dejected and void of all the
cheerfulness and confidence of children, have nothing that gladdens the
observer. Gruffness and reserve appear to be essential features of the
Indian character, and it cannot, I think, be assumed that these
qualities were implanted in them only by the long oppression that
weighed down the Mexican race, first under their native rulers, and
afterwards under the Spaniards; inasmuch as they occur among the
aborigines almost universally throughout America, even when these have
never suffered any curtailment of political liberty. To that cause may
be rather attributed the stubbornness and selfishness which constitute a
striking trait in the character of the present Indians. It is almost
impossible to move any Indian to do a thing which they have resolved not
to do. Vehemence, threats, even corporal punishment, are of as little
avail as the offer of gold or reward; persuasion, coaxing, entreaties
help as little. The Mexican Indian loves to give an appearance of
mystery and importance to his most indifferent actions. If stirred up by
weighty interests, he breaks his accustomed silence, and speaks with
energy but never with fire. Jokes are as rare with him as raillery and
laughter. I never heard an Indian laugh heartily, even when excited by
spirituous liquors. His uncommon hardness of character allows him long
to conceal the passions of indignation and vengeance. No sign betrays
externally the fire that rages within until it suddenly breaks out with
uncontrollable violence. In this condition the Indian is most likely
inclined to commit the most dreadful cruelties and the most fearful
crimes. The Mexican aborigines bear with the greatest patience the
torments which the whites were formerly and are still inclined to
indulge against them. They oppose to these a cunning which they
dexterously hide under a semblance of indifference and stupidity.
Despite their long slavery; despite every effort which has been employed
to rob them of their historical recollections, they have by no means
forgotten their former greatness. They know right well that they were
once sole lords of the land, and that those Creoles who are so fond of
calling themselves Americans, are but the sons and heirs of their
oppressors. I have myself frequently heard Indians, when their ordinary
reserve has been overcome by spirituous liquors, declare that they were
the true masters of the country, that all others were mere foreign
intruders, and that if the Creoles could expel the Spaniards they had a
far better right to expel the Creoles. May the latter be taught by their
own acuteness to grant the Indians, while it is yet time, the practical
exercise of these civic rights theoretically conceded to them, for the
revolt of the copper colored race would indeed present a fearful


  1. Mayas.


  2 Teochiapanécos,
  3 Zoques,
  4 Cendáles,
  5 Mames.


  6 Zapotécas,
  7 Mixtecos,
  8 Mixes,
  9 Chinanutécos,
  10 Chontáles,
  11 Cuicatécos.
  12 Chochos,
  13 Chaténos,
  14 Huabes,
  15 Huatequimánes,
  16 Izcatécos,
  17 Almoloyas, a few.
  18 Soltécos,
  19 Trìques,
  20 Pabúcos,
  21 Amúsagos,
  22 Zoques,
  23 Aztécos.


  24 Aztécos,
  25 Totonáques,
  26 Popolúcas,
  27 Tlapanécos,
  28 Mixtécos,
  29 Huastécos,
  30 Cuitlatecos.


  31 Otomés,
  32 Chichimecas, and a few Aztécos.


  33 Tarráscos,
  34 Otomés.


  35 Pamos,
  36 Capúces,
  37 Samues,
  38 Mayolias,
  39 Guamánes,
  40 Guachichiles.


  41 Cazcánes,
  42 Guachichiles,
  43 Guamánes,
  44 Tenoxquínes,
  45 Matlacingos,
  46 Jaliscos.


  47 Chichimecas,     Aztecos, or      Tlascaltecas.


  48 Tepehuanés,
  49 Topías,
  50 Acaxis,
  51 Xixímes,
  52 Sicurabas,
  53 Himas,
  54 Huimis,
  55 Acotlánes,
  56 Cocoyámes,
  57 Yanos,
  58 Tarahumares.


  59 Coras,
  60 Nayarítes,
  61 Hueicolhues,
  62 Tubaras,
  63 Cinaloas,
  64 Cahitas.


  65 Mayos,
  66 Zuáques,
  67 Hiaquis,
  68 Yaquis,
  69 Guazare,
  70 Ahome,
  71 Ocoromi,
  72 Teguéca,
  73 Tepahue,
  74 Zoe,
  75 Huite,
  76 Guaymas,
  77 Pimas-bajos,
  78 Mobas,
  79 Onabas,
  80 Nures,
  81 Saboribas or Sisibolaris,
  82 Huras,
  83 Heris,
  84 Sabaipures,
  85 Sonoras,
  86 Eudebes,
  87 Opatas,
  88 Seres,
  89 Tiburones,
  90 Pipos-altos,
  91 Papagos or Papahi-Ootam,
  92 Yumas,
  93 Cucapachas,
  94 Coanopas,
  95 Cajuenches,
  96 Cutguanes,
  97 Hoahonómos,
  98 Bagiópas,
  99 Quiquimas,
  100 Cocomaricopas,
  101 Apaches-tontos,
  102 Pimas-gileños,
  103 Apaches-gileños,
  104 Nijoras,
  105 Apaches-mimbreños,
  106 Apaches-Chiricaguis,
  107 Yabipaïs or Yabipias,
  108 Jalchedumes,
  109 Juníguis,
  110 Yamágas,
  111 Chemeonahas or Chemeguabas,
  112 Cosnínas,
  113 Moquis,
  114 Navajos,
  115 Timpachis,
  116 Yutas,
  117 Tabeguachis
  118 Payúches,
  119 Talarénos,
  120 Raguapuis.


  121 Pericuis,
  122 Monquis or Menguis,
  123 Guaycúras,
  124 Coras,
  125 Cochimas,
  126 Colimies,
  127 Laimones,
  128 Utschetas,
  129 Vehitis,
  130 Icas.


  131 Rumsenes,
  132 Escelenes,
  133 Eclemaches,
  134 Achastlies,
  135 Matalanes,
  136 Salses,
  137 Quirotes.


  138 Keras,
  139 Piras,
  140 Xumanas,
  141 Zuras,
  142 Pecuris,
  143 Cumanches,
  144 Jetans,
  145 Tetans or Tetaus,
  146 Yutas,
  147 Kiaways,
  148 Apaches,
  149 Nanahas,
  150 Apaches-_llaneros_,
  151 Lipans,
  152 Faraones,
  153 Mescaleros.

The following table exhibits, in separate groups, the varieties of
parentage and blood, forming the castes in Mexico and throughout Spanish




         {European _whites_ are called _gachupines_ or _chapetones_
  White. {_Whites_, born in the colonies, are called _creoles_.



  PARENTS.                       CHILDREN.

  White father and Negro mother, Mulatto.
  White     "    Indian     "    Mestizo.
  White     "    Mulatto    "    Quarteron.
                                {Creole, (only distinguishable
  White     "    Mestiza    "   { from the white by a pale
                                {brown complexion.)
  White     "    China      "    Chino-blanco.
  White     "    Quarterona      Quintero.
  White     "    Quintera   "    White.


  PARENTS.                         CHILDREN.

  Negro father and Mulatto mother, Zambo-negro.
  Negro       "    Mestiza     "   Mulatto-oscuro.
  Negro       "    China       "   Zambo-chino.
  Negro       "    Zamba       "   Zambo and Negro, (perfectly black.)

  Negro       "   {or Quintera "   Dark Mulatto.


  PARENTS.                        CHILDREN.

  Indian father and Negro mother, Chino.
  Indian       "    Mulatto  "    Chino-oscuro.
  Indian       "    Mestiza  "    Mestizo-claro, often very beautiful.
  Indian       "    China    "    Chino-cholo.
  Indian       "    Zamba    "    Zambo-claro.
  Indian       "    China-cholo   Indian, with short frizzily hair.
  Indian       "   {Quarterona
                   {or Quintera   Brown Mestizo.


  PARENTS.                         CHILDREN.

  Mulatto father and Zamba mother, Zambo, (a miserable race.)
  Mulatto      "     Mestiza  "    Chino, (rather clear race.)
  Mulatto      "     China    "    Chino, (rather dark.)

Besides these specified castes there are several others not
distinguished by particular names; such, for instance, as the produce of
unions between the Mexican Indians or Spaniards and the people of the
East Indian continent or Philipines, numbers of whom came over during
the old viceroyal government. The best criterion for judging of the
purity of blood, is the hair of the women, which is much less deceiving
than their complexion. The short woolly hair, or coarse Indian locks,
may always be detected on the head or on the back of the neck. This
tabular statement exhibits at a glance the mongrel corruptions of the
human race in Mexico, and presents an interesting subject for students
of physiology and ethnology.[6]




It is to be regretted that no very accurate census of Mexico has ever
been made, and that since the year 1831, no effort has been persistently
pursued by the government to enumerate its citizens and collect such
statistical data as may always be easily gathered by persons engaged in
this important task. The irregularity of the central or executive power;
the instability of all governments since the establishment of
independence; the intestine quarrels, not only in the capital but in the
departments or states, have all contributed to, and even partially
compelled, this neglect of a great national duty.

In the absence, therefore, of official statistics and reports, we are
obliged to rely upon approximate results, founded on the _partial_
enumerations of preceding years and the calculations of experienced
statesmen and writers. In the following table we shall exhibit all the
most trustworthy statements existing either in Mexican works or in the
writings of reliable authors:--


  Years.                                          No. of Inhabitants.

  1793--Census of the Viceroy Revilla-Gigedo, including
          Vera Cruz and Guadalajara, according to an
          estimate in 1803,                                5,270,029
  1803--Geographico-political tables of New Spain,         5,764,731
  1810--Semanario economico of Mexico,                     5,810,005
  1820--Navarro's Memorial on the population of the
          kingdom of New Spain,                            6,122,354
        Calculation of the first Congress,                 6,204,000
  1831--Actual census of the Mexican Republic, published
          by Valdes,                                       6,382,264
  1824--Hon. J. R. Poinsett,                               6,500,000
  1825--Humboldt, about,                                   7,000,000
  1838--Report of Commissioner of Chamber of Deputies,     7,009,120
  1834--Galvan's Mexican Calendar,                         7,734,292
  1836--Notices of the states and territories of the Mexican
         nation,                                           7,843,132
  1830--Mr. Burkhardt--a German author,                    7,996,000
  1842--An estimate made as the basis for the election of
         a Congress, (exclusive of Texas,)                 7,015,509

In the year 1838, Señor Jose Gomez de la Cortina,--ex-Conde de la
Cortina, one of the most enlightened citizens of Mexico, published a
carefully prepared essay upon the population of Mexico, in the 1st No.
of the Bulletin of the National Institute of Geography and Statistics of
the Mexican Republic; and his opinion was that the number of inhabitants
greatly exceeded any of the above amounts. By observing the increase of
population in different periods of five years, he considered it
satisfactorily proved by the _Tablas Geographico-politicas_, of 1803,
that the augmentation, in favorable years, was at the rate 1-4/5 _per
cent_. By applying this ratio to the census of the _Tablas_, which gave
in 1803, 5,764,731 inhabitants, we shall have an increase of about
105,000 yearly; and if we calculate at this rate of augmentation for the
46 intervening years, we find in 1850 an increase of 4,830,000, or a
grand total of 10,594,731.

In the year 1842, however, when an estimate was made of a basis of
population, upon which to found a call for a Congress to form a new
constitution under the plan of Tacubaya, in 23 Departments or States and
Territories, exclusive of Texas, the government calculated that there
were 7,015,509 inhabitants.


  Departments.                                        Population.

  Mexico,                                              1,389,502
  Jalisco,                                               679,311
  Puebla,                                                661,902
  Yucatan,                                               508,948
  Guanajuato,                                            512,606
  Oajaca,                                                500,278
  Michoacan,                                             497,906
  San Luis Potosi,                                       321,840
  Zacatecas,                                             273,575
  Vera Cruz,                                             254,380
  Durango,                                               162,618
  Chihuahua,                                             147,600
  Sinaloa,                                               147,000
  Chiapas,                                               141,206
  Sonora,                                                124,000
  Queretaro,                                             120,560
  Nuevo Leon,                                            101,108
  Tamaulipas,                                            100,068
  Coahuila,                                               75,340
  Aguas Calientes,                                        69,698
  Tabasco,                                                63,580
  Nuevo Mexico,                                           57,026
  Californias,                                            33,439
             {New Mexico,                       57,026
  Deduct for {Upper California, since           25,000
             {  added to the United             ------
             {  States.                         82,026----82,026
    Estimated actual population in 1842,               6,933,483
  Add 10 per cent. for the probable increase in 7 years  693,348
    Proximate actual population in 1850,               7,626,831

This population may be relatively classed among races and castes as

  4,354,886 Indians.
  1,100,000 Whites.
  2,165,345 Meztizos, Zambos, Mulattoes, &c.
      6,600 Negroes.

As Mexico, since the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, in 1848, possesses
798,402 square miles, this will give nine inhabitants and a fraction, to
the square mile.

From these calculations we deduce some very important facts as to the
physical and intellectual condition of Mexico, which are very
significant in the illustration of history. It appears that the total
number of pure whites in the republic, is, in all probability, not more
than 1,100,000; while the Indians, Negroes, Zambos, Mulattoes, Meztizos,
and all the mixed bloods, amount to 6,526,831. During our residence in
Mexico we ascertained from reliable authority that among the Indians and
negroes but two _per cent._ could read and write, while among the
whites, and castes, but twenty _per cent._ were estimated to enjoy those
benefits. Thus we have:

   87,229    Indians and Negroes able to read and write.
  653,069    Whites and mixed castes able to read and write;

or, only seven hundred and forty thousand, two hundred and ninety-eight
individuals, either completely educated or instructed in the simplest
rudiments, out of a population of more than seven and a half millions.
These are startling statistics in regard to the citizens of a nation
whose government is theoretically and practically based on the culture
of the people or their capacity for self-rule; and, when considered in
connexion with the historical details presented in the first volume of
this work, they will show that the distracted condition of Mexico is a
mingled cause and consequence of her intellectual darkness.[7]

One of the most interesting investigations in Mexican statistics would
be to compare the number of births in the regions called the _tierras
calientes_--or hot country, with those in the tierras frias, or _cold
region_. From calculations made by Cortina in 1838, from data derived
from nine departments, he concluded that the excess of births in the
warm regions or _tierras calientes_ was 1-5/10 per 100, over the
_tierras frias_.

He gives the following actual statistics in evidence:

1st. Result of the general census of the department of ZACATECAS since
the year 1824, and progressive increase of population therein before the
separation of the portion of Aguas Calientes:--

  Years.       Total population.   Increase of population biennially.

  1824            247,295}
  1826            272,901}                    25,606
  1828            274,537}                     1,636
  1830            290,044}                    15,507
  1832            314,121}                    24,077
  1834            331,781}                    17,660

  2d. In 1836, after the separation of the portion of Aguas Calientes,
  this department had                 264,505 inhabitants.
  In June, 1838, it had               273,575     "
  Increase in one year and a half,      9,070

  3d. In the period from 1st of January, 1837 to 30th of June,
  1838, there were born in the said department, 21,941

  Died in the said department,                  12,871
  Increase of population,                        9,070

  4th. In the department of Oajaca in 1834, it was calculated that
  there were                                   457,033 inhabitants.

  In December, 1838,                           500,278    "
  Increase in four years,                       43,245


  Maximum of annual increase of population in Oajaca, 15,000

  Minimum      "      "           "           "        6,000

  Maximum      "      "           "         Zacatecas 12,000

  Minimum      "      "           "            "         500

Of not less importance are the investigations upon the excess observed
in one sex over the other. Before the appearance of Humboldt's work it
was the opinion that in the New World nature did not follow the same law
of equilibrium in the difference between the sexes as in Europe, and
especially that in the tropical regions, the number of females exceeded
greatly that of the males. Baron Humboldt combated this notion and
demonstrated its error. He presents in his political essay upon New
Spain a table of the population of eight Intendencies, in which it
appears that out of 1,352,835 inhabitants there were 687,935 males and
664,900 females, which establishes a relative proportion of 100 to 95.
In the _Tablas Geografico politicas_, already cited, it is expressly
said that in New Spain, in the Intendencies of the _tierras frias_, or
cold regions, as well as in those of the _tierras calientes_, or hot
regions, the population inclines to a preponderance of males. Don
Fernando Navarro y Noriega gives in his tables of population 71,642 more
males than females; and, in the account of the taxes made by order of
the government in 1781, it appears that the excess is still in favor of
males, though in a much less proportion than assigned by Baron Humboldt.
We present the following table, prepared in Mexico for the purpose of
throwing more light on the subject:


 Years.  Departments, States, or Cantons   Males.   Females.  Excess  Excess
           of States.                                         males.  females.

 1829    New Mexico                        21,799    21,640     159
 1819    Alta California                   10,979     9,107   1,872
 1830      Do.  do.                        12,473    10,011   2,462
 1832    Nuevo Leon                        49,571    48,601     970
 1829    San Luis Potosi.--See following
 1832    Oajaca                           237,127   247,887            10,760
 1823    Michoacan                        178,052   187,028             8,976

        {_Canton_ of Vera Cruz             29,851    31,695             1,844
        {    "    of Misantla               2,451     2,658               207
 1831   {    "    of Papantla               4,279     4,225      54
        {    "    of Tampico               11,112    12,265             1,153
        {    "    of Jalacingo              7,816     8,046               230
        {    "    of Jalapa                19,837    22,867             3,030
 1826    Guanajuato                       165,896   179,288            13,392
 1834    Chihuahua                         75,303    69,879   5,424
 1838    Tamaulipas                        49,235    45,460   3,775
 1838    Aguas calientes                   33,661    36,032             2,371
 1831    Jalisco.--See following table.
 1838    Zacatecas. "     "        "
 1821    Tamaulipas                        34,356    33,428     928
 1833    New Mexico                        31,012    26,164   4,848

                                     Births.          Deaths.           Excess.
                                Males.  Females. Males.  Females.   Males.  Females.
 1829  San Luis Potosi--first
         six months               4,882     5,159  2,029     1,885            421
 1830  Jalisco--whole year       14,307    13,905 13,194    11,972            820
 1837  Zacatecas--18 mo's.       10,935    11,006  6,376     6,495     48
 1834[8] State of Mexico, except
        2 prefectures            18,410    18,804 cholera this year.
 1830  Guanajuato----whole
         year                    14,699    14,252  7,235     7,511    276

It may, generally, be said that the excess of one sex over the other is
in inverse proportion to the latitude; or, in other words, that, as we
advance from the equator, the excess of females over males decreases,
until the reverse occurs as the degrees of latitude augment. We must,
however, except from this rule the department or state of Tamaulipas, in
which the constancy with which nature sustains the excess of males, is
somewhat extraordinary. The most ancient document possessed upon the
subject, relative to this State, is of the year 1793, and from this we
discover that, from that year until 1807, 124 more males than females
were born therein, and that 30 more females than men died during the

     More _females_ than males are born in the following States, in the
     order in which they are placed:

  1. Vera Cruz--greatest number.
  2. Oajaca.
  3. Puebla.
  4. Michoacan.
  5. Guanajuato.
  6. Jalisco.

     More _males_ than females are born in the following States,
     according to the order in which they are placed:

  1. Alta California--greatest No.
  2. New Mexico.
  3. Sonora.
  4. Chihuahua.
  5. Coahuila.
  6. New Leon.[9]





Sun, seasons, temperature, soils and moisture are the chief elements of
agricultural success or failure, according as they are beneficially
harmonized or unfortunately disunited. In our geological and
geographical descriptions we have already indicated the rapid changes of
temperature in Mexico experienced by rising gradually from the sea shore
to the summit of the table land, and passing through the _tierras
calientes_, _templadas_ and _frias_. This is the origin of the variety
of Mexican productions and the reason why the pine and the palm are
encountered upon the same parallel of latitude; but the _fertility_ of
Mexico is very much governed by the moisture with which it is annually
favored, and for which it is obliged to rely chiefly on the clouds. The
Mexicans are not accustomed to separate the year as we do into the four
seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, for the variation of
temperature scarcely authorizes such marked distinctions of climate; yet
they divide the twelve months into two grand divisions of _El Estio_--or
the dry season, and _La Estacion de las aguas_, or the rainy season. The
latter commences about May and lasts usually four months, whilst the dry
season comprises the remainder of the year.

The curving shores of Mexico along the gulf and interior highlands
gather and hem in an immense body of vapor, which is carried on by the
trade winds and condensed against the cold and lofty inland mountain
peaks which rise above the limit of perpetual congealation. This occurs
during the dry season whilst the sun is at the south. But when the power
of that luminary increases as it advances northward, and until it has
long turned back again on its southern course, these vapors are
dissolved by the hot intertropical air and descend, almost daily, in
fertilizing showers. The

[Illustration: GROUP OF PLANTS.]

formation of rain clouds and the precipitation of their moisture usually
begin on the coast near Vera Cruz, and the course of the rain storms
advances from east to west, inundating the _tierra caliente_ along the
eastern coast fifteen or twenty days before the table lands are
moistened. There have been seasons in which it did not begin to rain
until a month or two after the usual period. In 1802 such an event
occurred; and, again in 1826, the vapors did not begin to form and
descend until the end of July, in consequence of which the corn was
totally lost. If the rains are withheld beyond the middle of June, all
the cereal products are either destroyed or suffer greatly from the
drought. The power of the sun, by that time, becomes so great that the
ground is scorched and the air filled with clouds of dust which seem to
gather and concentrate the blazing rays, until the falling particles
surround or fall upon the traveller over the plains as if he were
passing through a shower of heated cinders. The heat, and the masses of
burning dust, are almost overpowering not only to vegetable but almost
to animal life.

The agricultural prosperity of Mexico, accordingly, depends either
largely upon the relative duration of these two seasons, or on the power
of the landed proprietors to supply the loss of water from the clouds,
by IRRIGATION derived from the rivers or slender streams that meander
through the interior of Mexico. Seldom, indeed, is the Mexican planter
or farmer obliged to complain of too much moisture. Between the
parallels of 24° and 30° the rains are of shorter duration, and the
intervals between the showers greater. But, fortunately, beyond the
26th°, a copious supply of snow, during the winter, compensates for the
want of rain at the regular season. Irrigation, therefore, is
universally resorted to, wherever there is an adequate supply of water,
and large sums are expended by the possessors of the principal estates,
in the construction of _acequias_, or canals; _presas_, dams or
reservoirs; and _norias_, or water wheels, by which the refreshing
element is forced up and distributed over the thirsty fields.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such is a brief review and summary of the soil and seasons of Mexico.
The average annual yield of the corn lands throughout Mexico is
estimated at twenty-five bushels for one. In portions of the country,
during favorable years, and where the irrigation is good, from sixty to
eighty bushels for one have been produced. At Cholula, near Puebla, the
increase is stated at forty for one, while at Zelaya, Salamanca, and
Santiago, further north, from thirty-five to forty are produced on an
average of years. In the valley of Mexico, proper, the yield is from
eighteen to twenty; and even in the old possessions of California, it is
set down at from fifteen to seventeen. The best writers consider,
however, that notwithstanding the extraordinary fertility of their soil,
the Mexicans do not produce in ratio of quantity, superior crops to the
best agricultural portions of the United States.

       *       *       *       *       *

The agricultural advantages of New Spain were early pointed out by some
of the colonial authorities to the Spanish Home government; but the very
fact of their existence seems to have alarmed the Court and to have
originated those restrictive laws which, as we have shown in our
historical narrative, so long ensured the dependence of the colony. The
King, the Cabinets and the Council of the Indies united in believing
that if the internal resources of the nation were developed, fostered,
and placed upon a firm basis, the political as well as the industrial
independence of America might naturally ensue; and accordingly, these
authorities resolved at once to adopt the narrow system of restrictions
which retained the essentially productive power in the hands of Spain.
Zumarraga, the first bishop and second archbishop of Mexico, addressed
urgent letters to the Emperor Charles V., exhibiting the agricultural
value of the country, and solicited laborers, plants, seeds, cattle, and
all the usual means for the development of Mexican resources. The
_Bandos_ published in the year 1524, by Cortéz, which are yet preserved
in the Hospital of Jesus, in the capital, contain wise decrees for the
encouragement of industry, and prove that the military life of the
Conqueror had not made him forgetful of his early agricultural labors in
the West Indies when he first emigrated from Spain. But the policy of
Spain was constantly declared to be adverse to this wholesome and
reasonable encouragement. When Luis de Velasco, the second of that name
who was viceroy in New Spain, passed thence to the viceroyalty of Peru,
he was instructed by the King and Council of the Indies to be careful
not to "foster manufactures, nor to allow the cultivation of vines,
inasmuch as there was already ample provision of these things and the
commerce of the kingdom should not be impaired by such colonial
products." At the same epoch, his successor in Mexico, the Conde de
Monterey, was also required to be equally vigilant and restrictive in
the region confided to his government. These orders, however, were not
always faithfully complied with throughout such extended and sparse
jurisdictions as those of Mexico or Peru; and accordingly in 1610,
through the Marques de Montesclaros, who replaced the Conde de Monterey
in those colonies, the royal prohibitions were repeated, with the
addition of the following emphatic language:--"Inasmuch as you
understand perfectly, how much the observance of these rules is
necessary for the _dependence_ of the colonies upon the parent state, we
charge and command you to see to their faithful execution." Wine and
oil, two of the most important products of Spain, and two of the
absolute necessaries of a Spaniard's life, wherever he may happen to
live, where thus protected from competition, and formed the means of
preserving the colonial vassalage. Nothing was left to the New World,
therefore, either to manufacture extensively, or to cultivate, except
some of the coarser cotton cloths, for ordinary garments, or a
sufficiency of the _cerealia_ for domestic consumption. It was necessary
to preserve an equilibrium or a reasonable ratio between the supply of
food and the production of the mines; and thus the common agricultural
and horticultural home markets for the necessaries of life were alone
left unencumbered for the Mexicans.

We are not aware that Spain encouraged, more than was absolutely
demanded for political ends, a system of internal improvement by
national roads, with lateral branches thridding and binding together all
parts of the country. Highways were opened and horses and mules
imported. But these were only suitable for the internal transportation
of the country; and, even to the present day, the whole of Mexico is
traversed by miserable roads, whose channels are often cut up into deep
ravines by the unceasing attrition of caravans. The stubborn but useful
mules, moving about the country in large bodies, under the guidance of
Arrieros, follow each other in single file over the same path for
centuries, and there is scarcely a highway in Mexico that is not worn by
their footsteps to the depth of several feet. Bad roads, royal
restrictions, and the want of transportation except by mules, all
combined to impede rural industry, waste the people's time, destroy
internal intercourse, and to force the consumption of agricultural
products either upon the spot where they grew or in its immediate
neighborhood. The independence of Mexico since 1824, has of course
relieved the nation from the foreign restrictions upon her commerce; but
the agricultural habits of the people were not to be changed by a
constitution or industrial laws. Improved roads and improved modes of
transportation have scarcely been attempted by the modern republicans.
Constant revolutions have destroyed concert of action among the people
in the different states through which the new highways would pass, at
the same time that they have impaired the unity of system or policy
upon which the national government might have acted for the general
improvement of internal communication or development of agricultural
resources. Some of the best citizens have written and labored in behalf
of national industry in all its usual or possible manifestations; but we
fear that many years of profound peace must be ensured to Mexico before
the farmer will be able to share in the blessings of commerce by means
of exportation.

[Illustration: ARRIEROS AND MULES.]

The great CORN LANDS of Mexico are those of Puebla;--the Bajio, which
comprises portions of the state of Guanajuato, Queretero, Valladolid,
Zacatecas, and Guadalajara, in the vicinity of the Rio Santiago;--the
valley of Mexico, in the state of Mexico;--the valley of Poañas, in
Durango;--and it is calculated that the cleared ground in these
districts is capable of producing _cerealia_ for a population five times
greater than that of Mexico at present. Corn, in the states of Mexico
and Puebla is worth two dollars the _fanega_ of one hundred and fifty
pounds; in Oajaca about one dollar for the same quantity. Its value is
every where irregular, and no general tariff of prices can be assigned
to Mexican breadstuffs until some great national market shall be
established or Mexico becomes an exporting country. Neighborhoods, at
present establish prices.

MAIZE or CORN, is a gift from the New World to the Old, and is
unquestionably the favorite food of the great mass of the inhabitants of
our continent. In Mexico, every household is furnished with it
abundantly, and all classes use it habitually.

Although this plant is a native of America it is never found growing
wild in the republic. Single stocks may be occasionally seen in remote
or uninhabited districts, but they are rarely met, and, in all
likelihood, have been sown by the flocks of robber birds who ravage the
Mexican _milpas_ or corn fields during the ripening season.

The best cultivated varieties in Mexico, are:

1st. _Maiz de padus_; with small ears, of eight rows, and the most
unimportant of all the varieties raised in the country.

2d. _Maiz manchado_, or _chiniesco_; a productive species with white,
yellow and red grains;--sometimes also entirely blue, in which case, it
is called _pinto_.

3d. _Maiz blanco_; a very productive kind, yielding a fine sweet meal.

4th. _Maiz amarillo_; this is sub-divided into:--1st, _maiz amarillo
grueso_, which is very generally cultivated and rarely yields less than
two or three ears each, with from three to six hundred kernels or
grains. 2d, _maiz amarillo pequeno_, is smaller and less stout; but in a
fruitful soil its yield weighs from ten to fifteen hundred weight, more
than the _grueso_.

5th. _Maiz cuarentino_; or quarentine corn; better known in Mexico under
the name of _maiz tremes_, or, _olote colorado_, which ripens quickly
and may be planted in the coldest parts of Mexico.

6th. _Maiz tardio_, or, _de riego_; the most productive of all
varieties, and that which is cultivated around the city of Mexico, and
in many moist regions. It sometimes yields five hundred per cent. on the
quantity planted.

Maize succeeds best in Mexico in moist and warm climates; but it has the
great advantage over the other cereal grains that it may be as
successfully cultivated in this country in the _tierras calientes_, as
in the _tierras frias_. Its highest limits here are from two to eight
thousand feet above the level of the sea, and consequently the time
required for ripening is different at different elevations. It varies
from seven months to six weeks.

The _diseases_ which sometimes affect or destroy this vegetable in
Mexico, as well the animals that assail it, may be summed up as follows:

1. _La requitte_, a wasting blight which affects the maize where it is
sown upon poor soil and is subjected to damp, cold weather soon after

2. _El carbon_--a vegetable fungus growth, resembling carbon or coal,
which appears in the ears and destroys them. This abortion in the fruit
is believed to be produced by an insect.

3. _El hanjo_--a species of _uredo_, which forms itself in the ear and
ruins it. The disease is generally known as _los Cuervos_.

The animals and birds that attack corn are:

1. A sort of mole--_talpa_--which undermines the fields and destroy the
young plants.

2. The _larvæ_ of _melolontha_, which not only seize the roots, but
often destroy the stalks and ears.

3. Flocks of pilfering birds, with which the corn-fields are covered, if
they are not carefully watched during the approach of harvest. Neither
day nor night are the ears safe from the attacks of these pilferers;
and, in order to protect the crop, watchmen are placed on high stages,
overlooking the acres, whence the traveller constantly hears their
shouts, during the day, or the crack of the warning whips, during the

       *       *       *       *       *

Maize may be planted in Mexico at different periods of the year,
especially in those districts in which, for nine months, there is always
sufficient moisture. In the _tierra caliente_, the _rancheros_,
cultivate, in this grain, the best spots lying near their dwellings. In
the cooler districts they have two kinds of culture--one by irrigation,
and another upon a dry soil. The latter mode is subdivided, by the
Mexicans, into three kinds--the _humido_, _aventureso_, and _temporal_.

In the first mode of cultivation the _Maiz tardio_, is sown, and it is
usually found to be the most productive. A seeding made in a soil
capable of preserving the winter's moisture and the humidity of the
first spring rains, is called _siembra de aventureso_. In the
_temporal_, a quickly ripening species of corn is planted--such as the
_maiz cuarentino_--which may be cultivated either before or during the
rainy season, from May to November.

It is rare that the common Mexican _ranchero_ is sufficiently provident
to select the soil for his corn crop, with due care; and accordingly we
find that maize is often planted in the midst of fields abounding in
stiff ungenial clay.

The present corn production of Mexico is not accurately determined, but
it is estimated that it is the chief subsistence of at least five
millions of persons, whilst it supplies the only fodder for all kinds of
domestic animals. Its average product must therefore be not far from at
least twenty millions of bushels.

       *       *       *       *       *

Corn is a varied article of diet among all classes. The ancient Mexicans
made a species of sugar from the juice of the stalk--while the modern
Mexicans brew from it a fermented drink, called _pulque de maiz_, or
_omayo_. The extremely saccharine pith of this plant is often devoured
raw by the Indians, and it has been also frequently used in the
manufacture of brandy. The unripe ears are boiled or baked, and sold in
the towns and villages to the poorer classes, forming their sole
subsistence; while the leaves and stems afford a capital food for
beasts. Sometimes these portions of the plant are devoted to
architectural purposes, and a neat rustic hut is built of the cornlike
stalks, interwoven and thatched with their broad and graceful leaves.

A kind of beer, called _chicha_, is sometimes prepared from the kernels
of ripened maize, and is found, by natives and strangers, to be an
agreeable as well as wholesome beverage. When the _meal_ is boiled in
water, and mixed with some farinacious roots, a favorite and exceedingly
grateful gruel, known as _atolé_, is formed by the process. In the
_tierra caliente_, the kernels are often roasted and ground into
_pinole_;--but the most ordinary consumption of this precious vegetable
is in the _tortillas_, for which Mexico is so celebrated, and in the
preparation of which it is estimated that more than two hundred thousand
females, in the republic, spend four or five hours of every day. In
order to make _tortillas_, the grains of corn are soaked in water, to
which a small quantity of lime has been added, until they are relieved
of their shells. The pure and softened pulp is then laid on a flat stone
or _metate_, one end of which is slightly raised from the ground. A
Mexican woman kneels in the rear of the _metate_, and with another round
stone, rolls, macerates, and amalgamates the crushed corn until it is
formed into a rich succulent paste. Hard by, a thin metallic griddle is
set over ignited coals, which is constantly supplied by another female,
who pats the dough into extremely thin and delicate cakes. They are
eaten hot from the griddle, but, even when carefully prepared, are
deemed insipid and unsavory by foreigners.

Nor are these the only purposes to which this delightful plant and its
offal are devoted by the Mexicans. They have discovered, within a few
years, that a capital paper, for ordinary purposes, can be made of its
leaves; and they have long ago used them as wrappers for the
_cigarritos_, which no loyal native fails to indulge in hourly.

Man and beast--dwellings, food, paper, architecture, and cigars--are
thus, in Mexico, all indebted to Indian corn as one of the greatest
elements of comfort, sustenance, utility and luxury.

The extraordinarily productive BANANA is to the inhabitants of the
_tierra caliente_ what _maize_ is to those who dwell in the loftier and
cooler regions of the table land. An acre of wheat will supply the wants
of three men, but an acre of Bananas, or _plantains_, says Humboldt,
will support fifty.

The MAINOC, _cassava bread_, _jatropha manihot_, the JUCA or YUCA, as it
is known in the West India islands, is peculiar to the _tierra
caliente_, but is more used on the western than eastern coasts of
Mexico. A fine flour is made of the root, which in its raw state is
poisonous. When deprived of all its juice by pressure, the residuum is a
farinacious pulp, forming a pleasant food whose consumption, however, is
not likely to increase in Mexico.

The cultivation of RICE is not extensive. On the east coast between
Alvarado and Guasacualco, and on the western between Jamiltepic and
Huatulco, it has been grown in some few spots; but it does not appear to
please the popular taste sufficiently, ever to enter largely into the
list of national productions either for export or home consumption.

The OLIVE was one of the banned and forbidden products of the Spanish
colonies; but notwithstanding the inhibitions we have already cited in
this section, the tree was planted in various portions of the country
both previous to the revolution, and during intervals of repose whilst
the war of liberation was waging. The archbishop of Mexico was one of
the first to cultivate a plantation of it at Tacubaya near the capital.
At the beginning of this century, Joaquin Gutierrez de los Rios,
commenced the culture at his _hacienda_ de Sarabia, within the district
of Salamanca, in Guanajuato, and succeeded admirably; but his trees were
destroyed entirely during the revolution. At present some large
plantations have been made, in the same state, at several _haciendas_,
and, especially, at that of Mendoza, where 30,000 olive trees were set
out, in 1849.

The VINE, like the olive, was a forbidden fruit to Mexican
agriculturists under the Spanish dominion, except in a region about
Parras whose extreme northern remoteness from the capital perhaps
exempted it from the general inhibition. Elsewhere, throughout the
colony, vineyards were ordered to be destroyed wherever they

[Illustration: TORTILLERAS.]

were attempted; and this rule seems to have been enforced very
generally, except, at Tehuacan, in the state of Puebla and at some
points in the Misteca in Oajaca. The value of Spanish wines imported
annually before Mexican independence, reached the ample sum of $700,000;
and as the French and Germans have, since the opening of the ports,
availed themselves of the benefit for their own trade, it is very
questionable whether the vine will ever become an article of extreme
produce as long as the present race occupies the soil of Mexico. In
1843, the vine was still chiefly cultivated at Tehuacan and at Parras.
Plantations had been made in the neighborhood of Zelaya, but the actual
production of the region about Parras may be estimated from the returns
of the interior custom house of that district through which 616 barrels
of native brandy weighing 2,693 arrobas of 25 lbs. each and 323 barrels
of wine of 1,035 arrobas, together with 204 tierces of raisins, had
passed during the previous year.

_Chile_ PEPPERS or _capsicum_, are extensively cultivated on the table
lands. This pungent vegetable is not only used upon the table or in the
food of all classes as an occasional agreeable stimulant, but has become
one of the regular necessaries of life. It is either ground and mixed
with the various sauces and stews that always form part of a Spanish
meal, or is stuffed with pleasant condiments and eaten as other products
of the garden. No Mexican will pass a day without a dish of the genuine
article, and even foreigners who wince under its excoriation upon their
arrival in the country, soon become as fond of it as the natives.

Mexico produces nearly all the garden stuffs which are either natural to
or have been introduced into the United States, but either in
consequence of the climate, or of a careless mode of cultivation, they
do not generally equal our own in quality or flavor. The _tomato_ is
very fine, lucious and plentiful; and, next to corn, Chili and
_frijoles_, is probably most extensively consumed.

The _frijol_, a rich, nutritive, brown bean, altogether different,
however, from the ordinary _Garrabanzos_, is universally found on the
tables of Mexican gentlefolks and in the humble platters of the Indians
or Mestizos. Various kinds of this valuable esculent are raised in the
republic; but the dark bean of Vera Cruz is always sought as a delicacy
in the houses of the upper classes throughout the republic. It is both
wholesome and nourishing. Mixed with the stimulating gravy formed of
_chile_, and eaten with a _tortilla_ or corn cake, it soon becomes a
necessary of life to a stranger who resides for any length of time in
Mexico. Some of our country men have become so fond of the food, that
they have brought the bean with them upon their return to the United
States, and now supply their table with it instead of _hominy_. From the
_frijol_, the _tortilla_, and the _Chile pepper_ we pass to the great
national liquor, which requires generally longer time to win the favor
of foreigners.

THE MAGUEY--METL, or AGAVE AMERICANA, is a species of Ananas, or Aloe,
from which is made octli or _pulque_, the favorite beverage of the lower
and middle classes of Mexicans, especially in the central parts of the
table land.

This plant grows wild in almost every part of Mexico, yet the people do
not extract a liquid from it, except in the neighborhood of Puebla and
the capital, where its consumption is enormous. The principal
plantations are in the States of Puebla, Mexico, Guanajuato, and a small
portion of Valladolid. The districts most celebrated for the excellence
of their liquor, are in the vicinity of Cholula and the Plains of Apam.
So great was the consumption of this favorite national drink, that the
small municipal tax upon it, at the gates of the cities, amounted,
before the revolution, to $600,000--and, in the year 1793, to upwards of

Pulque is so little known in Europe, or in the United States, that some
account of the process, by which it is made, may be acceptable.

[Illustration: MAKING PULQUE.]

"The Maguey, or aloe, from which it is extracted, differs but little, in
appearance, from those which abound in the south of Spain, and are
known--though of a much smaller size--in England. Its growth is slow,
but when arrived at maturity, its leaves are usually from five to eight
feet in length, although some considerably exceed these dimensions.

"In the Maguey estates, the plants are arranged in lines, with an
interval of three yards between each. If the soil be good, they require
no attention on the part of the proprietor until the period of flowering
arrives, at which time the plant first commences to be productive. This
period is very uncertain; ten years, however, may be taken as a fair
average, for, in a plantation of one thousand aloes, it is calculated
that one hundred are in flower every year. The Indians, know, by
infallible signs, almost the very hour at which the stem, or central
shoot, destined to produce the flower, is about to appear, and they
anticipate it, by making a deep incision and extracting the whole heart,
or central portion of the stem, as a surgeon would take an arm out of
the socket, leaving nothing but the thick outside rind, thus forming a
natural basin or well, about two feet in depth and one and a half in
diameter. Into this the sap, which nature intended for the support of
the gigantic central shoot continually oozes, in such quantities that it
is found necessary to remove it twice, and even three times, during the
day. In order to facilitate this operation, the leaves on one side are
cut off, so as to admit a free approach. An Indian then inserts a long
gourd, (called _acojité_,) the thinner end of which is terminated by a
horn, while at the opposite extremity a small square hole is left, to
which he applies his lips, and extracts the sap by suction. This sap,
before it ferments, is called _Aguamiel_, (honey water,) and merits the
appellation, as it is extremely sweet, and does not possess that
disagreeable smell which is afterwards so offensive.

"A small portion of this _aguamiel_ is transferred from the plant to a
building prepared for the purpose, where it is allowed to ferment for
ten or fifteen days, when it becomes what is termed _Madre Pulque_, (the
mother of Pulque,) which is distributed, in very small quantities,
amongst the different skins or troughs, intended for the daily reception
of the Aguamiel. Upon this it acts as a sort of leaven; fermentation is
excited instantly, and in twenty-four hours it becomes Pulque in the
very best state for drinking. The quantity drawn off each day is
replaced by a fresh supply of _Aguamiel_, so that the process may
continue during the whole year without interruption, and is limited only
by the extent of the plantation. A good maguey yields from eight to
fifteen quartillos or pints, of _Aguamiel_ in a day, the value of which
may be taken at about one _real_, or twelve and a half cents;--and this
supply of sap continues during two, and often three months. The plant,
therefore, when about to flower, is worth ten dollars to the farmer;
although, in the transfer of an estate, the _Magueyes de corte_, ready
for cutting, are seldom valued, one with another, at more than five.
But, in this estimate, an allowance is made for the failure of some,
which is unavoidable, as the operation of cutting the heart of the
plant, if performed either too soon, or too late, is equally
unsuccessful and entirely destroys the plant. The cultivation of the
Maguey, where a market is at hand, has many advantages, as it is a
plant, which, though it succeeds best in a good soil, is not easily
affected either by heat or cold, and requires little or no water. It is
propagated, too, with great facility; for, although the mother plant
withers away as soon as the sap is exhausted, it is replaced by a
multitude of suckers from the old root. There is but one drawback on its
culture, and that is the period that must elapse before a _new_
plantation can be rendered productive, and the uncertainty with regard
to the time of flowering, which varies from eight to eighteen years. But
the Maguey grounds, when once established, are of great value, many
producing a revenue of ten and twelve thousand dollars per annum.

"The natives ascribe to Pulque as many good qualities as whiskey is said
to possess in Scotland. They call it stomachie,--a great promoter of
digestion and sleep, and an excellent remedy in many diseases. It
requires a knowledge of all these good qualities to reconcile the
stranger to that smell of sour milk or slightly tainted meat, by which
the young Pulque drinker is usually disgusted; but if this can be
surmounted, the liquor will be found both refreshing and wholesome, for
its intoxicating qualities are very slight, and as it is drunk always in
a state of fermentation, it possesses, even in the hottest weather, an
agreeable coolness. It is found, too, where water is not to be obtained;
and even the most fastidious, when travelling under a vertical sun, are
then forced to admit its merits.

"It is only to be met with _in perfection_ near the places where it is
grown; as it is conveyed to the great towns in hog-skins on mules or
asses. During this tedious process the disagreeable odor increases and
the freshness of the liquor is lost. A strong sort of brandy, called
_Mexical_, _Mescal_, or _aguardiente_, is likewise prepared from the
aloe, of which there is a great consumption in the country. Nor is the
utility of the plant confined to this; the Aztecs prepared from its
leaves the paper on which their hieroglyphics were written, pieces of
which, of various thickness, may be found at the present day. The more
fibrous parts supply the country with _pita_, a strong thread or twine,
which is made up into ropes and used not only in the interior, but on
the western coast as cordage for vessels. It is not so pliable as hemp,
and is more liable to be affected by the weather; but it is extremely
tough and durable, and consequently of very general utility. The
preceding plate contains an aloe in full produce, with the leaves cut,
the central cup displayed, and the skin, gourd, and scraper used in
extracting the sap."[10]

Mexico is filled with varieties of Aloes and Cacti. A species known as
the Organos--whose tall, erect and fluted columns shoot up to a height
of ten, fifteen or twenty feet, is used in many parts of the table land
for fences. Planted in close rows, its fine spines and firm limbs afford
an impervious wall against intruders, whilst the tops of these evergreen
and growing barriers are almost always covered with the most beautiful
blossoms. In many districts of Mexico these _cacti_ form one of the most
picturesque as well as useful features in the landscape.






It is generally admitted that the cultivation of SUGAR commenced in
China. The cane became first known, through Marco Polo, in the middle of
the thirteenth century; and it was soon after introduced into Nubia,
Egypt and Ethiopia; whence, about the 15th century, it reached Europe.
It was first planted in Sicily, and carried to Spain, Madeira, and the
Canary Isles; and, twenty-eight years after the discovery by Columbus,
it was introduced into Hayti, by Pedro Atienza, and speedily spread over
the West Indies and other parts of America.

THE SUGAR CANE is one of the most valuable agricultural products of
Mexico, and we are convinced from personal observation that the estates
in the _tierra caliente_, where it is chiefly raised, are the richest,
as well as most beautiful, in the republic. There is scarcely a lovelier
prospect in Mexico than that which spreads before the traveller as he
descends from the northern mountains into the valley or Cuernavaca,
which lies south of the valley of Mexico, and may be reached easily in
the course of a day. On every side, as far as the eye can reach, fields
of the freshest verdure are spread out, dotted with the white walls and
towers of the magnificent _haciendas_, which have been founded in this
valley ever since the conquest. Screened from the cold winds of the
upper table land by the protecting barrier of mountains which hem in the
vales of Mexico and Puebla, the valley of Cuernavaca basks, on their
southern slopes and feet, in a tropical climate. Winter never destroys
the foliage in this sheltered region. Pleasant streams gurgle through
its midst and afford sufficient supplies for irrigation. On the plain
the tender green of the young cane, waves in the sun-light like a mass
of purest velvet; whilst the palm and the plantain mingle their


pensile and massive foliage amid the densest groves of oranges, aloes,
and forest trees. The valley of Cuernavaca is one of those picturesque
regions which are so well calculated to bring back a fanciful beholder
to the scenes he has conjured up in youth whilst perusing the story of
Paul and Virginia, or the glowing descriptions of the Arabian Nights.

It is in this charming region that some of the opulent citizens of the
republic, have succeeded the wealthy Spaniards in the princely domains
and _haciendas_ of the _tierra caliente_. In the neighborhood of
Cuernavaca we find the estates of Temisco, San Gabriel, Trenta Pesos, El
Puente, Meacatlan, San Gaspar, San Vicento Chiconcuac, and Atlajomulco.
The valley of Cuautla unites with that of Cuernavaca, on the east, and
contains, among others, the prominent estates of San Nicolas, Atlihuyan,
San Carlos, Acotesalco, Pantitlan, Cocoyöe, Calderon, Casasana, Santa
Iñez, Coahuistla, Mapastlan, and Tenestepango.

In the state of Oajaca there are the fine haciendas of Guendolein,
Arragon, Chicomastlahuaca and Ayotla, besides smaller plantations; and,
in the state of Vera Cruz there are many valuable estates in the
neighborhood of Orizaba and Cordova. The last mentioned establishments
produce annually from 40,000 to 50,000 arrobas of sugar; whilst those in
the valleys of Cuernavaca and Cuautla de Amilpas, (calculated in all, at
forty-eight, in number,) yield about 800,000 arrobas of sugar and
syrup--besides 50,000 barrels of rum. These products, together with some
indigo and coffee, raised in these two last named valleys, swell the
value of agriculture in these branches to two millions and a half
annually. On the estate of Guendolein, in Oajaca, 40,000 arrobas of
sugar were yielded every year, which sold in the federal capital at
about $160,000. At Atlajomulco, in Cuernavaca, 880,000 square yards of
land were cultivated in cane, which produced 4,600 cwt. of refined
sugar, 7,800 cwt. of molasses, and 300 cwt. of syrup. From the syrup is
distilled the common _chinguerito_, or a superior species of beverage
known as _aguardiente de cana_. At the estate of Santa Iñez, near
Cuautla, 4,000 barrels of this spirit are annually distilled and sold in
Mexico at $32 each, which, with a deduction of eight dollars for
transportation and duties, will leave a return for the planter of 24
dollars per barrel. In addition to this production of ardent spirits,
the estate produces annually about 40,000 loaves, of twenty-three pounds
each, or 920,000 pounds of refined sugar; and here, as elsewhere
throughout the planting districts, it is calculated that the molasses,
syrup, and in some places, the aguardiente, pay all the expenses of the
estate. The chief difficulty encountered by the proprietors, and their
_administradors_, is in the worthlessness of the Indian laborers, whose
character as agriculturists we have noticed in the section of this work
treating of the classes of Mexican society. Three hundred hands are
employed at the _hacienda_, who are paid a _per diem_ of two and a half
or three _reals_, according to their qualifications or work.

The hacienda of Temisco, in the valley of Cuernavaca, is one of the
oldest establishments in the republic, and, within a few years, has
passed into the possession of its present owners for the sum of
$300,000. The extensive buildings, consisting of a commodious dwelling,
constructed in the old Spanish style, and a large chapel, were erected
soon after the conquest. The domain extends over eleven leagues of land
in length, and three in width. Two hundred and fifty laborers produce
yearly about fifty thousand loaves of sugar, of an average weight of 23
pounds. The annual expenses of the farming and management amount to
thirty thousand dollars, which are repaid by the molasses, syrup, and
spirits, as at Santa Iñez, while, in addition to the crop, about four
thousand cattle are raised on the premises. On all these large estates a
store is kept by the owner, at which nearly the whole amount of the
Indian laborer's wages is received back in the course of the year. The
planters, in many parts of the country, are no longer contented with the
old system of extracting and preparing sugar; but, notwithstanding the
enormous cost of transporting such large masses of heavy machinery, they
have introduced all the modern improved engines used in the United
States and the West Indies. The profits must be large that will warrant
so extravagant an expenditure. The great haciendas disburse, in wages
and other current charges, from 800 to 1,200 dollars weekly. The
establishment of a _Trapiche_, or all the works required for a sugar
estate, is so costly an enterprise, that it is not likely the
cultivation of the article will become greatly extended by the opening
of new estates in the most productive regions. Labor, as well as
engines, will be required for this purpose, and it is quite improbable
that the few indolent Indians in the neighborhood will be prevailed on
to abandon their life of laziness for the toils of a sugar plantation.
Besides this, the present production fully supplies the home market, and
although the revenues and profits are extraordinarily tempting, it is
doubtful whether the Mexicans are sufficiently enterprising in
agriculture to adventure such enormous sums as are necessarily expended
before a single cane is planted or a pound of sugar manufactured. As
long as the

[Illustration: HACIENDA.]

rate of interest is high, the roads bad, transportation costly and
unchanged, and the condition of the country unsettled, these vast and
valuable rural districts will, in all likelihood, remain untenanted and

       *       *       *       *       *

Baron Humboldt, whose analytical mind always strives to classify,
systematize and _tabularize_ his investigations, has endeavored to
ascertain and limit the maximum _height_ at which the cane may be
cultivated; but it is probably true that all such attempts, are
altogether visionary, in a country of great inequalities of elevation,
shelter and exposure. Many local causes, altogether independent of
relative elevation may produce the degree of heat requisite to bring
cane to perfection, yet it is generally conceded that the produce of a
plantation in the table land would not equal that of an estate near the
coast. The valley of Cuautla, for instance, is bounded on the north by
the lofty peak of Popocatepetl, against whose _snows_ the fresh verdure
of the cane, and the graceful branches of the palm are constantly
relieved. In an hour or two after leaving the plantation of Santa Iñez,
the traveller who passes thence towards the valley of Mexico, finds
himself obliged to put on his cloak or _serape_, after having suffered
from tropical heat during the preceding day. It might reasonably be
supposed that the vicinity of such immense masses of ice and snow would
naturally affect the temperature of the adjacent valley; but the frosty
peak of Popocatepetl only serves to condense the vapors that drift
inland from the sea and to set them free over the low and warm valleys
which border its southern base, whilst its broad shoulders protect the
plains from the cold blasts of the north wind.


The soil of Mexico has been found adapted for the cultivation of coffee
as well as sugar; but under the old Spanish dominion it never formed one
of the articles of export, although it did not interfere with the
productions of the mother country. In 1818 and '19 extensive plantations
were commenced near Orizaba and Cordova, to which additions have since
been frequently made. The plant was likewise introduced into the valleys
of Cuernavaca and Cuautla by Antonio Velasco and the _administrador_ of
the estates of the Duke of Monteleone. The large _hacienda_ of
Atlajomulco, in the immediate neighborhood of Cuernavaca still pertains
to the descendants of Cortéz; and here the experiment of coffee culture
has been long and successfully tried. The average produce of each plant
is estimated at about two and a half pounds throughout all parts of the
republic where the berry is cultivated; though there are districts of
Mexico in which it is said that three or four pounds are yielded. This
probably depends very much on the size, age, or quality of the tree. Mr.
Ward states that he knew of a single tree, in the garden of Don Pablo de
la Llave, at Cordova, which produced _twenty-eight pounds_! The slope of
the eastern Cordillera is supposed to be best calculated for coffee
estates, and it is believed that Yucatan and Tabasco will ultimately,
under favorable circumstances, become the centres of a lucrative trade
in this article, if the Indian population can ever be trained to
agricultural labors, or made productively industrious in a land where
the wants of nature are so few and so easily supplied. The plantations
in the interior must long be excluded from foreign markets for the same
reason that we have assigned in regard to sugar. Roads and improved
transportation are the fundamental and primary elements of commercial
civilization, and until these are obtained permanently, Mexico must look
chiefly to her domestic market for agricultural recompense.


In a country in which all the men, and nearly all the women are habitual
and even constant smokers, tobacco, must necessarily be an article of
national importance. So valuable is its production that the government
has continued to maintain the monopoly of its sale, and, previous to the
revolution, managed to obtain an annual _clear_ revenue of from one to
two millions and a half of dollars, with a _gross_ income, occasionally,
of over seven millions and a half. In the cigar factories of Oajaca five
millions of packets of paper _cigarritos_ of thirty in each were
prepared, besides sixty thousand packets each containing seven _puros_
or ordinary cigars.

Tobacco grows well in a small district near Orizaba and Cordova, but the
best article produced in the republic, comes from Simojovel in the state
of Chiapas and from some districts of Oajaca. In Yucatan and Tabasco,
the plant is also cultivated successfully, and produces a mild and
fragrant leaf which is not included in the national monopoly. A large
portion of the tobacco sold in the republic is contraband; for the
ridiculous and greedy restrictions and exactions with which a plant of
such universal consumption is surrounded, necessarily dispose the people
to violate laws which they feel were only made to impair their rights of
production and trade under a constitution professing to be free.


Indigo was cultivated and used by the Mexicans previous to the conquest.
The plant was known by them under the name of Xiuhquilipitzahuac, and
the particles from which the dye stuff was made, as Mohuitli or
Tlacohuilli. At the close of the seventeenth century the production of
this article had already greatly decreased. The chief part of it,
required for dyeing the cotton cloths which are generally used for home
consumption by the Indians and lower classes of Mestizos, has been
brought from Guatemala. It is found in Yucatan, Chiapas and about
Tehuantepec in the state of Oajaca, and grows wild in some very warm
localities in Tabasco. In this last named region there is every reason
to believe that it may be profitably cultivated, inasmuch as the indigo
plantations of San Salvador, in the neighborhood of Guatemala have been
known to produce one million eight hundred thousand pounds of the
article, valued at two millions of dollars.

       *       *       *       *       *

The production of WAX, according to the Memoria Sobre el Estado de la
Agricultura y Industria, of Don Lucas Alaman in 1843, is gradually
augmenting in the republic. Attempts have also been made to cultivate
FLAX and HEMP. The first of which has been successfully raised by
Mariano Aillou in the neighborhood of Tenancingo, and the latter, in the
southern districts of the state of Michoacan, where it grows even
spontaneously and is known under the name of _guinary_. The product is
very large, the extent of territory covered by it very great,--and the
thousands of pounds annually raised in that district, are made up into
garments whose quality is highly approved throughout the republic.


In consequence of the high price of imported goods, owing to restrictive
tariffs as well as to the costliness of transportation a number of
intelligent persons began some years ago to establish factories for
cottons and woollens. The stimulus of domestic factories it was supposed
would naturally increase the culture of the raw materials, and,
accordingly, the national industry was aided from the beginning by
prohibitions or excessive duties, which either excluded the foreign raw
material altogether, or fostered the contraband introduction of cotton
twist and woollen thread.

Cotton was among the indigenous products of Mexico at the time of the
conquest; and the early adventurers not only found it to constitute the
common vesture of the masses of the people, but also that the most
delicate and luxurious articles of dress were made of it. The Aztecs
possessed the art of spinning it to an extreme degree of fineness and of
imparting to it the beautiful and brilliant dyes for which they were
celebrated; but both these mysteries were entirely lost in the general
destruction of aboriginal arts and records by the Spaniards.
Notwithstanding the natural anxiety of Spain to furnish her colonists
with her manufactures, she could never prevent the people from weaving
and wearing this spontaneous product of their soil. And, although the
cultivation of the raw material was neglected or not pursued with the
ingenious industry that would have made it a great staple product, it is
nevertheless estimated that the annual value of the domestic manufacture
in Mexico amounted to about $5,000,000. After the consummation of
national independence, foreign nations hastened to seize the trade of
Mexico and to fill the markets with an abundant but costly supply of
European and American stuffs. The drain of the precious metals which
this caused from a country that possessed no other article of export to
pay for the imported merchandize by exchanges, soon alarmed the
financiers of Mexico, and accordingly a higher scale of duties was
adopted for the encouragement of domestic manufactures. This, for a long
time, served only to augment the cost of apparel to the Mexican
consumer, whilst it had no other material effect upon the fabrics of the
country except to seduce a number of wealthy landholders into the
erection of factories, which have cost them, at least, ten if not twelve
millions of dollars. Unluckily, however, this amounted merely to the
creation of vast establishments which could not rely upon the resources
of the country for their supply, for the factories were built _before_
the farms were opened by which they were to be furnished with the

It is a fact, therefore, not very generally known, that Mexico has
become a manufacturing country. The water power which is abundant in
many parts of a mountainous region like that of Mexico, affords great
facilities for such establishments.

In 1843 there were 53 cotton factories in the republic with a total of
131,280 spindles, and it was estimated that,--looking to Mexico alone
for the supply,--there would be an annual deficiency of a large quantity
of the raw material. This calculation, it must be remembered, does not
include the consumption of cotton by hand looms, an immense number of
which are in constant use through the republic.

In consequence of this evident deficiency, and the prospect of the firm
establishment of a manufacturing system, many persons were induced to
commence the cultivation of cotton. But their failure was signal. It is
true that in Mexico the proportion of small farmers and rural tenants is
small, and that the great majority of the owners of the soil are large
landholders who might sometimes change the character of their
cultivation. But these men belong to the pastoral rather than the
agricultural age, and delight in the easier tending of their flocks and
herds. In addition to this we must take into consideration the well
known characteristics of the southern races enervated still more by the
genial climate of Mexico. Those races are governed by traditions. As
their fathers wrought--so _they_ work. Their antipathy to change is
proverbial, and it is by no means uncommon to see the spirit of an
anecdote related by Bazil Montague, realized every day in Mexico.

"In a particular district of Italy," says he, "the peasants loaded their
panniers with vegetables on one side, and balanced the opposite pannier
by filling it with stones, and when a traveller pointed out the
advantages to be gained by loading both panniers with vegetables, he was
answered that their forefathers, from time immemorial, had so carried
their produce to market; that they were wise and good men, and that a
stranger showed very little understanding or decency who interfered in
the established customs of a country." Such are the difficulties to be
encountered in the habits and prejudices of all old nations, and the
embarrassment, in the present instance, would not be so much in creating
a body of gentlemen planters, as in finding laborers to work the
plantations when they had been acquired.

Brought up as most of the Indians are, on small pieces of land, or in
little villages among the mountains, they find that the fruitful soil
produces, almost spontaneously, enough for their frugal support. A skin
or two, together with a few yards of cotton or woollen cloth, suffice,
every few years, for their requisite covering. The broad leaves of a
plantain, or, a palm with its matted vines, afford them shelter during
the day, whilst a kennel on the ground, keeps off the rains or night
dews. And thus, a servile contentment with traditionary occupations or
idleness, roots them to the soil where they were born, and makes them,
in fact though not in name, the hereditary slaves of the estates on
which their ancestors have worked for centuries. These men are, of
course, not to be suddenly diverted from their tastes; and the worthy
persons who have commenced the cultivation of cotton in suitable
districts of the country where the Indians are numerous and unemployed,
have been obliged to abandon their enterprises from the fact that their
laborers speedily deserted under the plea that they were not used to
such occupations, and, with less toil, had ample food and raiment in
their goats and gardens at home. The reasoning of the Indians is quite
natural and even wise under the peculiar circumstances of their actual
life. _Money_ is no object to them, for they have no object upon which
to expend it, and their isolated existence affords them no comparative
scale of society in which they might advance to a higher degree of
civilization by the possession of wealth. Why then should they toil to
acquire that which to them has not even the value of a _counter_?
Possessing without labor all that is needed for mere existence, their
toil can only be beneficial to their employers. In this, they perceive
by their native sagacity, that there is no recompense and no equality of

Whilst such are the reasons why a new agricultural population cannot be
created in Mexico, the reverse is precisely the case with regard to a
new manufacturing population. Factories are generally erected in the
neighborhood of large towns, or in populous districts where the surplus
of _females_ is continually in the greatest indigence. These people have
neither pieces of land, nor gardens, nor goats, nor means of livelihood
except beggary or the prison, and consequently they flock with eagerness
to every factory that affords the hope of employment and support. Thus,
whilst the tendency of the agriculture of Mexico is to produce
servitude, that of its manufactures is to create a feeling of honest

These speculations seem to indicate clearly, first, that the fixed
policy of Mexico is to establish a national system of manufactures; and,
secondly, that the cultivation of the staple which is to supply these
factories will not be largely increased; or if it be increased at all,
its augmentation will not be proportionate to the number and demand of
the factories.

       *       *       *       *       *

The connexion between the production of cotton and its use is so close
that we have been unable in the preceding passages to avoid anticipating
some statements which will be more amply set forth in our section on
Mexican manufactures. We shall now turn our attention to the cultivation
and annual production in the republic.

       *       *       *       *       *

Throughout the cotton growing districts of the United States the cotton
plant is of annual growth. Frost destroys it, and the planter is obliged
to renew the seed for every crop. But, in the tierra caliente of
Mexico, this is not requisite, as the tree propagates itself, and the
laborers are only required to keep the fields clear of extraneous plants
which spring up so rapidly and luxuriantly in tropical climates.

Notwithstanding the advantages offered by the erection of the factories
in Mexico, the best data obtained by Don Lucas Alaman in 1843, presented
only the following meagre returns of the proximate quantity of cotton
raised in some of the states of the republic, excluding, of course, the
small parcels raised by Mestizos and Indians for their private

                               ARROBAS.         LBS.

  In the state of Jalisco,       1,000   or    25,000
     "     "      Sonora,        3,500   "     87,500
     "     "      Durango,       3,044   "     76,100
     "     "      Oajaca,       21,583   "    539,576
     "     "      Puebla,        3,738   "     93,450
     "     "      Vera Cruz,    14,496   "    362,400
                               -------      ---------
                                47,361   "  1,184,025

In this estimate the cleaned and uncleaned, or ginned and un-ginned
cotton are averaged together. It is generally considered, however, that
the whole country really produces at present about seventy thousand
quintals or seven millions of pounds.

The quantity, and consequently the value of the Mexican cotton crop has
been very variable. At Tepic on the west coast, in whose vicinity there
are many valuable factories, it has been sold as low as fifteen dollars
per quintal; while at Vera Cruz on the east coast it has risen to
twenty-two and twenty-four dollars, and, in Puebla and the city of
Mexico it has reached even to forty and forty-eight dollars. Cotton gins
have been established at Alvarado, at Cosamaloapan, and Tuxtla on the
northern and eastern coasts, and at Tepic, on the west; but they are not
sufficiently numerous throughout the country to supply even the present
limited production.


Mexico is generally considered the native country of the delicious
vainilla bean, which grows wild along the eastern coast amid the endless
variety of parasitic plants with which the forests are filled. It is a
native of Vera Cruz, Oajaca and Tabasco. On the wooded mountain or hill
slopes of the latter it has been discovered in great quantities; but
throughout Mexico this pleasant and valuable product has been left
almost entirely to the care of Indians. Its cultivation is exceedingly
simple. A shoot of the plant is inserted in the ground at the foot of a
tree intended to support the future vine, which, if properly freed from
the encumbrance of other parasites, soon embraces the trunk, and yields
beans during the third year. This hardy and fruitful plant lasts from a
quarter to half a century, according to the attention that is bestowed
on it; and it is remarkable that its cultivation has not engaged the
attention of foreigners who might safely reside in the beautiful and
healthy regions of Jalapa.


JALAP, like vainilla, is a parasitic plant; but its root instead of its
fruit is used for medicinal purposes. Its leaves resemble the ivy and
its beautiful red flowers open only at night. Growing plentifully in the
neighborhood of Jalapa, whence it takes its name, it is usually sent
abroad through Vera Cruz, where the commercial returns show that more
than three thousand quintals are rarely exported.


The use of chocolate is so universal in Mexico and throughout Spanish
countries, that it might naturally be supposed the cultivation of cacao
was largely and carefully attended to in the republic. Such, however, is
not the case. The cacao of Soconusco, and of the low grounds of
Caraccas, Guatemala and Guyaquil, was found to be so superior to the
Mexican article, that its production has been almost abandoned except in
the neighborhood of Colima, or on the Isthmus and in the states of
Tabasco and Chiapas.


The OPUNTIA, or Indian fig, a species of cactus is the food in Mexico
which supports an insect from whose body the dye known as COCHINEAL is
made. It is found also in Brazil where it nourishes the _grana
sylvestre_ which affords a dye that is greatly inferior in color as well
as durability to that produced by the _grana fina_ of Mexico.

The _grana fina_ resembles a small bug in size and color, covered with a
whitish mealy powder, through which the rings or cross stripes on the
back of the insect are distinctly visible; the female alone produces the
dye; the males are smaller, and one is found sufficient to impregnate
three hundred females.

The cochineal bug feeds only on the leaf of the _opuntia_. The process
of rearing is complicated and attended with much difficulty. The leaves
of the nopal upon which the seed is deposited, must be kept free from
all foreign substances, and, in the cochineal districts the Indian women
constantly tend the plants, brushing them lightly with a squirrel's

In a good year one pound of seed deposited upon the plant in October,
will yield in December, twelve pounds of cochineal, leaving a sufficient
quantity of seed behind for a second crop in May. The plantations of the
cochineal cactus are confined to the district of the Misteca, in the
state of Oajaca and in the valley of Oajaca at Ocotlan.

Some of the Haciendas de Nopales contain from fifty to sixty thousand
plants, arranged in lines like the aloes in the Maguey plantations
already described, and cut down to a certain height, in order to enable
the Nopaleros to clean them more easily.

In the year 1758, a government registry-office was established in
Oajaca, in consequence of the complaints of British merchants, who had
received cargoes of adulterated cochineal. This bureau kept an accurate
account of the production and value of the article, within its
jurisdiction, and a tabular statement of the result has since been
published in the Memoria Estadistica de Oajaca, &c. &c., of Don J. M.
Murgnia y Galardi, who was a deputy to the Cortes from that province. By
this document, and subsequent returns, it appears that from 1758 to
1832, inclusive,--or in 75 years,--44,195,750 pounds of cochineal were
produced in the state of Oajaca alone, which were worth $106,170,671 at
the market price.


After the independence of Mexico was secured the Mexicans in the
neighborhood of Zelaya, and in a few other places, attempted the
cultivation of the mulberry tree, for the purpose of feeding silk worms.
But this agricultural speculation failed. The planters did not possess
the Chinese mulberry, which is universally adopted as the best in all
silk producing countries.

In 1841 an association under the style of the "Michoacan Company," was
organized, in the capital of Michoacan, for the encouragement of silk
culture. The members of this body labored diligently to introduce the
Chinese tree, and spread it far and wide through the states of Vera
Cruz, Puebla, Mexico, Queretaro, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, San Luis
Potosi, Sonora and Michoacan. These labors were performed by thirty-six
_Juntas de fomento_, or committees of encouragement, and although the
trees have most generally grown well, it is to be feared that the
enterprise resembled the wild speculations in that species of mulberry
which, about the same period, both made and lost so many fortunes in the
United States. The cultivation of silk has been warmly urged by Don
Lucas Alaman, as exceedingly suitable for the state of Oajaca, where, in
the course of time, it may replace the cochineal whose product it is
said is beginning to fail in that district.


The finest fruits of Mexico are commonly found in the _tierra caliente_.
The orange, lemon, lime, pine apple, banana, chirimoya, sapote,
ahuacate, tuna, granadita, are produced in great perfection. The apples,
peaches, cherries, grapes and gooseberries do not possess the high
flavor, nor are they found in the same varieties, as in the United
States; but the pears, especially those known as Gamboa pears, are
exceedingly delicious. Nearly all these fruits are consumed in their
natural state, yet immense quantities are preserved and form the
extraordinary varieties of _dulces_ without which no Mexican table is
considered properly set forth. It is very probable that if horticulture
and agriculture were scientifically studied by Mexicans, or if North
American and European gardeners were to emigrate to the country, even
the fruits which are now inferior to ours, would improve in quality,
size and flavor under their skilful management.


From all that we have already stated in regard to the Indian or laboring
population of Mexico, the nature of the seasons, and the want of
irrigation in many districts, except by artificial means, it will be
perceived that the agricultural progress of the country is extremely
doubtful. In addition to this, the land belongs to a few proprietors,
many of whom own estates of twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, and even a
hundred leagues square, which are chiefly devoted to _herds_ instead of
_agriculture_. Mexico is thus rather in the _pastoral_ than the
_commercial_ age, and must pass through the transition state of
independent sub-divided labor before she can stand, naturally, upon the
same platform with northern and European nations.

The early Spanish settlers were eager monopolists of mines and land.
Their object was to realize fortunes speedily; and by a liberal
_repartimiento_ of Indians they were enabled to found large estates upon
which those Indians either toiled as husbandmen or tended uncounted
herds. The prolific soil soon yielded, with little labor, the required
quantity of vegetables and cereal products; domestic markets were wanted
for the sale of the surplus, and the Spanish government did not open its
harbors for exportation. Agriculture was thus early limited to the mere
animal wants of the _glebœ adscripti_ and emigrant Spaniards, and as
the Indian never labors except when compelled by force or necessity, he
soon preferred the idle and wandering life of a herdsman to that of a
farmer. Many of these estates now number from ten to twenty thousand
head of cattle. Besides this the Spanish laws presented the Indian no
prospects of independent agricultural rights. The foreign landholder
enjoyed the exclusive ownership of the vast freehold. There was no
encouragement or hope given to small farmers who might emerge from the
servile race, and the consequence is that Mexico, until she becomes an
exporting country, receives an augmented population by immigration, and
sub-divides her immense territorial manors, under the demands of trade,
will, in all likelihood remain stationary in every thing pertaining to
agriculture. It is the multiplication of freeholders under the stimulus
of commerce, that promotes freedom, industry, and personal independence.
Competition is continually excited by the wants of a numerous nation, or
by the prospect of selling the results of our labor to others abroad who
are not so well supplied or do not produce the articles we cultivate and
manufacture. But Mexico, as at present constituted, is an exceedingly
small white _civilized_ nation, if we exclude her four and a half
millions of Indians. She is not increased annually by immigration from
the crowded countries of the Old World, nor does she encourage the
advent of strangers. Her population therefore is substantially confined
within the narrow limits of natural increase by birth alone. These
singular facts exhibit the anomalous condition of all the Spanish
settlements upon the virgin and inviting soil of America; and until the
Chinese exclusiveness of these various western nations is abandoned as
an absurdity in the nineteenth century, we do not believe that the Arab
plough will be replaced by the civilized implements of North American
agriculture, or that the Mexican shepherd will turn into an enlightened
farmer. We have seen that even the stimulus of domestic demand for
cotton, has been unable to produce a new agricultural class among those
who were devoted to other traditionary toils. What hope, then, can there
be of an improvement in cereal cultivation, when the country is already
supplied, and owns neither a navy nor merchantmen?


     THE CONQUEST.--COINAGE 1844--TOTAL COINAGE 1535 to 1850.


It is generally supposed that the mineral wealth of America was one of
the most powerful stimulants of the Spanish conquest and subsequent
emigration; nor is the idea erroneous if we recollect the manner in
which the Castilian power was founded on this continent and the colonial
policy it originated. It will be seen by the tables annexed to this
section, that the results have largely fulfilled the hopes of the
European adventurers, and that the wealth of the world has been
immensely augmented and sustained, by the discovery of our Continent. In
the order of the earth's gradual development, under the intellectual
enterprise or bodily labor of man, we find the most beautiful system of
accommodation to the growing wants or capacities of our race. Space is
required for the crowded population of the Old World, and a new
continent is suddenly opened, into which the cramped and burdened
millions may find room for industry and independent existence. The
political institutions of Europe decay in consequence of the
encroachments of power, the social degradation of large masses by unjust
or unwise systems, or the enforced operation of oppressive laws, and a
virgin country is forthwith assigned to man in which the principle of
self government may be tried without the necessity of casting off by
violence the old fetters of feudalism. The increasing industry or
invention of the largely augmented populations of the earth, exacts
either a larger amount or a new standard of value for the precious
metals, and regions are discovered among the frosts and forests of a far
off continent, in which the fable of the golden sands of Pactolus is
realized. The labor of men and the flight of time strip commercial
countries of their trees, yet, in order to support the required supply
of fuel, not only for the comfort and preservation but also for the
industry of the race, the heart of the earth beneath the soil which is
required for cultivation, is found to be veined with inexhaustible
supplies of mineral coal.

The bounty and the protective forethought of God for his creatures is
not only intimated but proved by these benevolent storehouses of
treasure, comfort and freedom; and whilst we acknowledge them with
proper gratitude, we should not forget that their acquirement and
enduring possession are only to be paid for by labor, economy, and
social as well as political forbearance.

We do not think these observations out of place in a chapter devoted to
the mineral wealth of Mexico. The subject of property and its
representative metals, should be approached in a reflective and
christian spirit, in an age in which the political and personal misery
of the overcrowded masses of Europe, is forcing them to regard all who
are better provided for, or more fortunate by thrift or the accident of
birth, as enemies of the poor. The demagogue leaders of these wretched
classes, pushing the principle of just equalization to a ridiculous and
hideous extreme, have not hesitated to declare in France, since the
revolution of February, 1848, that "property is robbery."[11] We shall
not pause to examine or refute the false dogma of a dangerous
incendiary. The common sense as well as the common feeling of mankind
revolts at it. Property, as the world is constituted by God, is the
_source_ of new industry, because it is, under the laws of all civilized
nations, the original _result_ of industry. "It makes the meat it feeds
on." Without it there would be no duty of labor, no exercise of human
ingenuity or talent, no responsibility, no reward. The mind and body
would stagnate under such a monstrous contradiction of all our physical
and intellectual laws. The race would degenerate into its former savage
condition; and force, instead of its antagonists, industry and honest
competition, would usurp the dominion of the world and end this vicious
circle of bastard civilization.

And yet it is the duty of an American,--who, from his superior position,
both in regard to space in which he can find employment and equal
political laws by which that employment is protected, stands on a
vantage ground above the confined and badly governed masses of
Europe,--to regard the present position of the European masses not only
with humane compassion, but to sympathize with that natural feeling that
revolts against a state of society which it seems impossible to
ameliorate, and yet whose wants or luxuries do not afford them support.
It is hard to suffer hunger and to see our dependants die of starvation,
when we are both able and willing to work for wages but can obtain no
work upon which to exercise our ingenuity or our hands. It is frightful
to reflect, says Mr. Carlyle, in one of his admirable essays, that there
is hardly an English horse, in a condition to labor for his owner, that
is deprived of food and lodging, whilst thousands of human beings rise
daily from their obscure and comfortless dens in the British isles, who
do not know how they shall obtain employment for the day by which they
may purchase a meal.

To this dismal account of European suffering, the condition of the
American continent affords the best reply. The answer and the remedy are
both displayed in the social and political institutions, as well as in
the boundless unoccupied and prolific tracts of our country. Labor cries
out for work and recompense from the Old World, whilst the New displays
her soil, her mines, her commerce and her trades, as the best _alms_
that one nation can bestow on another, because they come direct from God
and are the reward of meritorious _industry_. Before such a tribunal the
modern demagogue of continental Europe shrinks into insignificance, and
the laws of labor are effectually vindicated.

The MINES OF MEXICO have been wrought from the earliest periods. Long
before the advent of the Spaniards, the natives of Mexico, like those of
Peru, were acquainted with the use of metals. Nor were they contented
with such specimens as they found scattered at random on the surface of
the earth or in the ravines of mountain torrents, but had already
learned to dig shafts, pierce galleries, form needful implements, and
trace the metallic veins in the hearts of mountains. We know that they
possessed gold, silver, lead, tin, copper and cinnabar. Beautiful
samples of jewelry were wrought by them, and gold and silver vases,
constructed in Mexico, were sent to Spain by the conquerors, as
testimonials of the mineral wealth of the country. The dependant tribes
paid their tributes to the sovereign in a species of metallic currency,
which though not stamped by royal order, was yet the representative of a
standard value. The exact position of all the mines from which these
treasures were derived by the Aztecs is not certainly known at the
present day, but as the natives were often compelled to indicate some of
the sources of their riches to the conquerors there is little doubt that
the present mineral district of the republic is that from which they
procured their chief supplies.

The mines of Mexico may be classed in eight groups, nearly all of which
are placed on the top or on the western slope of the great _Cordillera_.

The _first_ of these groups has been the most productive, and embraces
the districts contiguous to Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Charcas,
Catorce, Zacatecas, Asientos de Ybarra, Fresnillo and Sombrerete.

The _second_ comprises the mines situated west of the city of Durango as
well as those in Sinaloa, for the labors of engineers have brought them
so close to each other by their works that they may be united in the
same geological division.

The _third_ group is the northernmost in Mexico, and is that which
embraces the mines of Chihuahua and Cosiguiriachi. It extends from the
27th° to the 29th° of north latitude.

The _fourth_ and _fifth_ clusters are found north-east of Mexico, and
are formed by the mines of Real del Monte or Pachuca, and Zimapan, or,
El Doctor.

Bolaños, in Guadalajara, and Tasco in Oajaca, are the central points of
the _sixth_, _seventh_ and _eighth_.[12]

The reader who will cast his eye over the map of Mexico, will at once
perceive that the geographical space covered by this metalliferous
region, is small when compared with the great extent of the whole
country. The eight groups into which the mining districts are divided
occupy a space of twelve thousand square leagues, or one tenth only of
the whole extent of the Mexican republic as it existed previous to the
treaty of 1848 and before the mineral wealth of California and probably
of New Mexico was known to the world. But as that treaty confirmed and
ceded to the United States more than one half of the ancient territory
of Mexico, we may estimate the mining region as covering fully one fifth
of the remainder.

Before the discovery and conquest of the West Indies and the American
continent, Europe had looked to the east for her chief supplies of
treasure. America was discovered by Columbus, not as was so long
imagined, because he foresaw the existence of another continent, but
because he sought a shorter route to the rich and golden Zipangou, and
to the spice regions of eastern Asia. Columbus and Vespuccius both died
believing that they had reached eastern Asia, and thus a geographical
mistake led to the greatest discovery that has ever been made. In proof
of these assertions we may state that Columbus designed delivering _at
Cuba_, the missives of the Spanish king to the great Kahn of the
Mongols, and that he imagined himself in Mangi the capital of the
southern region of Cathay or China! "The Island of Hispaniola," (Hayti)
he declares to Pope Alexander VI., in a letter found in the archives of
the Duke of Varaguas,--"is Tarshish, Ophir, and Zipangou. In my second
voyage, I have discovered fourteen hundred islands, and a shore of three
hundred and thirty-three miles, belonging to the continent of Asia."
This _West Indian_ Zipangou produced golden fragments or spangles,
weighing eight, ten and even twenty pounds.[13]

Before the discovery of the _silver_ mines of Tasco, on the western
slope of the Mexican Cordillera, in the year 1522, America supplied only
_gold_ to the Old World, and consequently, Isabella of Castile was
obliged, already in 1497, to modify greatly, the relative value of the
two precious metals used for currency. This was doubtless the origin of
the Medina edict--which changes the old legal ratio of 1:10.7. Yet
Humboldt has shown that, from 1492 to 1500, the quantity of gold drawn
from the parts of the New World then known, did not amount, annually, to
more than about one thousand pounds avoirdupois;--and the Pope Alexander
VI., who, by his famous Bull, bestowed one half the earth upon the
Spanish kings, only received in return, from Ferdinand the Catholic,
some small fragments of gold from Hayti, to gild a portion of the dome
of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore;--a gift that was suitably
acknowledged in a Latin inscription in which the offering is set forth
as the first that had been received by the Catholic sovereigns from

Although the income of treasure must have increased somewhat, yet the
working of the American mines did not yield three millions of dollars
yearly until 1545. The ransom of Atahualpa amounted, according to
Gomara, to about four hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars of our
standard, or fifty-two thousand marks of silver, whilst, the pillage of
the Temples at Cuzco, if Herrera is to be credited, did not produce more
than twenty-five thousand seven hundred marks, or a little more than a
quarter of a million of our currency.[14]

It has been generally imagined that the wealth of the New World
immediately and largely enriched the Spanish kings or their people; and
that the sovereigns, under whose auspices the discovery was made,
participated, at once, in the treasures that were found in the
possession of the Indian rulers. Such, however, was not the case. The
historian Ranke, in his essay on the Spanish finances, has shown, by new
documents and official vouchers, the small quantity of the precious
metals which the American mines, and the supposed treasures of the Incas
yielded.[15] It is probable that the conquerors did not make exact
returns to the court of their acquisitions, or that the revenue
officers, appointed at an early period of American history, were not
remarkable for the fidelity with which they transmitted the sums that
came into their possession as servants of the crown; and thus it
happened that neither the king of Spain nor his kingdom, was speedily
enriched by the New World. Baron Humboldt, in one of his late
publications, gives an interesting extract from a letter written by a
friend of Ferdinand the Catholic a few days after his death, which
exhibits the finances of that king in a different light from that in
which they have been hitherto viewed. In an epistle to the bishop of
Tuy, Peter Martyr says, that this "Lord of many realms,--this wearer of
so many laurels,--this diffuser of the Christian faith and vanquisher of
its enemies,--died _poor_, in a rustic hut. Whilst he lived no one
imagined that after his death it would be discovered that he possessed
scarcely money enough either to defray the ceremony of his sepulture, or
to furnish his few retainers with suitable mourning!"[16] The
adventurers _in America_, were doubtless enriched, and duly reported
their gains to friends at home; but Spain itself was not speedily
improved by their acquisitions.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rise in the prices of grain and other products of agriculture or
human industry, about the middle of the sixteenth century, and
especially from 1570 to 1595, indicates the true beginning of the
plentiful flow of the precious metals to the Old World, in consequence
of which their value diminished and the results of European industry
increased in price. This is accounted for by the commencement of the
beneficial working of the American mines about that period. The real
opening of the mines of Potosi, by the Spanish conquerors, dates from
the year 1545; and it was between this epoch and 1595, that the splendid
masses of silver from Tasco, Zacatecas, and Pachuca, in New Spain; and
from Potosi, Porco and Oruro, in the chain of Peruvian Andes, began to
be distributed more uniformly over Europe, and to affect the price of
its productions. From the period of the administration of Cortéz to the
year 1552, when the celebrated mines of Zacatecas were just opened, the
export from Mexico, rarely reached in value, annually, 100,000 pesos de
oro, or nearly $1,165,000. But from that date it rose rapidly, and in
the years 1569, 1578 and 1587, it was already, respectively--

    931,564 Pesos de oro. } The Peso de oro, is rated by Prescott,
  1,111,202   "       "   }   at $11.65 cents, and by Ramirez,
  1,812,051   "       "   }   at $2.93 cents.[17]

During the last peaceful epoch of the Spanish domination, Baron Humboldt
calculates the annual yield of the mines of Mexico at not more than
$23,000,000, or nearly 1,184,000 pounds, avoirdupois, of silver, and
3,500 pounds, avoirdupois, of gold. From 1690 to 1803--$1,330,772,093
were coined in the _only_ mint of Mexico; while, from the discovery of
New Spain until its independence, about $2,028,000,000, or two-fifths of
all the precious metals which the whole of the New World has supplied
during the same period, were furnished by Mexico alone.[18]

It appears from these data that the exhaustion of the mines of Mexico is
contradicted by the geognostic facts of the country, and as we shall
hereafter show, by the recent issues of Mexican mints. The mint of
Zacatecas, alone, during the revolutionary epoch, from 1811 to 1833,
struck more than $66,332,766, and, in the eleven last years of this
period, from four to five millions of dollars were coined by it every
year uninterruptedly.

The general metallic production of the country,--which was of course
impeded by the revolutionary state of New Spain between 1809 and
1826,--has arisen refreshed from its slumber, so that, according to the
best accounts it has ascended to perhaps twenty millions annually in
total production, in consequence of the prolific yield of the workings
at Fresnillo, Chihuahua, and Sonora, independent of the abundant
production at Zacatecas.

The Mexican mines were eagerly and even madly seized by the English, and
even by the people of the United States, as objects of splendid
speculation, as soon as the country became settled; but, in consequence
of bad management, or the wild spirit of gambling which assumed the
place of prudent commercial enterprise, the holders of stock were either
disappointed or sometimes ruined. Subsequently, however, the proprietors
have learned that prudence and the experience of old Mexican miners was
better than the theoretical principles upon which they designed
producing larger revenues than had ever been obtained by the original
Spanish workmen. Their imported modern machinery and engines for voiding
water from the shafts and galleries is the chief beneficial improvement
introduced since the revolution; but the enormous cost of transporting
the heavy materials, in a country where there are no navigable rivers
extending into the heart of the land, and where the usual mode of
carriage is on the backs of mules, by wretched roads over mountains and
through ravines, has often absorbed large portions of the original
capital before the proprietors even began to employ laborers to set up
their foreign engines. Many of the first British and American
adventurers or speculators have, thus, been ruined by unskilful
enterprises in Mexican mines. Their successors, however, are beginning
to reap the beneficial results of this expenditure, and, throughout the
republic steam engines, together with the best kinds of hydraulic
apparatus, have superseded the Spanish _malacates_.

"Whenever these superb countries which are so greatly favored by
nature," says Humboldt, in his essay on gold and silver, in the Journal
des Economistes, "shall enjoy perfect peace after their deep and
prolonged internal agitations, new metallic deposites will necessarily
be opened and developed. In what region of the globe, except America,
can be cited such abundant examples of wealth, in _silver_? Let it not
be forgotten that near Sombrerete, where mines were opened as far back
as 1555, the family of Fagoaga,--Marquesses de Apartado,--derived, in
the short space of _five months_, from a front of one hundred and two
feet in the outcropping of a silver mine, a net profit of $4,000,000;
while, in the mining district of Catorce, in the space of two years and
a half, between 1781 and the end of 1783, an ecclesiastic, named Juan
Flores, gained $3,500,000, on ground full of chloride of silver and of

One of the most flourishing establishments in 1842, was the
Zacatecano-Mejicano Mining Company of Fresnillo. Its 120 shares, which
originally cost $22,800, were still held by Spaniards and Mexicans.
These mines were originally wrought by the state of Zacatecas; but, in
1836, Santa Anna took possession, by an alleged right of conquest, and
rented them for twelve years, to the successful company. In the first
half year of 1841, they produced $1,025,113, at a cost of $761,800, or a
clear profit of $263,313.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mexico, under the colonial system with the immense product of her mines,
and notwithstanding the richness of her soil for agricultural purposes,
became almost entirely a silver producing country. The policy of Spain
was, as we have already often stated, to be the workshop of the New
World, while Mexico and Peru were the treasures of the Old. The
consequence of this was natural. Mexico, one of the finest agricultural
and grazing lands in the world, but with no temptations to export her
natural products, as she had no markets for them elsewhere, and no
roads, canals, or rivers to convey her products to seaports for shipment
even if she had possessed consumers in Europe, at once devoted herself
to her mines which were to be both wealth and the representatives of
wealth. Her agriculture, accordingly, assumed the standard of the mere
national home consumption, while the pastoral and horticultural
interests followed the same line, except perhaps, within late years in
California, where a profitable trade was carried on by the missions in
hides and tallow. From this restrictive law of exportation we of course
except vainilla, cochineal and a few other minor articles.

The sources of the wealth of the principal families of Mexico will
consequently be found in her mines, and an interesting summary of this
aristocracy is given by Mr. Ward in his "Mexico in 1827," to prove the
fact. The family of Regla, which possessed large estates in various
parts of the country, purchased the whole of them with the proceeds of
the mines of Real del Monte. The wealth of the Fagoagas was derived from
the great Bonanza of the Pavellon at Sombrerete. The mines of Balaños
founded the Vibancos. Valenciana, Ruhl, Perez-Galvez, and Otero, are all
indebted for their possessions to the mines of Valenciana and
Villalpando, at Guanajuato. The family of Sardaneta,--formerly Marqueses
de Rayas,--took its rise from the mine of that name. Cata and Mellado
enriched their original proprietor, Don Francisco Matias de Busto,
Marquis of San Clemente. The three successive fortunes of the celebrated
Laborde, of whom we shall speak hereafter when we describe Cuernavaca,
were derived from the mines of Quebradilla, and San Acasio at
Zacatecas, and from the Cañada which bore his name at Tlalpujahua. The
beautiful estates of the Obregones, near Leon, were purchased with the
revenues of the mines of La Purisima and Concepcion, at Catorce; as was
also the estate of Malpasso acquired by the Gordoas from the products of
La Luz. The Zambranos,--discoverers of Guarisamey,--owned many of the
finest properties in Durango; while Batopillas gave the Bustamantes the
opportunity to purchase a title and to enjoy an immense unencumbered

Nevertheless, some of the large fortunes of Mexico were made either by
trade or the possession of vast agricultural and cattle estates in
sections of the country where there were either no mines, or where
mining was unprofitable. The Agredas were enriched by commerce, while
the descendants of Cortéz who received a royal grant of the valley of
Oajaca, together with some Spanish merchants in Jalapa and Vera Cruz,
derived the chief part of their fortunes from landed estates, cultivated
carefully during the period when the Indians were under better
agricultural subjection than at present.

Thus the mines, and the mining districts, by aggregating a large
laboring population, in a country in which there were, until recently,
but few manufactures, and in which the main body of the people engaged
either in trades or in tending cattle, became the centre of some of the
most active agricultural districts. "The most fertile portions of the
table land are the Baxio, which is immediately contiguous to Guanajuato,
and comprises a portion of Valladolid, Guadalajara, Queretaro, and
Guanajuato. The valley of Toluca, and the southern part of the state of
Valladolid, both supply the capital and the mining districts of
Tlalpujahua, El Oro, Temascaltepec and Angangeo;--the plains of Pachuca
and Appam, which extend on either side to the foot of the mountains upon
which the mines of Real del Monte Chico are situated;--Itzmiquilpan,
which owes its existence to Zimapan;--Aguas Calientes, by which the
great mining town of Zacatecas is supplied;--a considerable circle in
the vicinity of Sombrerete and Fresnillo;--the valley of Jarral and the
plains about San Luis Potosi, which town again derives its name from the
mines of the Cerro de San Pedro, about four leagues from the gates, the
supposed superiority of which to the celebrated mines of Potosi in Peru
gave rise to the appellation of Potosi. A little farther north we find
the district of Matehuala, now a thriving town with more than seven
thousand inhabitants, created by the discovery of Catorce, while about
the same time, in the latter part of the last century, Durango rose into
importance from the impulse given to the surrounding country by the
labors of Zambrano at San Dimas and Guarisamey. Its population increased
in twelve years from eight to twenty thousand; while whole streets and
squares were added to its extent by the munificence of that fortunate
miner. To the extreme north, Santa Eulalia gave rise to the town of
Chihuahua; Batopilas and El Parral became each the centre of a little
circle of cultivation; Jesus Maria produced a similar effect; Mapimi,
Cuencame, and Inde, a little more to the southward, served to develope
the natural fertility of the banks of the river Nazas; while in the low
hot regions of Sonora and Sinaloa, on the western coast, almost every
place designated on the map as a town, was originally and generally is
still a Real, or district for mines."[20]

Such is the case with a multitude of other mines which have formed the
_nucleii_ of population in Mexico. They created a market. The men who
were at work in the vein, required the labor of men on the surface, for
their support and maintenance. Nor was it food alone, that these
laborers demanded. All kinds of artizans were wanted, and consequently,
towns as well as farms grew upon every side. When these mining
_dependencies_ are once formed, as Baron Humboldt justly says, they
often survive the mines that gave them birth; and turn to agricultural
labors for the supply of other districts that industry which was
formerly devoted solely to their own region.

Such are some of the internal advantages to be derived from mining in
Mexico, especially when the mines are well and scientifically wrought,
and when the miners are kept in proper order, well paid, and
consequently enabled to purchase the best supplies in the neighboring
markets. The mines are, in fact, to Mexico, what the manufacturing
districts are to England and the United States; and they must be
considered the great support of the national agricultural interests
until Mexico becomes a commercial power, and sends abroad other articles
besides silver, cochineal and vainilla,--the two last of which may be
regarded as her monopolies. The operation of this tempting character of
_mines_ or of the money they create as well as circulate, is exhibited
very remarkably in the rapidity with which the shores of California have
been covered with towns and filled with industrious population.

The tabular statement on the next page manifests the relative
production, and improving or decreasing productiveness, of the several
silver districts of Mexico, during the comparatively pacific period of
ten years antecedent to the war with the United States which commenced
in 1846. Whilst that contest lasted the agricultural and mineral
interests and industry of the country of course suffered, and,
consequently, it would be unfair to calculate the metallic yield of
Mexico upon the basis of that epoch or of the years immediately

From the table it will be seen--omitting the fractions of dollars and of
marks of silver--that the whole tax collected during these ten years
from 1835 to 1844, amounted to $1,988,799, imposed on 15,911,194 marks
of silver, the value of which was $131,267,354;--the mean yield of _tax_
being $198,889, and of the _silver_, 1,591,119, in _marks_, which,
estimated at the rate of eight dollars and a quarter, _per_ mark,
amounts to $13,126,735 annually.

Comparing the first and second periods of five years, we find a
difference in the tax in favor of the latter, of $113,130, on 905,042
marks of silver; showing that in the latter period $7,466,596 more were
extracted from the Mexican mines than during the former.

If we adopt the decimal basis of calculation the returns show,
_approximately_, the following results for relative productiveness:

  In Zacatecas,                    33-2/32  per ct.
  Guanajuato,                      21-12/32  "  "
  San Luis Potosi,                  7-22/32  "  "
  Pachuca,                          6-24/32  "  "
  Guadalajara,                      5-4/32   "  "
  Mexico,                           4-26/32  "  "
  Durango,                          4-18/32  "  "
  Guadalupe y Calvo,                3-24/32  "  "
  Chihuahua y Jesus Maria,          4-18/32  "  "
  In Rosario, Cosala and Mazatlan,  2-26/32 per ct.
  Sombrerete,                       2-22/32  "  "
  Parral,                           1-6/32   "  "
  Zimapan,                            28/32  "  "
  Alamos,                             27/32  "  "
  Hermosillo,                         26/32  "  "
  Oajaca,                             2/32   "  "
  Tasco,                              1/32   "  "

These statements do not include the precious metals produced in Mexico,
which were either clandestinely disposed of or used in the manufacture
of articles of luxury.[21]

  |                                                                                                                                                    |
  |         _TABLE exhibiting the places and the amount of Tax collected at each, on every mark of silver, during the ten years from 1835 to 1844,     |
  |                     designed to show the relative productiveness of the various silver districts throughout the Mexican Republic._                 |
  |                                                                                                                                                    |
  |Places where the  |Product of the tax   | Product of the tax   | Increase of yield  |Decrease of yield  | Value of total    | Mean annual product   |
  |impost or tax has |from 1835 to 1839,   | from 1840 to 1844,   | of tax during the  |of tax during the  | silver product in | of silver in dollars, |
  |been collected.   |both inclusive.      | both inclusive.      | last five years.   |last four years.   | dollars, 8-1/4    | at 8-1/4 per mark.    |
  |                  |                     |                      |                    |                   | per mark.         |                       |
  |                  |                     |                      |                    |                   |                   |                       |
  |Zacatecas........ |$350,715..7.. 9      |  $306,620..5.. 1     | ...................|$44,095..2.. 8     | $43,384,215..7..0 | $4,338,421..4.. 8..  4|
  |Guanajuato....... | 197,423..5.. 2      |   228,498..1.. 2     | $31,074..4.. 0 ....|...................|  28,110,838..2..0 |  2,811,083..6.. 7..  2|
  |San Luis Potosi.. |  75,682..7.. 7      |    77,373..2..11-5/10|   1,690..3.. 4-5/10|...................|  10,101,716..7..9 |  1,010,171..5.. 6..  9|
  |Pachuca.......... |  58,805..1.. 4      |    75,654..4..10-5/10|  16,849..3.. 6 5/10|...................|   8,874,345..1..9 |    887,434..4.. 2..  1|
  |Guadalajara...... |  41,520..4.. 7      |    60,067..3.. 0-5/10|  18,546..6.. 5-5/10|...................|   6,704,804..7..3 |    670,480..3..11..  1|
  |Mexico........... |  31,841..2.. 0      |    63,472..2.. 1     |  31,631..0.. 1     |...................|   6,290,691..5..6 |    629,069..1.. 4..  2|
  |Durango.......... |  49,416..0.. 9      |    40,668..6.. 6     | ...................|  8,747..2.. 3     |   5,945,603..6..6 |    594,560..3.. 0..  6|
  |Guadalupe y Calvo |  10,328..5.. 5-5/10 |    63,733..0.. 6-5/10|  53,404..3.. 1     |...................|   4,888,075..4..0 |    488,807..4.. 4..  8|
  |Sombrerete....... |  32,405..6.. 3      |    19,385..6.. 4     | ...................| 13,019..7..11     |   3,418,243..6..6 |    341,824..3.. 0..  6|
  |Chihuahua........ |  23,293..5.. 9      |    19,940..0.. 7     | ...................|  3,353..5.. 2     |   2,853,430..2..0 |    285,343..0.. 2..  4|
  |Cosala........... |  24,073..7.. 1      |    15,980..1.. 2     | ...................|  8,093..5..11     |   2,643,566..0..6 |    264,356..4..10..  2|
  |Jesus Maria...... |   8,379..2.. 1-5/10 |    19,502..0..11-5/10|  11,122..6..10-1/10|...................|   1,840,171..4..1 |    184,017..1.. 2.. 51|
  |Parral........... |  13,258..6..11-5/10 |    10,716..3.. 9     | ...................|  2,542..3.. 2-5/10|   1,582,372..2..9 |    158,237..1..10..  5|
  |Zimapan.......... |   8,523..6.. 4      |     9,279..7.. 4     |     756..1.. 0     |...................|   1,175,044..6..0 |    117,504..3.. 9..  6|
  |Alamos........... |.................... |    16,806..6.. 2-5/10|  16,806..6.. 2-5/10|...................|   1,109,247..1..9 |    110,924..5.. 9..  3|
  |Hermosillo....... |   5,773..0.. 3      |    10,275..0.. 1     |   4,501..7..10     |...................|   1,059,170..6..0 |    105,917..0.. 7..  2|
  |Rosario.......... |   2,517..2.. 4      |     8,939..4.. 3     |   6,422..1..11     |...................|     756,150..2..6 |     75,615..0.. 3..  0|
  |Mazatlan......... |.................... |     4,100..5.. 4     |   4,100..5.. 4     |...................|     270,644..0..0 |     27,064..3.. 2..  4|
  |Oajaca........... |   2,450..3.. 8      | .....................| ...................|  2,450..3.. 8     |     161,730..2..0 |     16,173..0.. 2..  4|
  |Tasco............ |   1,474..0..10      | .....................| ...................|  1,474..0..10     |      97,290..7..0 |      9,729..0.. 8..  4|
  |                  |                     |                      |                    |                   |                   |                       |
  |Totals........... |$937,884..4.. 2-3/10 |$1,051,914..6.. 3-1/10|$196,907..1.. 8-1/10|$83,776..7.. 7-5/10|$131,267,354..2..10|$13,126,735..3.. 5.. 81|
  |                  |                     |                      |                    |                   |                   |                       |
  |Deduct decrease................................................|  83,776..7.. 7-5/10|                                                               |
  |                                                               |____________________|   See table No. 1, in the Report of the Mexican Minister of   |
  |Difference in favor of increased yield of tax (and of course   |                    |     Foreign and Domestic Relations, for 1846.                 |
  |  of production) during the last period of five years..........|$113,130..2.. 0     |                                                               |


     Comprised in four sections: 1st, coinage of gold and silver from
     1690 to 1821; 2d, from 1822 to 1829; 3d, from 1830 to 1844; and
     4th, coinage of copper only.

  1690 to 1822, or, in 132 years, in silver,           $1,574,931,650..1..10
  1733 to 1822,                      gold,                 60,018,880..0..00
  1822 to 1829,                      silver,               23,179,384..3..03
   "       "                         gold,                  4,392,502..0..00
  1830 to 1844,                      silver,               18,829,250..4..02
   "       "                         gold,                  1,430,258..0..00
  1814 to 1844,                      copper,                5,323,765..0..09
                      Total,                           $1,688,105,960..2..00

  From this must be deducted on account of
    recoinage, &c. &c., according to statement
    of the mint,                                           12,195,941..0..00

  And to this last sum must be added for
    _gold_ coinage from 1609 to 1732, not included
    in the previous statement,                             24,237,766..0..00

  Total coinage of mint in the city of Mexico
    to 1844,                                           $1,700,147,515..1..08

  From 1535 to 1690--it is estimated that
    there were coined in the mint of Mexico

        Gold,                                                   $ 31,000,000
        Silver,                                                  620,000,000
                        Total,                                   651,000,000
  Add the preceding result from 1690 to 1844,                  1,700,147,515
  Total coinage in mint of city of Mexico
  from 1535 to 1844,                                          $2,351,147,515


     Comprised in three sections: 1st, coinage of silver 1811 to 1814;
     2d, of silver and gold from 1832 to 1844; 3d, of copper only.

  1811 to 1814,                      silver,               $3,603,660..0..00
  1832 to 1844,                        "                    3,026,215..3..08
   "        "                        gold,                    368,248..0..00
  1833 to 1835,                      copper,                   50,428..5..00
                  Total,                               [22]$7,048,552..0..08


     Comprised in two sections: 1st, coinage, from 1811 to 1829; and 2d,
     1830 to 1844.

  1811 to 1829,                      silver,             $10,046,503..4..00
  1830 to 1844,                        "                  11,769,410..3..09
  1830 to 1844,                      gold,                 1,986,069..3..06
                  Total,                                 $23,801,983..3..03


     Comprised in four sections: 1st, coinage of silver and gold from
     1812 to 1821; 2d, ditto from 1822 to 1829; 3d, ditto 1830 to 1844;
     4th, of copper.

  1812 to 1821,                      silver,              $2,058,388..2..03
    "       "                        gold,                    61,581..1..03
  1822 to 1829,                      silver,               5,619,384..4..00
    "      "                         gold,                   182,242..4..00
  1830 to 1844,                      silver,              10,162,947..4..06
    "      "                         gold,                   120,805..5..01
  1831 to 1836,                      copper,                  61,217..4..06
                  Total,                                 $18,266,567..1..07


     Established by a grant of congress in 1840, but only commenced its
     operations in 1844.

  1844,                              silver,                       $338,124
    "                                gold,                           95,004
                  Total,                                           $433,128


     Comprised in three sections: 1st, coinage from 1812 to 1821; 2d,
     silver and gold from 1822 to 1829; 3d, ditto from 1830 to 1844.

  1812 to 1821,                      silver,               $ 602,575..0..00
  1822 to 1829,                        "                   7,652,816..5..00
    "       "                        gold,                   142,520..0..00
  1830 to 1844,                      silver,              42,742,850..0..00
    "      "                         gold,                 4,228,180..0..00
                  Total,                                 $55,368,941..5..00


  1810 to 1812 inclusive,  coined in silver,              $1,561,249..2..00


     Comprised in three sections: 1st, coinage from 1827 to 1829; 2d,
     from 1830 to 1844; and 3d, copper.

  1827 to 1829,     silver,      $ 2,951,418..0..00
  1830 to 1844,       "           15,580,010..2..00
  1827 to 1835,     copper,           23,517..3..00
              Total,             $18,554,945..5..00


  1828, 1829 and part of 1830, coined in silver,  $959,116..7..00
    "                            "        gold,    203,544..0..00
                        Total,                  $1,162,660..7..00


     Comprised in four sections: 1st, coinage from 14th of November,
     1810 to 1820; 2d, from 1821 to 1829; 3d, from 1830 to 1844; and
     4th, copper.

  1810 to 1820,     silver,     $14,450,943..6..00
  1821 to 1829,        "         31,838,470..4..00
  1830 to 1844,        "         74,085,951..7..00
  1821 to 1829,     copper,         107,949..4..00
              Total,           $120,483,315..5..00

_TABLE of the Gold and Silver coined in the eight Mints of the Mexican
Republic from 1st January, 1844, to 1st January, 1845, according to
official reports._

                     |                |                   |
     MINTS.          |     GOLD.      |     SILVER.       |     TOTAL.
                     |                |                   |
  Chihuahua          | $61,632..0..0  |  $290,000..0..0   |    $351,632..0..0
  Durango            |  27,508..0..0  |   213,362..3..0   |     240,870..3..0
  Guadalajara        |   5,282..5..1  |   950,032..6..3   |     955,315..3..4
  Guadalupe y Calvo  |  95,004..0..0  |   338,124..0..0   |     433,128..0..0
  Guanajuato         | 441,808..0..0  | 4,219,900..0..0   |   4,661,708..0..0
  Mexico             |  36,172..0..0  | 1,688,156..4..8   |   1,724,328..4..8
  San Luis Potosi    |                |   936,525..5..0   |     936,525..5..0
  Zacatécas          |                | 4,429,353..4..0   |   4,429,353..4..0
                     |                |                   |
                     |                |                   |
      Totals         | $667,406..5..1 | 13,065,454..6..11 | $13,732,861..4..0
                     |                |                   |

_COINAGE of Mexico from 1535 to 1849, inclusive, omitting the fractions
of a dollar._

                        |              |            |          |
       MINTS.           |    SILVER.   |    GOLD.   | COPPER.  |    TOTAL.
                        |              |            |          |
    1535 to 1690.       |              |            |          |
  City of Mexico        |  $620,000,000| $31,000,000|          |  $651,000,000
                        |              |            |          |
    1690 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  City of Mexico        | 1,606,225,922|  88,597,827|$5,323,765| 1,700,147,514
                        |              |            |          |
    1811 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  Chihuahua             |     6,629,875|     368,248|    50,428|     7,048,551
                        |              |            |          |
    1811 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  Durango               |    21,815,913|   1,986,069|          |    23,801,982
                        |              |            |          |
    1812 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  Guadalajara           |    17,840,720|     364,629|    61,217|    18,266,566
                        |              |            |          |
    1844.               |              |            |          |
  Guadalupe y Calvo     |       338,124|      95,004|          |       433,128
                        |              |            |          |
    1812 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  Guanajuato            |    50,998,241|   4,370,700|          |    55,368,941
                        |              |            |          |
    1827 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  San Luis Potosi       |    18,531,428|            |    23,517|    18,554,945
                        |              |            |          |
  1810, 1811, and 1812. |              |            |          |
  Sombrerete            |     1,561,249|            |          |     1,561,249
                        |              |            |          |
  1828, 1829, and 1830. |              |            |          |
  Tlalpam               |       959,116|     203,544|          |     1,162,660
                        |              |            |          |
    1810 to 1844.       |              |            |          |
  Zacatecas             |   120,375,366|            |   107,949|   120,483,315
                        |              |            |          |
  All the Mexican      }|              |            |          |
  mints, from the end  }|              |            |          |
  of 1844 to the end   }|              |            |          |
  of 1849, at the rate }|              |            |          |    70,000,000
  of $14,000,000 per   }|              |            |          |
  annum, which was     }|              |            |          |
  the approximate total}|              |            |          |
  coinage in 1844[23]  }|              |            |          |
                        |              |            |          |
  Totals                |$2,465,275,954|$126,986,021|$5,566,876|$2,667,828,851
                        |              |            |          |


  Silver coinage from 1535 to 1844, inclusive      $2,465,275,954
  Gold        do      1535 to 1844,    do             126,986,021
  Copper      do      1811 to 1844,    do               5,566,876
  General coinage, from 1845 to 1849, both inclusive   70,000,000
  Total coinage of Mexico to present time, or in
    314 years                                      $2,667,828,851

Or, avoiding fractions, nearly $8,500,000 yearly.




In order to exhibit a connected and comparative view of the financial
and commercial condition of Mexico, we have assembled in this section a
number of tables which exhibit, at a glance, the state of New Spain in
relation to her mines, agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and the
income and expenses of the viceroyalty in 1809.


1st. INCOME.

  Branches of income.                 Clear product in dollars.

  Duties on assay,                                $72,506
    "    on gold and bullion,                      24,908
    "    on silver,                             2,086,565
    "    on vajilla,                               25,716
  Coining of gold and silver,                   1,628,259
  Tributes,                                     1,159,951
  Taxes, (alcabalas)                            2,644,618
  Pulque, (a national beverage made of aloe,)     750,462
  Powder,                                         370,829
  Lotteries,                                      109,002
  Novenos,                                        192,333
  Saleable and remisable offices,                  27,106
  Stamped paper,                                   64,900
  Medias anatas,                                   37,338
  Chancery,                                         1,035
  Cock fights,                                     33,322
  Liquor shops,                                    22,883
  Ice,                                             31,814
  Salt works and duties on salt,                  132,982
  Licenses for ballast in Vera Cruz,                   29
  Bakeries, liquor shops in do.                    11,989
  Fortifications,                                   8,003
  Donations,                                        1,480
     do.    for war purposes,                     646,459
  Caldos,                                          36,181
  Dyes and vainilla,                               45,740
  Almojarifazgos,                                 275,894
  Aprovechamientos,                                57,967
  Small incomes,                                   76,151
  Balances of accounts,                            24,989
  Bulls of Santa Cruzada, (Roman Catholic,)       271,828
  Ecclesiastical tithes,                           30,320
      do.        subsidies,                         4,686
  Medias anatas y mesadas id,                      50,540
  Vacantes mayores y menores,                     112,733
  Spanish quicksilver,                            474,722
  German        "                                  42,583
  Freight of quicksilver,                           2,757
  Cards,                                          148,861
  Tobacco,                                      3,927,822
  4 per cent. of salary of employés,               25,632
                          Gross income,       $15,693,895

  From this should be deducted for salaries and}
    expenses of administration,        $596,260}   1,244,199
  For donations received this year, but which  }
    should not be counted as income,   $647,939}
                          Net income,            $14,449,696


  Expenses of fortification,                           $800,000

  Pay of army, veteran troops, arsenal of San Blas,}
  powder factories and other expenses,             } $3,000,000
  Pay of Oidores, and other persons employed in judicial}
    functions and measures for the conversion of        }  250,000
    the Indians,                                        }
  Pensions,                                                200,000
  Hospital expenses, repairs of factories,                 400,800
  Return of imposts,                                     1,496,000
  Amount of Income,   $14,449,696
    "    "  Expenses,   6,146,800
  Balance,             $8,302,896

This was then the clear income of Mexico in the year 1809. The same
amount may be considered as the usual yearly revenue from the close of
the eighteenth century, and if we deduct a half of this sum as being
afterwards expended on this side of the Atlantic, it may be calculated
that about four millions of dollars were transmitted to Spain annually.


In order to judge what regions of New Spain were most productive in
mineral wealth and their relative productiveness, we will insert the
value of the royal dues upon silver, amounting in all to the rate of
10-1/2 _per cent._ in 1795, in which year $24,593,481 were coined in
gold and silver at the Mexican mint.

  San Luis Potosi,  96,000 }
  Zacatecas,        69,000 }
  Guanajuato,       67,000 }
  Rosario,          45,000 } Marks of silver,--which
  Bolaños,          41,000 } may be estimated
  Mexico,           36,000 } at eight dollars
  Guadalajara,      19,000 } and a quarter
  Durango,          33,000 } per mark.
  Zimapan,          10,000 }
  Sombrerete,        7,000 }
  Chihuahua,         7,000 }

All the mines in the Spanish possessions consumed annually 30,000
quintals of quicksilver, which, at the rate of $50, (at which they might
be calculated, on an average of years,) amounts to a million and a half.

When fifteen millions were annually coined the king received 6 per ct.
upon that sum; and when the amount exceeded 18 millions, scarcely 7.
This difference was owing to the rules and system of the mint, in which
there were the same expenses in coining from twenty to twenty-four
millions that were incurred in coining fifteen millions. In 1809
$26,172,982 were issued, in gold and silver, from the Mexican mint, and
this, with the exception of 1804 and 1805, is the largest amount of
coinage either under the Viceroyal or Republican government.


  Veteran troops,                                      7,083
  Garrison troops and viceroyal guards,                  595
  Garrison troops and guards. Internal provinces,      3,099
  Provincial militia,                                 18,884

  The maintenance of these cost annually,                 $1,800,000
  The fort of St. Carlos at Peroté absorbed,                 200,000
  Costs of fortifications and casual expenses,             2,000,000


This branch of industry produced a sum equal to the mines; that is to
say--from twenty-two to twenty-four millions. The following calculation
is founded upon the basis of the _diezmos_ or tithes of the several
bishoprics, which may be regarded as the best territorial measure.

  Bishoprics.       Product of Agriculture in 1790.      Diezmos.
  Mexico,                  $8,500,000                    850,000
  Puebla,                   4,400,000                    440,000
  Valladolid,               4,000,000                    400,000
  Oajaca,                   1,000,000                    100,000
  Guadalajara,              3,400,000                    340,000
  Durango,                  1,200,000                    120,000
                          -----------                  ---------
  In 6 Bishoprics,        $22,500,000                  2,250,000


The cotton and woollen factories, of the most important and extensive
character, were those of Puebla and of Queretaro. In the latter place,
in twenty factories, and 300 small establishments, 46,000 arrobas of
wool were consumed, out of which 6,000 pieces of cloth, or, 226,000
varas (yards);--280 pieces of _jerguetilla_ or 39,000 yards
(varas);--200 pieces of baize, or, 15,000 varas; 161 pieces of baizes
and coarse woollens, or, 18,000 varas; the value of all which
manufactures exceeded $600,000. In Queretaro there were moreover
consumed 200,000 lbs. of cotton in the manufacture of cotton stuffs and
rebosos, or shawls usually worn by the women throughout Mexico. The
factories in the Intendency of Puebla, comprehended in that city,
Cholula, Tlascala and Guejocingo, produced fabrics, in peaceful times,
to the value of a million and a half of dollars. Besides these there
were other factories in various parts of the country.


  The imports through Vera Cruz, before the war, averaging
    one year with another, exceeded,                   $19,000,000
  The exports, inclusive of silver,                     21,000,000
  Difference in favor of exports,                        2,000,000
  Total of mercantile exchanges,                        40,000,000

  The above exportations may be divided into--
       Silver,                                         $14,000,000
       Agricultural products,                            7,000,000


                  Weight in arrobas.       Value in dollars

  Cochineal,            24,500                  $1,715,000
  Sugar,               500,000                   1,500,000
  Vainilla,                                         60,000
  Indigo,               60,000                   2,700,000
  Sarsaparilla,         20,000                      90,000
  Pepper from Tabasco,  24,000                      40,000
  Flour,                                           500,000
  Tanned leather,                                   80,000
  Sundries,                                        315,000
  Add export of precious metals,                14,000,000


  Wine,             25 to 30,000 barrels       $1,000,000
  Paper,                 125,000 reams,           375,000
  Cinnamon,              100,000 lbs.             400,000
  Brandy,                 32,000 barrels,       1,000,000
  Saffron,                17,000 lbs.             350,000
  Iron,                   50,000 quintals,        600,000
  Steel,                   6,000    "             110,000
  Wax,                    26,000 arrobas,         500,000
  Cacao,                  20,000 fanegas,       1,100,000
  Clothing, hardware and other manufactures,   14,000,000

From a statement published by the Consulado of Vera Cruz it appears that
the IMPORTATION FROM SPAIN in 1802 was as follows:--

  In national vessels,     $11,539,219 }
                                       }    $19,600,000
  In foreign     "           8,060,781 }

  EXPORTATION in the same year,              33,866,219
  Difference in favor of exports,           $14,266,219
  Commerce of the metropolis,               $53,466,219
  Importation from America,                  $1,607,792
  Exportation for     "                       4,581,148
  General importation                       $21,207,792
  General exportation,                       38,447,367
  Total trade of Vera Cruz in 1802,         $59,655,159[24]

From this view of the anti-revolutionary condition of Mexican commerce
and financial interests, we pass properly to the examination of the same
affairs at the present day. In order to judge this subject fairly,
however, we have adopted the commercial standard of the year preceding
the war with the United States. During and since that period, the
commercial results of the country must naturally have been so greatly
disturbed as to afford altogether inadequate tests.


Imports and exports of the Mexican republic for the year ending on the
1st of January, 1845, calculated on the duties collected at the maritime
and frontier custom houses.


                                                         Capital or value of
                                                          imported articles to
                                                          which these duties
     Duties according to tariff.       Duties collected.   correspond.

  At 40 per ct., there were collected,     $   200..45      $       501..12
   " 30     "            "        "      5,999,282..87       19,997,609..56
   " 30     " provisions,                   14,592..98           48,643..26
   " 30     " timber,                        3,539..49           11.774..96
   " 25     "                              152,916..18          611,664..72
   " 12-1/2 "                                6,190..11           49,520..83
   " 6      " jewelry,                       1,171..22           19,520..33
    30      " advanced to the treasury
  for permission to import 20,000
  quintals of cotton,                      120,000..00          400,000..00
                                        --------------      ---------------
                                        $6,297,886..30      $21,139,234..83
                                        ==============      ===============


                                                         Value of exports to
                                         Export           which these duties
     Duties according to tariff.     duties collected.    correspond.

  At 6 per cent., on export of gold and
                  silver coin,         $524,349..63-1/2      $8,739,160..58
  " 3-1/2  "   on silver coin,                2..08                  59..42
  " 5      "   on uncoined silver,       22,949..23             458,984..45
  " 7      "   in Vera Cruz on ditto,    12,687..60             181,251..42
  " 7-1/2  "   in Mazatlan    "         103,636..81           1,381,824..13
  " 9      "   at  do.  on gold,         14,479..14-1/2         160,879..39
  " 9-1/2  "   on silver,                    48..59                 511..39
  " 6-1/2  "   on wrought gold,              22..36                 344..00
  " 7      "   on wrought silver,           658..11               9,401..57
  " 6      "   on dye wood,               6,025..14             100,419..00


  Export of money,                     $524,351..71-1/2      $8,739,220..00
    " of uncoined gold and silver,      153,801..37-1/2       2,183,450..79
    " of wrought gold and silver,         6,680..47               9,745..57
                                       ----------------     ---------------
  Total export of the precious metals, $678,833..56         $10,932,416..36
  Export of dye woods,                    6,025..14             100,419..00
                                       ----------------     ---------------
         Total,                        $684,858..70         $11,032,835..36
                                       ================     ===============


  Value of the imports into the republic,        $21,139,234..83
    "     "    exports from the republic,         11,032,835..36
  Excess of imports above exports,               $10,106,399..47


                                     Duties.      Value of Articles.
  Imports,                        $6,297,686..30   $21,139,234..86
  Deduct $557,76..16 charged to the
    Vera Cruz custom house for income
    of previous years not collected
    in 1844, and which sum
    is calculated on 30 per cent.
    duties,                          557,767..16     1,859,223..86
                                  --------------   ---------------
                                  $5,739,919..14   $19,280,011..00
  Value of exports deducted,                        11,032,835..36
  Effective excess of imports in 1844,              $8,247,175..64


  There were coined in the Mexican mints in 1844,  $13,732,861..04
  There were exported in money,                      8,739,220..00
  Difference in favor of the mint,                  $4,993,641..04

As the commercial relations of the United States with Mexico, of course
concern us most intimately, and are those in which we take the deepest
interest, we have formed from official data in the reports of our
Secretaries of the Treasury the following table of our mercantile
intercourse from 1829 to 1849:


                                   Imports from Mexico.  Exports to Mexico.
  For year ending 30th Sept., 1829     $5,026,761         $2,331,151
     "        "       "       1830      5,235,241          4,837,458
     "        "       "       1832      4,293,954          3,467,541
     "        "       "       1833      5,452,818          5,408,091
     "        "       "       1834      8,066,068          5,265,053
     "        "       "       1835      9,490,446          9,029,221
     "        "       "       1836      5,615,819          6,041,635
     "        "       "       1837      5,654,002          3,880,323
     "        "       "       1838      3,127,153          2,787,362
     "        "       "       1839      3,500,707          2,164,097
     "        "       "       1840      4,175,001          2,515,341
     "        "       "       1841      3,484,957          2,036,620
     "        "       "       1842      1,996,694          1,534,233
  Last quarter of '42 and
  first two quarters of       1843      2,782,406          1,471,937
  For year ending 30th June,  1844      2,387,002          1,794,833
     "         "        "     1845      1,702,936          1,152,331
     " war year,        "     1846      1,836,621          1,531,180
     " war year,        "     1847        481,749            238,004
     "         "        "     1848      1,581,247          4,054,452

By this table, covering the commerce between the United States and
Mexico for nineteen years, we observe that from having a trade worth,
_in imports and exports_, about nineteen millions and a half, in 1835,
it is now reduced, in years undisturbed by war or the results of war, to
not more than two millions and a half or three millions. As commerce
usually regulates itself, in spite of personal or national prejudices,
this fact is doubtless attributable to the lower rates at which European
manufacturers and producers are enabled to afford their merchandise in
the Mexican market. Nevertheless, we doubt not that the trade might be
improved considerably by certain modifications of the tariff, especially
upon the article of cotton, which as will be seen in our notices of the
manufacturing establishments of Mexico is largely demanded from abroad
in consequence of the failure from personal causes to produce an
adequate supply within that republic.

The IMPORTS OF MEXICO consist chiefly of the following articles:

LINENS; five-eighths of which are received from Germany, while
three-eighths are of Irish, Dutch, French and North American
manufacture. The German linens are chiefly obtained from Silesia, and
the finest kinds are in great demand.

COTTON goods are imported largely from England, the United States and

The importation of the best qualities of SILKS reaches annually about
one million of dollars in value, and they are the productions of France
and Germany; about three-fourths of the trade, in this article,
belonging exclusively to France.

For her WOOLLEN FABRICS Mexico relies upon England and France, though
Germany participates in the importation of some qualities.

ORNAMENTAL WARES, MILLINERY or articles of personal and fashionable
luxury are obtained from France.

Genoa and Bordeaux furnish PAPER;--GLASSWARE, window glass and looking
glasses are imported from the United States, England and France, but the
finer kinds are exceedingly rare and costly, in consequence of the risk
of transportation through the country by the present imperfect modes of
carriage over bad roads. IRON WARE, of all kinds, and iron machinery for
manufacturing or mining purposes, are imported from the United States,
England, France, Germany and Spain.

QUICKSILVER, one of the most important articles for the miners, is
brought in French and Italian ships from Idria and Almaden. WINE, BRANDY
and GIN are consumed from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal and Holland;
while fine _liqueurs_ are largely imported from France and the Dutch
West Indies.

CACAO is imported from several of the Southern American nations;--OIL
from France, Gibraltar and Genoa;--and WAX, of which about 700,000
dollars worth is annually consumed, is received from the United States
or Cuba. Salted and dried Fish or Flesh is chiefly monopolized by our

The principal EXPORTS from Mexico have always been and still are,
COCHINEAL, and the PRECIOUS METALS in bars and coined. Of the latter of
these native products it is estimated by reliable authorities that one
half is remitted to England and that the balance is divided between the
United States and the continental states of Europe. The greater portion
of silver is exported from Tampico, which is the nearest vent for the
mineral wealth of Guanajuato, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosi, and the
principal mining districts of northern Mexico. Large sums are also sent
from Vera Cruz and from Mazatlan on the western coast, as will be seen
by reference to our tabular statement of the value of exports. In 1845,
before the war with the United States broke out, and when Mexican trade
was in its ordinary condition, ten millions nine hundred and thirty-two
thousand four hundred and sixteen dollars worth of the precious metals,
coined and uncoined, left these several ports through the regular
channels. But as we have no means of exactly estimating the contraband
exportation, which is very large, we may safely calculate that at least
five millions more found their way clandestinely to Europe and the
United States. Of the regular and lawful exportation, eight millions
seven hundred and thirty-nine thousand two hundred and twenty dollars
were coined; two millions one hundred and eighty-three thousand four
hundred and fifty, in uncoined gold and silver; and nine thousand seven
hundred and forty-five, in wrought silver and gold.

The exportation of COCHINEAL is estimated to range from seven hundred
thousand to one million of dollars worth;--and, when we add to these
articles, DYE WOOD, Vainilla, Sarsaparilla, Jalap, Hides, horns, and a
small quantity of Pepper, Indigo, and Coffee, together with an
occasional invoice of sugar sent from the west coast to Columbia and
Peru, we may consider the list of merchantable Mexican exports as
completely ended.

       *       *       *       *       *

In all the Mexican towns and cities, and in many of the large villages
there are weekly markets held at which a considerable trade for the
neighborhood is carried on; and, in addition to these, there are nine
great FAIRS at which immense quantities of foreign manufactures are
disposed of. These are held at the following places and times:

1. The Fair at Aguas Calientes--begins on the 20th of November and lasts
10 days.

2. The Fair at Allende in Chihuahua--begins on the 4th of October, and
lasts 8 days.

3. The Fair at Chilapa in Mexico--begins on the 2d of January, and lasts
8 days.

4. The Fair at Chilpanzingo--begins on the 21st of December, and lasts 8

5. The Fair at Huejutla--begins on the 24th of December, and lasts 4

6. The Fair at Ciudad Guerrero--begins on the 12th of December, and
lasts 6 days.

7. The Fair at Saltillo--begins on the 29th of September, and lasts 8

8. The Fair at San Juan de los Lagos--begins on the 5th of December, and
lasts 8 days.

9. The Fair at Tenancingo--begins on the 6th of February, and lasts 10

It will not be considered singular when we recollect the colonial and
subsequent revolutionary history of Mexico, that she has not fostered
her shipping and become a commercial country. The original emigration to
New Spain was not maritime in its character. The Spanish trade was
carried on by the mother country in Spanish vessels exclusively, and
these ships were not owned by or permitted to become the permanent
property of the colonists. The settlers who emigrated retired from the
coasts to the interior where their interests either in the soil, cities,
or mines, immediately absorbed their attention. It was not to be
expected that the Indians, who could scarcely be converted into
agriculturists, would engage in the more dangerous life of sailors. The
whole industry of the foreign population was thus diverted at once from
the sea board, and the consequence was, that notwithstanding the
territory of New Spain is bounded on the east and west by the two great
oceans of the world, those oceans never became the nurses of a hardy
race of mariners whose labors would, in time, have fostered the internal
productiveness of their country by creating a commerce. We are not
astonished, therefore, to find that the whole marine of Mexico, on the
shores of the Gulf, is confined to a petty coasting trade from port to
port, and that her sea-going people are rather fishermen than sailors.
On the west coast, however, the maritime character of the people has
somewhat improved, and a very considerable trade has been carried on by
Mexican vessels, in native productions, not only with Central America,
Columbia, Peru and Chili, but even with the Sandwich Islands.

The geographical position of Mexico, when considered in connexion with
its agricultural riches and metallic wealth, is perhaps the most
remarkable in the world. A comparatively narrow strip of land,
possessing all the climates of the world, is placed midway between the
two great bodies of the northern and southern continents of America, and
midway, also, between the continents of Europe and Asia. In its central
region it extends only five or six hundred miles from the Atlantic to
the Pacific, while, at its southern end, it is swiftly crossed by means
of its rivers or by railways, which, it is alleged, may be easily
constructed. In the midst of this unrivalled territory, in the lap of
the great plateau or table land, and far removed from unhealthy coasts,
lies the beautiful city of Mexico, a natural focus of commerce, wealth
and civilization. Such a picture of natural advantages cannot but strike
us with admiration and hope. If ever there was a capital destined by
nature to form the centre of a great nation, if not to grasp at least a
large share of the North American, European, South American and Oriental
trade, it unquestionably is the city of Mexico. Raised as she is far
above the level of the sea and inaccessible by rivers, the development
of her destiny may be postponed until genius shall inlay her valleys and
ravines with railways, and thus connect her forever with the two coasts.
But can we doubt that this mechanical miracle will be performed? It is
not for us to say whether it shall be the work of the present
generation, or of the present race in Mexico. It seems to be the law of
nature that nations, like men, must advance or be trodden under foot.
The vast army of industrious mankind is ever marching. Nor can we doubt
that unless Mexico learns wisdom from the past, and, abandoning the
paltry political strife which has hitherto crushed her industrial
energy, follows in the footsteps of modern civilization, her fate will
be sure and speedy. The attention of the world is now riveted upon this
region as the natural mistress of the Atlantic and Pacific. If Mexico
covers the eastern and western slopes of her Cordillera with an
intelligent, progressive and peaceful population, invited from abroad to
amalgamate with her own races under the operation of permanent laws and
wholesome government, the change may be slow and her power may be
preserved. But if she will persist in the mad career of folly which has
characterized her since her independence, she will not be able to resist
the gradual and inevitable encroachments from the north, from Europe,
and from the new establishments which are rapidly growing up on the
Isthmus of Panama. These new foundations, based on the incalculable
wealth of California will be fostered by means hitherto undreamed of in
the wildest commerce of the world, and unless Mexico shall avail herself
of their salutary monitions they will finally absorb both her people and
her nationality.


     NOTE.--In relation to the various modes of transit across the
     Isthmus of Panama or Tehuantepec, we do not deem it advisable to
     offer any speculations, at present, (April, 1850.) When
     _reconnoissances_ of both routes have been completed and published,
     under the sanction of able and disinterested engineers, the world,
     which is so largely concerned in this subject, will be better able
     to decide as to their relative advantages. Both routes may
     ultimately be required, when the augmented commerce of the west
     coast of North and South America and the East Indies demands a
     speedy access to those regions. In the meantime, however, I subjoin
     the following extract from a report made by an officer of our army,
     during the war with Mexico, whilst our forces were still occupying
     the capital, in March, 1848. It apparently demonstrates at least
     the practicability of a railway from Vera Cruz to the valley:

     "Of the different routes proposed, the one following the ridge
     which separates the towns or the two rivers of Tomepa and Obatejua,
     passing near or through the towns or villages of Acanisica, St.
     Bartolomé, St. Martin, Nopalpica, and Tlascala, is not only the
     shortest and most level, but offers the fewest difficulties to
     overcome. This route does not offer the slightest obstruction, with
     the exception of crossing the river San Juan, till you reach the
     Boca del Monte, seventeen leagues from Vera Cruz; thence pursuing
     its course along the sides of the same almost continuous ridge,
     with an ascent of not more than one upon fifty, till you reach the
     deep Barranca of Chichiquila, twenty-three leagues from Vera Cruz;
     the road is thence across the Barranca, on embankments and stone
     walls, the materials for this purpose being plentiful and on the
     ground; the ten leagues from the Barranca of Chichiquila to the
     highest point of elevation, form the most difficult and costly
     section of the road. It must, however, be here taken into
     consideration, that at this very point of the road there are found
     in the immediate vicinity twelve Indian villages, capable of
     furnishing a large number of efficient workmen, who would be
     willing and even anxious to labor at the very low price of 37-1/2
     cents per day, in the most healthy climate of the country.

     "From this point of highest elevation, the route followed, reduces
     the distance to the city of Mexico to 37 leagues--making the whole
     distance from Vera Cruz to the capital not more than 73 leagues.

     "It must be borne in mind, that in making the following estimate,
     we have taken into consideration the extreme low rate of wages in
     the country, as compared with the wages of the journeymen laborers
     in the United States; and this alone must make an immense
     difference in cost of works of the kind executed in Mexico,
     whenever we base our estimates upon the costs of similar works in
     England or in our own country.


  _Section._ _Leagues._                                                              _Dollars._

  1st.     3      Grading from Vera Cruz to the foot of the small ridge of
                    the Molino de Ricato, over a sandy soil, easy to excavate
                    and transport superstructure,                                      125,000

  2d.      2      Whole cost of the two leagues, from the last point to the
                    river San Juan, nearly level ground, including superstructure
                    and a stone bridge across this river,                               95,000

  3d.      12     Twelve leagues from the river San Juan to Boca del
                    Monte,                                                             450,000

  4th.     6-1/2 Six and a half leagues from Boca del Monte to the Barranca
                    of Chichiquila--superstructure,                                    275,000

  5th.     6-1/2 Six and a half leagues across the Barranca of Chichiquila.
                    This section is the most difficult and costly part of the
                    road, and will cost over $300,000 per mile--say, superstructure, 2,500,000

  6th.     4     The next four leagues to the valley of St. Andres,                    245,000

  7th.    34-1/2 From the foot of the Sierra Madre, through the northern
                    part of the valley of St. Andres, crossing the road from
                    Perote to Puebla, near the village of Poctarus to San
                    Cristoval,                                                       1,300,000

  8th.     4     Four leagues from San Cristoval to the city of Mexico,                270,000

                  Locomotives and cars,                                                550,000
                  Whole cost of the road,                                            5,810,000

                                                                      P. O. HÉBERT,
                                                                 Lieut. Col. 14th Infantry"




The distracted political condition of Mexico since 1809, has contributed
largely to the proverbial impoverishment and financial discredit of a
country, which, nevertheless, has during the whole intervening period,
been engaged in furnishing an important share of the world's circulating
medium. The revolutionary and factious state of parties; the
unrestrained ambition of leaders; the violence with which they displaced
rivals; their short tenure of office when they attained power and the
consequent impossibility of maturing any permanent scheme of finance;
the ordinary reliance of statesmen upon a large army, and the immense
cost of its support; the continual and habitual recourse to loans at
ruinous rates of usury; the comparative ignorance of domestic resources
and their failure of development in consequence either of intestine
broils or the ignorance and slothfulness of the population, together
with the plunder of the treasury by unprincipled demagogues and despots,
may all be regarded as the basis of Mexican misrule and pecuniary
misfortune. For nearly forty years every minister of finance has been
taxed to discover means for daily support. Let us illustrate the system
commonly pursued.

On the 20th of September, fifteen days before the treaty of Estansuela,
the administration of president Bustamante offered the following terms
for a loan of $1,200,000. It proposed to receive the sum of $200,000 in
_cash_, and $1,000,000 represented in the _paper_ or _credits_ of the
government. These credits or paper were worth, in the market, nine per
cent. About one-half of the loan was taken, and the parties obtained
orders on the several maritime custom houses, receivable in payment of

The revenues of the custom house of Matamoros, had been always
appropriated to pay the army on the northern frontier of the republic,
but during the administration of General Bustamante, the commandant of
Matamoros issued bonds or drafts against that custom house for
$150,000, receivable for all kinds of duties as cash. He disposed of
these bonds to the merchants of that port for $100,000--and, in addition
to the _bonus_ of $50,000, allowed them interest on the $100,000, at the
rate of three per cent. per month, until they had duties to pay which
they could extinguish by the drafts.

Another transaction, of a singular nature, developes the character of
the government's negotiations, and can only be accounted for by the
receipt of some advantages which the act itself does not disclose to the

The mint at Guanajuato, or the right to coin at that place, was
contracted for, in 1842, by a most respectable foreign house in Mexico,
for $71,000 _cash_, for the term of _fourteen years_, at the same time
that another offer was before the government, stipulating for the
payment of $400,000 for the same period, payable in annual instalments
of $25,000 each. The $71,000 in hand, were, however, deemed of more
value than the prospective four hundred thousand. This mint yielded a
net annual income of $60,000.

These are a few examples presented in illustration of the spendthrift
abandonment of the real resources of the country; and the character of
the transactions at once discloses the true origin and continuance of
national discredit. The demand of the hour was irresistible, and if the
minister or the president was unable to comply with it, his political
fate was sealed, perhaps forever. The _isolated_ good or evil measures
adopted by financiers, have only tended to augment the confusion. Each
government, of the thirty or more which have swayed Mexico since her
independence, has been forced to contend not only with its own errors
but with those of its predecessors; and hence the public has naturally
lost faith and hope in politicians as soon as they assumed the helm of
state. No matter what the personal character, or what the financial
talents of ministers might be, the people believed them to be
immediately compromised or paralized by circumstances and political

We will present the reader a view of Mexican _national expenses_,
according to ministerial estimates during a series of years between the
establishment of the federal constitution in 1824 and the war with the
United States. This statement, in regard to a country which has been
stationary in population and industry, with an augmenting outlay of
money, is somewhat remarkable:

          1825 the national expenses were  $17,100,000
          1826        "         "     "     16,666,463
  1827 to 1828        "         "     "     13,363,098
  1828 to 1829 the national expenses were   15,604,000
  1830 to 1831        "        "      "     17,438,000
  1832 to 1833        "        "      "     22,392,000

  According to report of commissioners to
  Chamber of Deputies in 1846,              21,254,134

  Period of Santa Anna's administration,    25,222,304

These dates, it will be observed comprehend epochs in which the country
has been governed by the federal system as well as those in which
extraordinary powers were conferred on national magistrates. In the
preceding yearly amounts, it should be recollected, that a few of them
comprise occasional sums paid on account of the foreign and domestic
debt; but, on an average, thirteen millions of dollars may be considered
as the annual outlay.

In consequence of this costly government of so small a nation, a large
foreign and domestic debt has been created, in addition to the
liabilities of New Spain _prior_ to independence, which are calculated
at nearly forty-two millions.

In considering this interesting subject we have taken pains to obtain
the best authorities from Mexico, and, from the reports of the ministers
of finance, we reach the following results in regard to that republic's
financial condition in the year 1850. Her foreign debt amounts to
$58,889,487; her home-debt to $48,934,610; and her debt, prior to
independence, to $41,983,096, making a total of pecuniary liabilities,
with interest, to the 1st of July, 1849, of one hundred and forty-nine
millions, eight hundred and seven thousand, one hundred and ninety-three
dollars;--the annual interest on which, alone, amounts to nearly nine
millions of dollars.

Inasmuch as the clear _income_ of Mexico in 1849, was not calculated at
more than five millions five hundred and forty thousand one hundred and
twelve dollars, while the _expenses_ were rated at thirteen millions
seven hundred and sixty-five thousand four hundred and thirty-five
dollars, there would necessarily be an annual deficit, in the mere
_current_ finances, of eight millions two hundred and twenty-five
thousand three hundred and twenty-three dollars. This sum, added to the
actual _interest_ on the national debt, shows the total yearly _deficit_
in Mexico, of seventeen millions two hundred and thirteen thousand seven
hundred and fifty-four dollars;--a sum larger than the present yield of
all the mints in the republic.

This frightful picture of national finances is now absorbing the
attention of the Mexican people and congress; and it is to be hoped that
some wise plan may be devised to extricate the nation from ruin and
that the government may be sufficiently strong and enduring to carry it
into effect.



  The foreign debt of Mexico, or the liability of the
    national treasury to citizens or subjects of other
    countries, according to the statement made and approved
    by the meeting of _bondholders_ in London on
    the 24th of June, 1846, was £10,241,650, or, in
    Mexican currency, at $5 the £, to                          $51,208,250

  This capital, according to agreement with the bondholders,
    bears an annual interest of 5 per cent.
    from the 1st of July, 1846, which amounts yearly
    to $2,560,412, and, up to the 1st July, 1849,--to
    the sum of                                                   7,681,237
  Total foreign debt to 1st July, 1849,                        $58,889,487


  The debt, the liquidation of which is founded upon an
    assignment of 26 per cent. of the income from mercantile
    duties, amounts to                                         $15,030,466

  Interest on this sum to 1st July, 1849,                        2,745,947

  Debt created for the redemption of the old copper currency
    of Mexico,                                                   2,083,205

  Interest due to 1st July, 1849,                                  574,992

  Due for indemnities, credits and contracts,                    3,500,000

  Due to civil and military _employées_ and pensioners,         25,000,000
         Total home debt, 1st July, 1849,                      $48,934,610


  National debt anterior to independence, interest to}
    1st July, 1849,                                  }         $41,983,096


  1. Foreign debt,                                             $58,889,487
  2. Home debt,                                                 48,934,610
  3. Debt prior to independence,                                41,983,096
     Total debt of Mexico,                                    $149,807,193
     The annual interest on which, at 6 per cent. is            $8,988,431

     _Estimate of the Income of Mexico from the 1st July, 1848, to 1st
     July, 1849, according to the calculation of the Mexican minister of

  Income from MARITIME DUTIES,                              $4,488,000
    "    from INTERNAL DUTIES, TAXES, &c., &c.,              2,224,000
  Total,                                                    $6,712,000

  Deduct from this the cost of collecting this revenue}      1,171,888
    and for various prior partial assignments of it,  }

  Total income for the year,                                $5,540,112


  Expenses of Legislative department,                         $720,300
      "       Department of Foreign and Domestic relations}    898,029
      "       Department of Justice,                           135,550
      "           "      of Finance,                         5,411,984
      "           "      of War,                             7,769,342
      "           "      Supreme Court of Justice,             330,230
  Total,                                                   $15,265,435

  Deduct from this the sums that may be saved by
  economical administration of the departments and
  by the improved condition or reduction of the
  army, say,                                                 1,500,000
  Total expenses of government,                            $13,765,434


  Total of National Expenses,                              $13,765,435
    "         "     Income,                                  5,540,112
  Deficit,                                                  $8,225,323

        Deficit on yearly expenses,                 $8,225,323
        Interest on debt,                            8,988,431
        Total yearly deficit,                      $17,213,754





  A: No. of factories.
  B: Spindles in operation.
  C: Spindles erecting.
  D: Total.
  E: No. of looms.
  F: Quintals of cotton consumed weekly.
  G: Weekly product of pounds of cotton twist.
  H: Weekly product of pieces of cotton cloth.
  I: Weekly expenses.

  States.    | A |   B   |   C   |    D  |  E  |  F  |   G   |   H   |  I
  Durango .. |  5|  5,560|    816|  6,376|  140|  139|    400|   778 |$1,795
  Guanajuato |  1|    500|    800|    800|  ...|   10|    900|   ... |   150
  Jalisco... |  4|  8,904|  5,664| 14,568|  220|  228| 16,800|   ... | 2,450
  Mexico.... | 17| 23,894|    200| 24,094|1,187|  401| 36,000| 3,277 | 8,413
  Puebla.... | 21| 37,396|  5,842| 42,874|  530|  691| 61,710| 1,290 | 6,154
  Queretaro. |  2|  5,400|  4,200|  9,600|  112|  137| 10,000|   400 | 2,400
  Sonora ... |  1|  2,198|    ...|  2,198|   54|   71|    ...|    57 |   385
  Vera Cruz  |  8| 22,856|  1,992| 24,848|  366|  361| 35,835|   733 | 5,510
             | 59|106,708| 18,654|125,362|2,609|2,038|161,654| 6,535 |$27,257
  Very few returns are wanting to make this table perfect in every respect.

From this summary it appears that the total number of spindles in
operation and in course of erection in the republic in the year
1844,--anterior to the war and during a period of comparative
progress,--amounted to 125,362, together with 2609 looms in the
fifty-nine factories of cotton stuffs and twist. These factories
consumed, weekly, 2038 quintals of cotton, and gave, according to the
table, a weekly product of 161,654 lbs. of cotton twist, a portion of
which they converted into 6535 pieces of cotton cloth, the remainder
being sold for the consumption of private and scattered hand looms
throughout the country. An intelligent and experienced manufacturer,
acquainted with Mexican factories, and at present residing in this
country, calculates with apparent justice, that 2038 quintals of
cotton, allowing fairly for waste, will yield, 183,420 lbs. of twist and
filling, and that the weekly product of cotton cloth will be 8479 pieces
of 32 varas each, from 2609 looms, each loom averaging about three and
one quarter pieces per week. But allowing this correction of the above
table of the _Junta de Fomento_, and adhering to its data in other
respects in which it appears to be entirely faithful, we attain some
important results. By comparing the number of spindles actually in
Mexico at that epoch, with the number known to be there in 1842, viz:
131,280, and adding to the number now stated 8050 which are in the
various factories closed in the interval but whose machinery is still in
existence, we show an increase of 2132 according to the most accurate
accessible information. Since the war the number has been no doubt
largely augmented if we may judge by the numerous shipments of machinery
to Mexico from Europe and North America.

       *       *       *       *       *

In order to show the importance to Mexico of allowing the liberal
importation of cotton from the United States, inasmuch as it is not
likely she will become a cotton growing country in proportion to the
increase of her manufacturing population, we have prepared the following
comparative estimates. In our chapters on the agriculture of the
republic we have endeavored, and we hope successfully, to demonstrate
the impracticability of inducing the Indians to produce sufficient for
present purposes, or to devote themselves to the labor of extensive
cotton plantations for the benefit of the future.

       *       *       *       *       *

Working _by day_ alone the Mexican factories consume yearly 105,976
quintals, or 10,597,600 lbs. of raw cotton, whilst the whole cotton crop
of the republic according to recent estimates, is not more than 60,000,
or, 70,000 quintals, equal to 7,000,000 lbs.; but if they worked _by day
and night_, they would use 18,545,800 lbs. of the raw material, allowing
three-fourths of the day consumption for night work. From these
calculations we derive the following imtant results, as to deficiency:


  Working _by day only_, the yearly consumption of cotton is   10,597,600 lbs.
  Deduct the whole Mexican crop of 70,000 quintals, at 100 lbs.
    per quintal,                                                7,000,000  "

                                                    Deficit,    3,597,600  "


  Working by day--yearly consumption, as above,   10,597,600 lbs.
  Add three-fourths for night work,                7,948,200  "
  Total consumption,                              18,545,800  "
  Deduct Mexican crop as above,                    7,000,000  "
  Deficit,                                        11,545,800  "[25]

Cotton varies, as we have seen in price according to demand, at Tepic,
Mazatlan, Vera Cruz, Tampico, Puebla, Durango, the valley of Mexico,
&c., from fifteen dollars, per quintal, to forty-eight. If we rate it,
on an average, at twenty-five dollars per quintal, the value of the
deficit on _day_ consumption will be $899,400, and on _day and night_
consumption, $2,886,450, all of which must necessarily, be made up by

We have prepared the preceding table in order to attract the attention
of cotton _producing_ countries, and to demonstrate the fact that
Mexico, in all likelihood, may become a _manufacturing_ nation, inasmuch
as the surplus population of towns, the women and children, may be
successfully employed in this branch of human industry, when they have
no agricultural district from which they may easily derive support with
the least labor. There is reason to believe that water power, for the
use of factories is abundant all over the republic. The natural drainage
of a mountain country will at once prove this fact. Innumerable small
streams, falling from the crests and sides of the _sierras_, pour
through the ravines and barrancas; but in consequence of the scarcity of
wood and the costliness of its transportation, it is not probable that
steam power can be advantageously used. Factories of paper near the
capital, at Puebla and in Guadalajara are working with success, but they
do not produce enough for the consumption of the republic. At Puebla and
Mexico there are several factories of the ordinary kinds of glass and
tumblers, whilst woollen blankets, baizes, and, at present, _fine_
cloths, are yielded by several establishments erected before and since
the war. The well known Mexican _serape_, or _poncho_,--an oblong
garment, pierced in the centre to allow the passage of the head, and
which falls in graceful folds from the shoulders of a horseman over his
person--is one of the most generally demanded fabrics from native looms.
These blankets are often of beautiful texture, composed of the richest
materials and colors, and, according to the fineness of their wool and
weaving, vary in cost from twenty-five to five hundred dollars. The
_serape_ is an indispensable article, both for use and luxury, for the
_lepero_ as well as the _caballero_, and being as much needed by men as
the _reboso_, or long cotton shawl, is by the women, it may readily be
conceived how great is the consumption of these two articles of domestic
manufacture alone. There are between five and six thousand hand looms
throughout the several states, and these are continually engaged in the
fabrication of _rebosos_ and _serapes_, the latter of which are most
exquisitely dyed and woven in tasteful patterns in the neighborhood of





We have already alluded, in the historical portion of this work to some
of the fostering sources of the Mexican army and to the evil results its
importance has produced in the country. The colonial forces designed for
the maintenance of order and due subjection in New Spain, were chiefly
sent from the old world until the wars in Europe required the mother
country to hoard its military resources. These foreign stipendiaries for
a long time sufficed to secure the loyalty of the emigrants; but as the
country grew in importance and numbers, and as the Indians revolted
against their task-masters, it became necessary from time to time to
call out reinforcements from the colonists; and when foreign invasion
was dreaded, these levies, as we have seen, were largely augmented from
all parts of the viceroyalty.

The idea of military service was, accordingly, not altogether unfamiliar
to the Mexican mind when the first insurrectionary movements occurred
under the lead of Hidalgo; but when the violent outbreak threatened to
degenerate into a war of _castes_, and to array the Indians against all
in whose veins circulated Castilian blood, it became the duty of the
settlers to cultivate that spirit and discipline which would, at least,
preserve them from utter destruction. The succeeding war of independence
converted the whole country for eleven years into a camp, and when the
strife terminated in success, it was found that a people, whose natural
temperament addicted them to military spectacles, had become habituated
and enured to a military career.

When the war was over and the power of Spain effectually broken, the
contest was transferred from a foreign enemy to domestic foes. Men who
had been accustomed for so long a period to military rule did not
immediately acquire the habit of self-government. National police
required a national army. Officers who had distinguished themselves in
an epoch when laws were silent and the only authorities recognized wore
the insignia of military life, did not forsake willingly the power they
enjoyed. Indeed, they were the only authentic personages capable of
enforcing obedience; and their adherents were soon armed against each
other in all the contentions for political position which vexed the
republic during the dawn of its national existence. Civil wars became
habitual. An army was an element of strength and success which no
military chieftain thought proper to crush. Rallying his disciplined
partizans, as long as his friends or his fortune supplied their support,
he was ready at a moment to take the field either for the maintenance of
a leader's cause or to secure his own elevation. Nor was this mode of
life disagreeable to the body of the army and inferior officers who were
lodged and fed at the public expense during a period when it was
difficult to find easy or agreeable civil employments in the distracted
realm. Each petty subaltern and even every common soldier, clad in the
livery of the state and carrying arms, was regarded by the unshod
_leperos_ and homeless vagrants as a personage of superior position; and
thus, whilst the army became at that epoch popular with the people it
had liberated from Spanish bondage, it ripened into a necessity of the
aspiring politicians who craved a speedier access to power than by the
slow and toilsome process of a republican canvass. The state, itself,
perceiving these manifold causes of military favor, utility, and
supposed need, preserved the army from all assaults by patriotic
congressmen, and thus the greatest curse and burthen of the nation,--the
origin and means of all its woes and all its despots,--was, from the
first, riveted to the body politic of Mexico.

It must not be supposed, however, that in speaking of the Mexican army
we design to compare it, either in detail or as an organized body, with
the troops of this country or of Europe. Neither in the mass of its
_materiel_, nor in its officers, does it vie with the trained and
disciplined forces of other civilized countries. Soldiers in Mexico are
rather actors in a political drama,--dressed and decorated for imposing
display,--than efficient warriors whose instruction and power make them
irresistible in the field. In all the engagements, or attempts to
engage, which occurred in Mexico since the termination of the war of
independence, there has been a laudable desire, at least among the
troops, to avoid the shedding of blood. Cities have been besieged and
bombarded; magnificent arrays of forces have been made on adjacent
fields; large camps have been formed and held in readiness; cannons,
loaded with cannister and grape, have been discharged along the crowded
highways of towns; marksmen have been placed in towers, steeples, and
_azoteas_, to pick off unwary passengers; divisions have been reviewed
and manœuvred in sight of each other, but, in all these revolts or
_pronunciamientos_, no pitched battles were fought which actually
terminated the contest by the gun and sword. The aspirant chief, or the
hero he designed to displace, managed to secure the _majority_ of the
neighboring military forces, and as soon as the fact was unequivocally
ascertained, the one who was in the _minority_ fled from the scene
without provoking a trial by battle. In 1840, 1841, and 1844, during the
administrations of Bustamante and Santa Anna, there were various
exhibitions of these sham contests; but, in all of them, we have reason
to believe that the innocent non-combatant people were the greatest
sufferers, and that the army escaped comparatively unscathed.

These observations are not designed to impugn the military nerve or
spirit of the Mexicans, for the war with the United States and the war
of their revolution, demonstrated that they unite both in quite an
eminent degree. Our officers believe that the Mexican possesses the
elements of a good soldier, but that he is neither trained, disciplined,
nor led, so as to make him a dangerous foe. This is demonstrated by the
result of the recent war and of every action fought during it. A brave
show and a bold assault were not stubbornly followed up with
pertinacious resolution, in spite of all resistance. The Mexicans were
fighting on their own soil, for their own country, against a hated foe,
yet they failed in every conflict, and with every conceivable disparity
of numbers.

The great body of the army is of course composed either of Indians or
mixed breeds, and the idea of nationality in its high love of a loveable
country, does not in all probability, animate or inspire these classes
in the hour of danger. They did not fight with a common or an understood
purpose. They were rather forced mercenaries than patriots. It was not a
war of enthusiasm. Every effort was made by grandiloquent proclamations
and false allegations to rally and nerve them; but whenever they crossed
arms with our forces, if they failed in the onset, like lions foiled in
their spring, they retreated to their lair. Nevertheless, throughout the
contest, there were repeated instances of courage, constancy, endurance,
and persistence which satisfied our officers that under a different
system of education and command, the Mexicans would make excellent
soldiers. Their horsemen, probably the best riders on the continent,
paid more attention to the management of their animals than to the use
of their horse's force in the charge; while their infantry and artillery
avoided those close quarters which make the bayonet so powerful a weapon
when directed by intrepid, unquailing arms in the presence and under the
lead of unflinching company officers. Their lancers did more damage to
dismounted victims than to erect and fighting foes.

With the majority of the rank and file, the army is, in all likelihood,
not a profession of choice. Enlistment is now scarcely ever voluntary.
When men are required for a new regiment or to fill companies thinned by
death or desertion, a sergeant is despatched with his guard to recruit
among the Indians and _peons_ of the neighborhood. The subaltern
probably finds these individuals laboring in the fields, and without
even the formality of a request, selects the best men from the group and
orders them into the ranks. If they resist or attempt to escape, they
are immediately _lazo'd_, and, at nightfall the gang is marched, bound
in pairs, to the nearest barrack, where the wretched victims of military
oppression are pursued by a mournful procession of wives and children
who henceforth follow their husbands or parents during the whole period
of service. From the hands of the recruiting sergeant the conscript
passes into those of the drill sergeant. The chief duty of this
personage is to teach him to march, countermarch, and to handle an
unserviceable weapon. From the drill sergeant he succeeds to the company
officer, and here, perhaps, he encounters the worst foe of his ultimate

Officers in Mexico have no thorough military and scientific education.
There is a military school at Chapultepec, near the capital, but it has
never been carefully and completely organized, nor has it furnished many
men who have distinguished themselves in the field. The politicians,
relying on the dramatic power of the army, made that army the means of
reward and influence in civil life, by selecting its officers of all
grades from every employment or occupation. Merchants, tradespeople,
professional men, children of wealthy or ambitious families, all
attained rank in the army by this unwise means, and the consequence has
been that the majority of company, and perhaps even of field officers,
was rather fitted to display the magnificent uniforms to which their
grades entitle them than to discipline the rank and file when organized
in battalions, regiments and divisions.

The picturesque and scenic efficiency of such an army will be easily
admitted, and the causes of its failure in the late war will be quite as
easily understood. What can be more deplorable in battle, even for the
victors, than to behold an undisciplined man badly led or driven into
conflict? What can be more disastrous for an officer than to stand in
the midst of blood and carnage, without knowing what to do in the moment
of trial when knowledge and presence of mind are imperatively needed?
Can it be surprising, therefore, to observe that the columns of Mexican
gazettes and pages of Mexican pamphlets published during the war, are
filled with the basest crimination and recrimination or the lamest
attempts at exculpation from disgraceful defeat?

A writer in the Monitor Republicano, speaking of the Mexican army, says,
you have nothing to do but to read the writings of its generals from the
commencement of the campaign, through the different actions and
skirmishes in chronological order, and it will be seen that they have
mutually called one another traitors, cowards, and imbeciles. He gives
the following list of recriminations:--"Arista accused Torrejon, Ampudia
and others; Torrejon Ampudia, while Uraga charged Arista; Jarregui
accused Carrasco and various chiefs; Carrasco accused Jarregui and other
generals; Mejia brought charges against Ampudia; Ampudia against him and
several leaders, as Carrasco, Enciso and others, principal officers of
the army. Urrea and others charged Parrodi with cowardice and treason;
Parrodi accused Urrea and Romero, and Romero accused the famous Miramon
of Mazatlan, the speculator in the goods taken by the troops of Urrea
from those of Gen. Taylor.

Requena accused Santa Anna; Santa Anna in his turn, Requena; Torrejon
and Juvera recriminate Requena; Requena, in his turn, Torrejon, Juvera
and Portilla. Santa Anna accused Miñon; Miñon accused Santa Anna and his
confederates. Santa Anna brought charges against Valencia, in Ciudad
Victoria; Valencia in his turn, accused Santa Anna. Viscayno accused
Heredia and Garcia Conde; these in turn, Viscayno. Santa Anna
recriminates against Canalizo, Uraga and others at Cerro Gordo;
Canalizo, Uraga, Gaona and others against Santa Anna. Santa Anna again
accuses Valencia in Padierna; Valencia accuses Santa Anna, Salas and
others, and Salas accuses Valencia, Torrejon and others. Santa Anna, in
the first actions in the valley, accuses everybody; he accuses Rincon,
Anaya, and the National Guard at Churubusco; in the other actions of
September, Terrés, Bravo and others. Bravo, Terrés and others in turn,
recriminate Santa Anna, Perdigon and Simeon Ramirez. Perdigon accuses
Simeon Ramirez and Terrés himself. Alvarez accuses Don Manuel Andrade,
and Andrade in turn accuses him. Alcorta accuses the Andrade of the
hussars, while he accuses Alcorta;--and in fine, we have before us the
letters and despatches of the whole of them--we have before us their
actions and skirmishes, from the battle of San Jacinto up to the
ignominious capture of Gaona and Torrejon by the Poblano robber,

We have quoted these passages, to prove, by Mexican authority, that our
remarks upon the army are not made in a captious spirit or with a desire
to undervalue its officers ungenerously.

Bad as had been the organization and conduct of the army, they were not,
of course, improved by the results of the war. The _morale_ and the
_materiel_ were both destroyed, so that when our troops withdrew during
the summer of 1848, little more than a skeleton of the regiments
remained to preserve order. This was, indeed, one of the greatest
sources of dread to orderly Mexicans, for they feared that when all
foreign restraint was suddenly removed, the country would be given up to
anarchy. Without men and without means, the government justly
apprehended the uprising of the mob, nor were there demagogues wanting
to excite the evil passions of the masses by an outcry against the
treaty. At the head of this disgraceful movement was General Paredes,
who had returned from exile, but had not been trusted by the government
during the conflict. The payment of the first instalment of the sum
agreed upon in the treaty, however, enabled the authorities to maintain
tranquillity, and as soon as comparative order was enforced by a new
administration, the army was reorganized under a law passed on the 4th
of November, 1848. By this act, the military establishment was greatly
reduced, even on paper, and, in 1849, not more than five thousand two
hundred, rank and file, were in actual service.

If there were, in reality, no need of an army in Mexico to oppose a
foreign enemy, or, to preserve domestic peace, one would still be
required to secure the Northern Frontier against the incursions of
Indians. From the earliest periods, the Spaniards were vexed by their
savage assaults, and, since the establishment of independence, the
Mexicans have every year seen their people and property carried off by
the robber tribes, whilst their villages, _ranchos_ and _haciendas_ were
totally destroyed or partially ravaged.

Mexican engineers have calculated that the new boundary line, following
the course of the Rio Grande and the Gila and including a mathematical
line of seventy leagues between these streams, is six hundred and
forty-six leagues or about nineteen hundred miles in length.
Three-fourths of this line pass through an uninhabited region, and,
consequently, the savages have free access across it to the few and
small settlements on the border. Such an extent of frontier, though
considerably reduced from the former line anterior to the treaty, became
at once an object of concern to the government, especially as the people
of the United States immediately opened communications through the
Indian country with the Pacific, and would probably soon control the
important passes through the whole region north of the boundary.
Accordingly on the 20th of July, 1848, it was decreed that eighteen
MILITARY COLONIES should be created, and placed within easy
communication, so as to protect the southern settlers in some degree, or
to encounter and punish the savages in their forays. The greater
portions of the most warlike tribes were transferred by the treaty to
the United States, and, by one of its articles, we bound ourselves to
aid, at least, in saving the Mexicans from their plunder if we could not
totally destroy their inimical power. In the neighborhood of the
boundary, from near the mouth of the Gila to the commencement of the
mathematical line, before alluded to, we find the tribes known as
Coyotes, Mimbreños and Gileños, the former of whom wage war against
Sonora, whilst the latter attack Chihuahua. The Apaches and Cumanches
spread their numerous hordes from the vicinity of Chihuahua to the
sources of the Nueces, twenty-five leagues beyond the Rio Grande.
Besides these, there are, throughout this district many savage bands,
supporting themselves entirely by the chase, and it is probable,
according to the opinion of soldiers and captives, who have been among
the tribes, that all these clans can unite thirty thousand warriors,
whilst they still leave a sufficient number to protect their wigwams and

Fortunately for the white races, these barbarians are not able to
maintain peace among themselves. The Apaches and Cumanches are in
continual strife, and never return from the "war path" without serious
losses. It is not to be feared, therefore, that they will voluntarily
join in a general rising against our pioneers; yet a common danger, or a
common attack, might soon cement their hatred against the supposed
usurper, and, directed by a man of capacity, produce even a more
disastrous war than that with the Seminoles of Florida.

The Cumanches are numerous and active. They are divided into Caihuas,
Yamparicas, and Llaneros. The Apaches are braver than the Cumanches, and
are known as Meselaros and Lipanes. These barbarians arm themselves with
guns, rifles, lances, bows and arrows. They manage their weapons
admirably, are agile horsemen, and shoot with unerring aim. Tall and
majestic in figure; muscular and capable of enduring fatigue; accustomed
to live on the simplest food of the forest and to win it when necessary
by the arrow alone; uniting the sagacity of men with the instinct of
animals, these knights of the southern wilderness realize perfectly our
ideas of the daring aborigines who peopled this continent before it was
subdued by the white man. Their hatred of the Mexicans and the savage
fury with which they pursue their male captives of adult age, appear to
denote even a stronger, if not a worthier motive than robbery in their
attacks. At least six hundred women and children are borne off by them
every year from the settlements to their mountain fastnesses, and they
openly confess that they are not unwilling to improve their race by
mingling it with the white.

In order to maintain the southern frontier intact from these savages,
Mexico designs the establishment of these military colonies, and will,
in all probability, support them by a second or rear line of troops from
the regular army as well as by forts and strongholds erected in
positions affording easy access from the wilderness to inhabited
regions. A frontier so open, and thronged with such barbarous hordes,
could not be protected by military colonies alone.

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal FORTRESSES and strongholds of Mexico have hitherto been
those of Perote, Acapulco, Ulua, and the citadels at Mexico and
Monterey. The present government has ordered the citadel of Mexico,
situated a short distance out of the town to be abandoned, as it only
formed a nucleus for the assemblage of the military factionists who have
constantly disturbed the peace of the republic. The citadel of Monterey
is to be maintained and suitably supported.

The castle at Acapulco, an extremely important point on the southern or
Pacific coast, is greatly impaired, and will require at least a hundred
thousand dollars to adapt it for defence. The fortress of Perote was
designed originally by the Spanish government as a depot for the
treasure intended for shipment from Vera Cruz, in which the gold and
silver would be safer than at an exposed sea port during that dangerous
period of Castilian history, when all the nations of Europe were anxious
to plunder her colonies. Situated far in the interior of the country
and in the midst of a wide plain, it does not absolutely command any of
the approaches either from the coast to the inner states, or to the
coast from the capital. It is, however, well placed as a military
arsenal, and demands an expenditure of about thirty thousand dollars to
render it useful to the nation.

The Castle of San Juan de Ulua, built on a reef opposite the town of
Vera Cruz, is in so ruinous a state that scarcely a million and a half
of dollars will suffice to restore it to its ancient splendor and power.
The one hundred and twenty-four guns now within its walls are all more
or less injured or dismounted. "To garrison this Castle properly," said
General Arista in his report as Minister of War in 1849, "two thousand
men will be required at a yearly cost of four hundred thousand dollars.
If this immense treasure is squandered on the Castle, it will surely be
wasted alone to preserve a vain luxury; for, as Mexico has no hope of
becoming a maritime power, San Juan de Ulua must always fall into the
possession of such a naval nation whenever it makes war upon us.
Experienced Spanish officers have recommended the dismantling of San
Juan, and they now urge it more strongly than ever, as there is far
greater reason to believe that it neither defends the nation nor even
the city of Vera Cruz. The French, and recently the Americans, have
convinced us of this fact; the first possessed themselves early of the
Castle, and the latter took the town without hindrance from the Castle."
Such is the opinion of one of the most experienced Mexican generals in
regard to a fortress which has hitherto been deemed impregnable, and,
although we do not agree with him in regard to its entire worthlessness
in the hands of abler engineers, we doubt whether its use is not greater
in checking the city of Vera Cruz itself, than in commanding the
approaches to it from the sea. It must be remembered that the lee of
this very Castle is the only comparatively safe harbor on the gulf at
present, and that until a _mole_ or breakwater shall be erected
elsewhere, it is only in certain seasons and under favorable
circumstances that large bodies of troops may be prudently disembarked
on the adjacent shores. The landing of General Scott, in 1847, was
singularly fortunate in time and circumstances, for, soon after, a
furious norther arose and prevented all communication between the land
and the squadron. These violent gales are sudden and terrific in their
rise and action at Vera Cruz, and the dreadful havoc they made among the
American shipping on the coast during the war, attests the value of a
military defence whose protective duties are seconded by the very
spirit of the storm. The introduction of steam power into the national
marine must of course greatly modify the character of coast defences;
but we would deem it not only unwise but imbecile to abandon altogether
a work which at least makes, if it does not perfectly protect, an
important harbor. The city of Vera Cruz, itself, is a regular
fortification, and with some important improvements and repairs, may not
ultimately require San Juan de Ulua to defend it from assault. These two
strongholds, combined, under the command of skilful generals and
garrisoned with efficient soldiers, would offer a churlish welcome to
any modern power either maritime or military. Their seizure, during the
winter months of tempest, would be almost impossible, and their
occupation, during the summer would be as fatal, as was unfortunately
proved by our troops in the June, July, and August, after the brilliant
siege and inglorious surrender.

The following tabular sketch prepared from Ministerial reports, exhibits
the condition of the Mexican forces at this epoch.



  12 Generals of divisions.
  34 Brigadier generals.
  4 Colonels.
  5 Lieutenant Colonels.
  1 Commandant of battalion.
  13 Captains.
  8 Lieutenants and 2d adjudants.
  3 Ensigns.
  80 Total.


  1 Brigadier general.
  2 Colonels.
  4 Lieutenant colonels.
  8 Captains.
  15 Total.


  1 Inspector.
  1 Director of hospital.
  8 Hospital professors.
  40 Surgeons.
  40 1st assistant surgeons.
  40 2d     "         "
  30 Apprentices.
  18 Surgeons for military colonies.
   2 Ambulance companies.


                                                     In actual service
   1 Battalion of sappers,     399 individuals required by law,    220
   8 Battalions of infantry,  6000      "          "      "       3526
  12 Squadrons of cavalry,    1800      "          "      "       1911
   2 Battalions of artillery, 1800      "          "      "        554
                              ----                                ----
          Required by law,    9999               Only in service, 5211


    17 Colonels.
    16 Lieutenant colonels.
    11 Commanders of squadrons, battalions and chiefs of division.
    92 Captains.
   108 2d adjudants, and lieutenants.
   176 Sub-adjudants, sub-lieutenants and ensigns.
    17 Chaplains.
   133 1st serjeants; tambour majors; armorers; smiths.
   384 2d serjeants.
  1124 Corporals.
   356 Musicians.
  7954 Privates.
    32 Wagon masters.
   196 Drivers.
    54 Arrieros.

  1800 Cavalry horses.
    214 Artillery horses.
    687 Mules for purposes of traction.
    422 Pack mules.


For 6 active companies in Alvarado, Tehuantepec, Tuspan, Acayucan,

  For the battalion of Tampico. No. on the list. Of these there are in
                                                   actual service.

     1 Lieutenant colonel,             ....                 1
     1 1st adjudant--a captain,        ....                 1
     1 Chaplain,                       ....               ....
     4 Captains,                        6                   7
     5 Lieutenants,                     6                   7
     9 Sub-lieutenants,                12                   5
     5 1st serjeants,                   6                   5
    16 2d     "                        24                  14
    12 Musicians,                      18                  17
    53 Corporals,                      78                  16
   400 Privates,                      600                  181
    ---                               ---                  ---
   486 Total,                         726                  233


  In Guadalajara,           1
   " Zacatecas,             2
   " Jalapa,                4
   " Perote,                1
   " Vera Cruz,             2
   " Puebla,                3
   " Mexico,                7
   " Queretaro,             1
   " Guanajuato,            2
   " S. Fernando de Rosas,  2
   " Matamoros,             1
   " Tampico,               1
   " San Luis Potosi,       2
   " Oajaca,                1


                 Guns and mortars.
  San Juan de Ulua,       124
  Perote,                  35
  Acapulco,                22
  Vera Cruz,              113
  Monterey,               ...
  Campeche,               ...
  Mazatlan,               ...
  Mexico,                   6
  Tabasco,                  1
  Guadalajara,              9
  San Luis Potosi,          8
  Chiapas,                  2
  Chihuahua,              ...
  Bustamante's division,    4

  Total number of _projectiles_, 52,019.
  The field artillery consists of 16 batteries.


The coast of the republic, now greatly reduced by the treaty of
Guadalupe, extends on the Gulf of Mexico, from the Rio Grande or Rio
Bravo del Norte, to the port of Bacalar on the east of the peninsula of
Yucatan, and comprehends in this distance, about five hundred and
eighty-four leagues. The Pacific coast begins one league from San Diego
in Lower California, and terminates at the Barra de Ocos in the Gulf of
Tehuantepec, a distance of one thousand five hundred and twenty leagues,
including the coasts of the Gulf of California, or sea of Cortéz.
Consequently the coasts of the republic extend, in all, two thousand one
hundred and four leagues, demonstrating the admirable situation of this
country for commerce with all the world. The ports which are open for
foreign trade in the Mexican Gulf, are Matamoros, Tampico, Vera Cruz
Campeché, Sisal, and the island of Carmen; while, on the Pacific, there
are the ports of Guayamas, Mazatlan, San Blas, Manzanillo, and Acapulco,
the latter of these being the best in the possession of Mexico, on the
great western ocean. Its harbor is excellent; its distance from the
capital is comparatively short; its population is larger than that of
other towns on the coast, and in consequence of the difficulty of
landing elsewhere than in the actual port, the government is effectually
secured against illicit trade. It is a site which should unquestionably
be protected and fostered, not only on account of the advantages we have
mentioned, but because it will become a source of riches to the new
state of Guerrero, whose government will contribute to cement the peace
and tend to establish the permanent dominion of good order in that

       *       *       *       *       *

The navy of all countries originates in their commerce, but Mexico,
although situated as we have shown most advantageously for trade, has
hitherto possessed but few merchantmen and a small marine. The vessels
of war owned by the republic, previous to the conflict with the United
States, were either sold, or disarmed, dismantled and laid up, when the
nation was menaced with an attack. It was evident to the Mexican
cabinet, that the navy could not cope with ours, and in order to prevent
its total loss, the few vessels were voluntarily withdrawn from the sea.
The officers, however, were generally employed in land duties during the
contest, and most of them remained in service until the summer of 1848,
when the most efficient were permanently confirmed in their employments,
whilst the rest were allowed to retire on unlimited leave.

In considering the actual condition of the national trade and treasury,
the government did not believe, on the re-establishment of peace, that
it would be justified in creating at once an extensive naval
establishment, nevertheless it was convinced that the security of the
coasts, the protection of its own small trade, and the interest of its
maritime custom houses, rendered the creation of a _flotilla_
indispensable. With this view the minister of war and marine recommended
in 1849 the naval establishment which is shown in the following table.


     The actual naval force consists at present of 1 schooner only; but
     the secretary of war recommended, in addition, the construction of:

  V {1 steamer mounting  {1 swivel 32 paixhan and 2 short 12
  E {                    { pounders.
  S {
  S {2 cutters suitable for coast service, capable of passing the shallow
  E {bars of rivers, of 70 or 75 tons, and carrying 1 swivel 18
  L {pounder, and one 12 pounder each.
  S {
  . {4 launches of 20 oars, each of which must be capable of carrying
    {an 18 pounder.

       Officers.        In Service.        On Leave
  { Captains _de Navio,_    3                  -
  {    "     _de Fragata,_  6                  3
  { 1st Lieutenant,         1                  5
  { 2d      "               7                 11
  { 1st Midshipmen,         -                  4
  { 2d      "               -                  1
  { Intendentes,            2                  -
  { Commissaries,           7
  { 1° Officiales,          4                  6
  { 2°      "               5                 11
  { 3°      "               4                  7
  { Clerks,                 -                 11

  Expenses of War and Navy of Mexico, 1849, estimated by the Minister.

  Ministry of war and navy,                            $55,890..0..06
  Supreme tribunal of war,                              82,770..7..00
  Staff of the army,                                   133,500..0..00
    "   of the president,                               10,345..4..00
  Headquarters of the army,                             50,399..2..06
  _Commandancias generales and militares_,             234,378..5..00
  _Detall de plazas_,                                   10,320..0..00
  Engineers, sappers, military college and school,     218,788..5..06
  Permanent artillery, political ministry,
      workmen and baggage train,                       670,985..0..00
  8 Battalions of permanent infantry,                1,290,567..1..00
  1 Battalion of active infantry and 6 companies,      253,109..7..06
  12 squadrons of permanent cavalry in 6 corps,        628,886..0..00
  Military colonies,                                   727,572..0..00
  Medical staff and ambulance companies,               144,025..4..00
  Expenses at San Luis,                                  5,038..2..00
  Invalids,                                             84,122..7..06
  Staffs of the army, divisions and brigades,           43,460..3..00
  Officers who by the law of 4th November, 1849, are to
    receive unlimited leave,                           328,644..0..06
  Officers on unlimited leave,                         292,762..5..10
      "    retired,                                    668,614..1..07
  Disbanded troops,                                    101,283..3..00
  Widows, orphans, and pensioners,                     403,499..2..06
  Rewards for bravery,                                  15,295..6..07
  For military hospitals and extras,                   100,000..0..00
  For improvement and repair of military barracks,      30,241..0..00
  Contract for mules for artillery trains,              34,875..6..00
  Extra expenses of war,                               500,000..0..00
  Expenses of establishment of military colonies,      498,635..4..00
  Military commission of statistics,                    12,098..0..00
  Naval employés, (military and political,)             55,623..7..00
  Total expenses war and navy in 1849,              $7,685,733..6..06




The relations existing between the Mexican church and the Papal throne
were interrupted by the revolution. Spain and her monarchs had ever been
distinguished and faithful defenders of the Catholic church, and had
maintained its power carefully throughout all their American
possessions. The pope therefore regarded the revolution not only as
unfavorable to the interest of his allies, but as calculated in all
probability to introduce ecclesiastical as well as political liberty
into regions of which his ministers possessed the entire dominion. Hence
the famous encyclical letter of his Holiness of the 24th of September,
1824, directed to the Heads of the American church, in which he
anathematizes the doctrines and principles upon which the revolution was
founded. But, yielding in the end to circumstances, and probably
reassured by the article in the first constitution of Mexico--not yet
promulgated when his letter saw the light--by which the Catholic faith
was permanently confirmed as the national religion, to the exclusion of
all others, he received the rebellious nation once more into his flock,
as soon as the Mexican government sought readmission. This
reconciliation was negotiated upon the same terms that existed during
the Spanish dominion.

Even from the epoch of Iturbide's rule this delicate subject had engaged
the attention of the rulers, and in 1825 an envoy was sent to Rome. The
ecclesiastical Junto which met in Mexico, had striven to reinvest the
Metropolitan with the ancient right of instituting suffragan bishops;
but the canonical right has continued in the Pope, on the presentation
of the government. Nevertheless, efforts have been made to extend,
substantially the metropolitan powers of the Archbishop of Mexico, of
whom it was probably desired to make the true head of the national
church, dependent however upon the Roman Pontiff.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were in Mexico, according to the best accessible official dates,
in 1826

     1 Archbishop.
     9 Bishops, in 9 Bishoprics.
     1 Collegiate Chief at the Collegiate Church of Guadalupe.
   185 Prebends, (79 vacancies thereof, in 1826.)
  1194 Parishes, of one, two, or more churches.
     9 Seminaries (_conciliares_.)
  3677 Clergymen (1240 engaged in curacies) and the rest in seminaries,
         ecclesiastical cures, vicarages, &c.

     5 Religious orders, owning
   155 Monasteries; in which there were
  1918 Monks; of whom
    40 Served curacies and
   106 Missions.

In 47 of these monasteries there were more than twelve monks, and in
thirty-nine there were less than five.

    6 Colleges de Propaganda Fidé, containing
  307 Clergymen; of whom
   61 Served in missions.
    2 Congregaciones, with 60 presbyters.

    58 Convents; with
  1931 Nuns,
   622 Girls,
  1475 Servants.


  7999 Clergymen, friars and nuns.
  2097 Servants and girls in convents.

Since the epoch of independence the orders of Juaninos, Belemites, and
San Lazaro, have been extinguished.

In 1844, when the last accurate summary of the Mexican church, within
our reach, was made, the following was the condition:


In this year the _possessions_ in conventual establishments of the
REGULAR ORDERS, was estimated as follows:

  Dominicans,              25 Conventual establishments
  Franciscans,             68     "            "
  Agustines,               22     "            "
  Carmelites,              16     "            "
  Mercedarios,             19     "            "
  Total,                  150 Conventual establishments

  REGULAR ECCLESIASTICS:--Monks,              1,700
                                   Nuns,      2,000
  SECULAR CLERGY,                             3,500
  Total number in religious orders            7,200

The actual property of this establishment has been variously estimated
since the earliest period in which Mexican institutions have been
described by European writers. The church in Mexico is known to be
immensely rich, and that its real and personal property has been
carefully managed by the large body of intelligent men who control its
affairs. They prudently make no public or statistical expositions of
their interests.

In 1807, Abad y Quiepo, in a communication to Don Manuel Sexto Espinosa,
estimated the wealth of the church as follows:

  REAL ESTATE, from $2,500,000 to                                $ 3,000,000
  PERSONAL INVESTMENTS for secular clergy in 9 bishoprics,        26,000,000
  OBRAS PIAS in the church, of ecclesiastics of both sexes,        2,500,000
  TOTAL FUND of the churches and communities of ecclesiastics
  of both sexes,                                                  16,000,000
  Total                                                          $47,500,000

In 1831, Don José Maria Mora, a Mexican writer, estimated the property
of the church at a valuation of at least $75,000,000.[27]

In 1844,--and we may consider it nearly the same in 1850,--the church
property was calculated as follows:

  Real estate--urban and rural,                               $18,000,000

  Churches, houses, convents, curates' dwellings, furniture,
     jewels, sacred vessels and other personalities,           52,000,000

  Floating capital, various funds in ecclesiastical treasuries,
     and the capital required to produce the sum annually
     received by the Mexican clergy in alms, _diezmos_,
     dues, &c. &c.,                                            20,000,000
                Total,                                        $90,000,000

The real estate of the church is estimated by Señor Otero,--from whose
work on the social and political condition of Mexico, this calculation
is taken,--to have been worth at least 25 per cent. more before the
revolution; and, to this increased value must be added about
$115,000,000 of capital founded on _contribuciones_, _derechos reales_,
and other imposts which were laid on the property of the country for the
benefit of the clergy.[28]

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not to be supposed that the 2,000 _nuns_ are of ecclesiastical
importance except for charitable and educational purposes;--if we deduct
their number, therefore, from the 1,700 monks and 3,500 secular clergy,
we shall have only 3,200 men devoted to the spiritual wants of more than
seven and a half millions or, 2,383 individuals assigned to the
ecclesiastical charge of each priest, monk or curate. And yet, among
these men, chiefly, the avails of probably more than $90,000,000 of
property are to be annually distributed or consolidated in a country
from which they are constantly asking alms instead of bestowing them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The value of their churches, the extent of their city property, the
power they possess as lenders and mortgagees in Mexico, where there are
no banks, and the enormous masses of church plate, golden ornaments and
jewels, will swell the above statements and estimates of the church's
wealth to nearer one hundred millions than ninety, or to about
$88,000,000 less than it was before the rebellion against Spain; at
which period the number of ecclesiastics was about 10,000; or 13,000, if
the lay brethren and subordinates are included in the ecclesiastical

The _higher clergy_ of Mexico which was once the depository of science
and general learning, is now only distinguished for its elegant manners
and aristocratic tendencies. Notwithstanding some members of the church,
in orders and belonging to this class, were engaged in the revolutionary
struggle, and essentially aided in making it effective, the spirit of
the remainder, as a body, was in reality, antagonistic to the movement.
The course of the _lower clergy_, however, was different. The members of
this grade threw themselves early into the rebellion, and sustained it
heroically in its most dangerous epochs, until it triumphed in

Although there is in Mexico great religious devotion to the church,
regular observance of its feasts, fasts and ceremonies, and obedience to
its commands, there prevails, nevertheless, considerable indifference
towards its ministers, who, in too many cases have justly forfeited
popular respect. The _curas_ have united themselves effectually with the
interests and affections of the people in the rural districts where they
pass the ordinary, regular life of country folks remote from the
dissipating influence of cities. They are amiable men, prudent
counsellors of all classes, and the hospitable hosts of every stranger
who visits their parishes. But, in many of the towns and cities large
numbers of the clergy, both secular and regular, have forfeited the
personal esteem of the high and low by their open participation in
common social vices. "These vices have augmented in proportion as the
bonds of discipline have been loosened by the distracted condition of
the country. Gambling and dissipation are rooted in the clergy as well
as in other classes of society; but we may specially declare that the
convents of friars, with few exceptions, are in Mexico, sewers of
corruption."[30] This frail condition of ecclesiastical discipline was
satisfactorily proved by the state in which the Catholic church of the
United States found the parishes of Texas at the period of annexation;
and, it is likely, that many more flagrant instances of laxity will be
unveiled in New Mexico and California, to whose distant regions our
enlightened and pure Catholic clergymen are already directing their
attention with honest and pious zeal.

The Spanish government cherished the church, for state as well as
religious reasons. The _mayorazos_ or rights of primogeniture, which
bestowed the great bulk of patrimonial estates upon the eldest son,
necessarily forced the younger offspring of distinguished houses either
into the army or into the church; and, hence the splendid eleemosynary
establishments which were erected and endowed all over Mexico, as much
for the comfort of these drones of the social hive, as for the worship
and glory of God. Most of the lucrative benefices came in this manner
into the hands of the Spaniards and their descendants; and by far the
greater portion of the higher ecclesiastics were, either influentially
allied, or were persons of elevated social rank. Thus it is that even at
the present day so many men of distinguished manners and monarchical
tendencies, are found among the "high clergy" of Mexico; for the epoch
of the revolution is not so distant that the old ecclesiastical stock
has entirely departed from earth.

But since the laws of primogeniture have been abolished,--and, with
them, the ecclesiastical privilege of enforcing the payment of tithes to
the clergy,--the church has been no longer regarded by the best classes
as a favorite resort or refuge for their children. The revolution, as we
have said, disorganized the establishment and infused inferior men into
the sacred ranks. The material of the several brotherhoods degenerated
in quality if not in quantity. The irregularities of the friars became
proverbial throughout the republic, and respectable families regarded it
as a calamity, or, even sometimes, as a degradation, to hear their
members pronounce a monastic vow. Thus, whilst the church became
unpopular among the upper classes as a means of subsistence,--its
numbers were gradually filled and maintained from the humbler ranks,
whose ignorance and disorderly habits tend more and more to widen the
difference between the secular and the regular clergy of the republic.
It is needless to dwell on the baleful influence which such debased and
pretended ministers of religion, must exercise among the common classes
of a society over which their ecclesiastical authority and the sanctity
of their profession gives them control in such a country as Mexico.

       *       *       *       *       *

We deem it proper to sustain the allegations made especially against a
large number of the Mexican clergy by citations from American, English
and Spanish authors upon the country, in addition to the quotation
already given from Rivero's "Mexico in 1842."

Mr. Norman, in his Rambles in Yucatan, whilst graphically describing
certain festivals, and among them those of Christmas and the
Purification of the Blessed Virgin, says:--"The people testify their
respect for those festal days,--for so they are denominated,--by
processions and such amusements as are suited. Notwithstanding the
acknowledged debasing effects of their sports and pastimes, which
consist wholly of bull baiting, cock fighting and gambling, they are not
disgraced by either riotousness or drunkenness. * * * The priests give
countenance to these recreations, if they may be so called, both by
their presence and participation.[31] * * * The men, women, and
children, as soon as they had concluded their ceremonies, started, in a
body, with revolting precipitation, to the gaming tables, which had been
set forth in the ruins of an old convent adjoining the sanctuary where
the procession had just been dissolved. Here we found all classes of
society, male and female. The highest ecclesiastical and civil
dignitaries were there, hob and nob with the most common of the
multitude."[32] * * * Such is the testimony of Mr. Norman as to some of
the disgraceful habits of the clergy in Yucatan. Mr. Stephens in his
travels in the same Mexican state, remarks that "except at Merda and
Campeché, where they are more immediately under the eyes of the bishop,
the _padres_, throughout Yucatan, to relieve the tedium of convent life,
have _compagneras_, or, as they are sometimes called, _hermanas
politicas_, or, sisters in law. * * * * *

"Some look on this arrangement as a little irregular, but, in general,
it is regarded only as an amiable weakness, and I am safe in saying that
it is considered a recommendation to a village _padre_, as it is
supposed to give him settled habits, as marriage does with laymen; and,
to give my own honest opinion, which I did not intend to do, it is less
injurious to good morals than the by no means uncommon consequences of
celibacy which are found in some other Catholic countries. The _padre_
in Yucatan stands in the position of a married man, and performs all the
duties pertaining to the head of a family. Persons of what is considered
a respectable standing in a village, do not shun left hand marriages
with a _padre_. Still it was to us always a matter of regret to meet
with individuals of worth, and whom we could not help esteeming,
standing in what could not but be considered a false position. To return
to the case with which I set out;--the padre in question was universally
spoken of as a man of good conduct, a sort of _pattern padre_ for
correct, steady habits; sedate, grave and middle aged, and apparently
the last man to have an eye for such a pretty _compagnera_."[33]

As the United States is now interested in the history of California, it
may not be uninteresting or unprofitable, in illustrating this subject,
to exhibit the mode of ecclesiastical operations in regard to proselytes
in that region, at a recent period.

"At a particular time of the year," we are told by Captain Beechey and
Mr. Forbes, "when the Indians can be spared from the agricultural
concerns of the establishment, many of them are permitted to take the
launch of the mission and make excursions to the Indian territory. On
these occasions the padres desire them to induce as many of their
unconverted brethren as possible to accompany them back to the mission,
of course implying that this is to be done only by persuasion; but the
boat being furnished with a cannon and musketry, and in every respect
equipped for war, it too often happens that the neophytes and the _gente
de razon_, who superintend the direction of the boat, avail themselves
of their superiority, with the desire of ingratiating themselves with
their masters and of receiving a reward. There are, besides, repeated
acts of aggression which it is necessary to punish, but all of which
furnish proselytes. Women and children are generally the first objects
of capture, as their husbands and parents sometimes voluntarily follow
them into captivity.

"One of these proselyting expeditions into their Indian territory
occurred during the period of Captain Beechey's visit in 1826, which
ended in a battle, with the loss, in the first instance, of thirty-four
of the converted, and eventually in the gain, by a second expedition
sent to avenge the losses of the first, of forty women and children of
the invaded tribes. These were immediately enrolled in the list of the
mission, and were nearly as immediately converted into Christians. The
process by which this was effected is so graphically described by
Captain Beechey that it would be doing him injustice to use any words
but his own.

"I happened, he says, to visit the mission about this time and saw these
unfortunate beings under tuition. They were clothed in blankets, and
arranged in a row before a blind Indian, who understood their dialect,
and was assisted by an alcalde to keep order. Their tutor began by
desiring them to kneel, informing them that he was going to teach them
the names of the persons composing the Trinity, and that they were to
repeat in Spanish what he dictated. The neophytes being thus arranged,
the speaker began: "Santissama Trinidad,--Dios, Jesu Christo, Espiritu
Santo"--pausing between each name, to listen if the simple Indians, who
had never spoken a Spanish word before, pronounced it correctly or any
thing near the mark. After they had repeated these names satisfactorily,
their blind tutor, after a pause, added "Santos"--and recapitulated the
names of a great many saints, which finished the morning's tuition.

"After a few days, no doubt these promising pupils were christened, and
admitted to all the benefits and privileges of Christians and _gente de
razon_. Indeed, I believe that the act of making the cross and kneeling
at proper times, and other such like mechanical rites, constitute no
small part of the religion of these poor people. The rapidity of the
conversion is, however, frequently stimulated by practices much in
accordance with the primary kidnapping of the subjects. If, as not
unfrequently happens, any of the captured Indians show a repugnance to
conversion, it is the practice to imprison them for a few days, and then
allow them to breathe a little fresh air in a walk round the mission, to
observe the happy mode of life of their converted countrymen; after
which they are again shut up, and thus continue incarcerated until they
declare their readiness to renounce the religion of their forefathers.'
As might be believed, the ceremonial exercises of the Roman Catholic
religion, occupy a considerable share of the time of these people. Mass
is performed twice daily, besides high-days and holydays, when the
ceremonies are much grander and of longer duration; and at all the
performances every Indian is obliged to attend under the penalty of a
whipping; and the same method of enforcing proper discipline as in
kneeling at proper times, keeping silence, &c., is not excluded from the
church service itself. In the aisles and passages of the church, zealous
beadles of the converted race are stationed, armed with sundry weapons
of potent influence in effecting silence and attention, and which are
not sparingly used on the refractory or inattentive. These consist of
sticks and whips, long goads, &c., and they are not idle in the hands of
the officials that sway them. * * *

"The unmarried of both sexes, as well adults as children, are carefully
locked up at night in separate houses, the keys being left in the
keeping of the Fathers; and when any breach of this rule is detected,
the culprits of both sexes are severely punished by whipping,--the men
in public, the women privately.

"It is obvious from all this, that these poor people are in fact slaves
under another name; and it is no wonder that La Perouse found the
resemblance painfully striking between their condition and that of the
negro slaves of the West Indies. Sometimes, although rarely, they
attempt to break their bonds and escape into their original haunts. But
this is of rare occurrence, as, independently of the difficulty of
escaping, they are so simple as to believe that they have hardly the
power to do so after being baptised, regarding the ceremony of baptism
as a sort of spell which could not be broken. Occasionally, however,
they overcome all imaginary and real obstacles and effect their escape.
In such cases, the runaway is immediately pursued, and as it is always
known to which tribe he belongs, and as, owing to the enmity subsisting
among the tribes, he will not be received by another, he is almost
always found and surrendered to the pursuers by his pusillanimous
countrymen. When brought back to the mission he is always first flogged
and then has an iron clog attached to his legs, which has the effect of
preventing his running away and marking him out, _in terrorem_, to

Additional testimony in regard to the evil practices of the Mexican
padres may be found in the delightful volumes of Madame Calderon de la
Barca, entitled "Life in Mexico," and published in 1842.
"Alas!"--exclaims this sprightly lady,--speaking of the wholesome
reforms introduced by the viceroy Revilla-Gigedo among the Mexican
monks,--"alas! could his excellency have lived to these our degenerate
days, and beheld certain monks, of a certain order, drinking _pulque_
and otherwise disporting themselves;--nay, seen one, as we but just now
did from our window, strolling along the street by lamp-light, with an
Indian girl tucked under his arm!"

The author of this slight but significant passage--an American lady of
the highest character and wife of the first minister sent by Spain to
Mexico,--cannot be flippantly contradicted by critics who would impute
to her either prejudice or ignorance.

Zavala, in his History of the Revolutions of Mexico from 1808 to 1830,
sketches briefly and forcibly some of the earlier features of
ecclesiastical control in his country. As he was a native and a
Catholic, he will not be accused of injustice to a church which he
endeavored to fasten on the nation by his adherence to the constitution
which made the Catholic faith the exclusive religion of the land. "They
created missionaries," says he, "who, by the aid of the soldiery, made
prodigious proselytes. * * * * * * * They prepared catechisms and small
formularies in the language of the natives, not for the perusal of the
Indians, who could not read, but in order to repeat them in their
pulpits and teach them by rote. There was not a single translation of
the sacred volume in any idiom of the country, and there was not an
elementary work containing the principles of their faith. But how could
such works exist for the Indians when their conquerors were unable to
read them? What I desire to prove by this is that religion was neither
taught the natives nor were they persuaded of its divine origin by proof
and argument; the whole foundation of their faith was the word of their
missionaries, and the reason of their belief was the bayonet of their
conquerors. * * * * * The dependence of the people was a sort of
slavery, a necessary consequence of the ignorance in which they were
brought up, of the terror with which the troops and authorities inspired
them, of their despotism and pride, and more than all, of an inquisition
sustained both by the military and by the religious superstitions of
monks and clergymen whose fanaticism was equal to their ignorance. * * *
* * The catechism of Padre Ripalda, which contains the maxims of a blind
obedience to the king and pope was the ground work of their religion;
and their priests, parents and masters inculcated these doctrines

Don Vincente Pazos, in his celebrated Letters on the United Provinces of
South America, does not even stop at the clergy, in charging a large
share of the miseries of his countrymen upon the ecclesiastical
establishment, but confounds the creed with its unworthy ministers, and
strikes even at the religion itself:

"Among the evils suffered by the Indians which have been a source of
unhappiness to them, as well as to all South America, is the Roman
Catholic religion, which was introduced among them by the Spaniards.
This religion, in countries where it predominates or is connected with
the government, is widely different from the same religion as it appears
in the United States of North America. Instead of being employed as all
religions ought to be, in directing the morals, purifying the hearts and
restraining the vices of the people,--it is so prostituted in Spanish
countries, that it has become nothing but a mass of superstitious
ceremonies, and the instrument of avarice and oppression."

The error of the patriotic writer is so evident that it does not need
exposure. The faith and the friar are different things. Yet how deep
must be the corruption of a class whose vices force an intelligent man,
born and educated in the bosom of the church, to denounce his religion
for the sake of its worthless teachers.

We have dwelt upon this subject because the religion--and especially the
protected state religion of a country--is always of deep interest when
we estimate the resources and character of a nation. Priests of all
creeds obtain a sacred character in the opinion of the multitude the
moment their vow is pronounced at the altar. The world believes that
they part with human nature in assuming the gown, and become in reality,
the _divines_ they are called in the fashionable nomenclature of the

The priest, whether Protestant, Catholic, Mahomedan or Chinese, is ever
an important, and often an omnipotent, member of the social world. And
it behooves society in the nineteenth century to cherish Christianity
instead of Flamens and Soothsayers.

It has been our principle through life to cultivate a genial feeling of
toleration towards all the various sects into which the great Christian
church is divided. We have resisted bigotry in all its shapes, and in
all its manifestations, from whatever source. Trusting in the essential
faith and discarding the external form, we have regarded all men who
knelt at the altar which was cemented with the blood of the Nazarine, as
a great brotherhood devoted to the religious regeneration and consequent
civilization of the world. In writing, therefore, of the Catholic church
in Mexico we have been pained to speak disparagingly of a part of the
priesthood, whose members, in our own country, we had early in life
learned to reverence for their virtuous piety, and admire for their
profound learning. We know that the great theoretical dogma of that
powerful church is its _unity_, and that its tenets, principles and
practices are universally the same throughout the world. For opinions
given and examples cited, in another work, we have been severely
rebuked, by one of the most learned theologians in the Roman church, who
argues our wilful error, upon this assumption of theoretical identity.
But we have the satisfaction to know, not only from Mexicans themselves,
but from American Catholics who visited the country since that criticism
was issued, that our descriptions, in no instance, surpassed the
reality, and that if the _tenets_, be in fact, the same as those
entertained by the church at Rome and in the United States, the
principles, and, especially, the _practices_ of many of its ministers,
vary extraordinarily from the principles and practices of its ministers
here. In another portion of this work we may, probably, notice some of
those practices more fully.[36]

The facts we have been obliged to state in regard to some of the
_materiel_ of the present Mexican ecclesiastical establishment do not
touch the dogmas of the Catholic church though they certainly indicate
so great a degree of laxity in the administration of a powerful moral,
civil and religious engine endowed with immense resources, that they
should attract the reforming notice of those pure branches of the Roman
fraternity whose proximity will best afford them the occasion to counsel
their brethren in an age of progress and competition not only in trade
but in religion. Texas has already improved under the auspices of a new
ecclesiastical administration since her union with the North American
states and her religious alliance with their Roman Catholic
Archbishopric. Nor is the importance of these ameliorations less
demanded at the hands of republican ecclesiastics when we recollect that
the federal constitution adopted in 1847, now the fundamental law of the
land, declares in its first title, that the "religion of the Mexican
nation is, and will be perpetually, the Catholic, apostolic, Roman. The
nation protects it by wise and just laws, and _prohibits the exercise of
any other_!" Men, in Mexico, must not only not _pray_ as they please,
but, constitutionally, they must not _believe_ as they please. A
priesthood which is thus indissolubly and exclusively welded to the
state in a republic, should be, indeed, peculiarly sacred and pure.
Sole, despotic ecclesiastical power, based upon numerical
strength,--intolerant of all other modes of worship or modifications of
Christianity,--is an anomaly in the nineteenth century, nor is it likely
that the civil liberty of a nation can ever become secure or worthy,
until religious liberty is, at least, permitted if not enjoined by its
paramount law. These two elements of human right and progress have ever
moved hand in hand. It is a mockery to separate them and tell the people
they are free. The indefeisible rights of _reason_ and judgment are
sapped and stifled. When conscience, even, must struggle with legal
shackles in its intercourse with God, what must be the conflict of the
soul in its intercourse with man!

    "We speak not of mens' _creeds_--they rest between
     Man and his Maker;"--

but we have confined our observations in this work, exclusively to those
painful exhibitions which cannot fail to strike a stranger as
disadvantageous both to intellectual progress and the pure and spiritual
adoration of God. The mixture of antique barbaric show and Indian rites,
may have served to attract the native population at the first settlement
of the country; but their continuance is in keeping neither with the
spirit of the age nor the necessities of a republic. While the
priesthood has contrived, in the course of centuries, to attract the
wealth of multitudes, and to make itself, in various ways, the richest
proprietor of the nation, the people have been impoverished and
continued ignorant. Not content with the natural influence possessed by
a church whose members are spread all over the republic, the hierarchy
of Mexico, has exacted a constitutional recognition not only of its
permanence, but of its right to exclude all other faiths, and all other
religious reunions for worship. It appears, therefore, just that in such
a republic it was the duty of the Roman church voluntarily to unfetter
its wealth, to reform its priesthood, to sweep into the public coffers
the useless jewels that adorn the altars and statues, yet do not glorify
the Almighty; and to imitate the virtues, resolution and self-denial of
its ministers in our country, who, while blending themselves in politics
and public spirit most effectually with the masses, have devoted their
lives to the education of people of all creeds and classes for support
and independence.

"Far from the goods of the church being exempted because they are
consecrated to God," says Vattel in his immortal work, "it is for that
very reason that they should be the first taken for the welfare of the
state. There is nothing more agreeable to the common Father of men than
to preserve a nation from destruction. As God has no need of property,
the consecration of goods to him, is their devotion to such purposes as
are pleasant to him. Besides,--the property of the church, by the
confession of the clergy themselves, is chiefly destined for the poor;
and when the state is in want, it is, doubtless, the first pauper, and
the worthiest of succor."[37]




Since the downfall of Iturbide the body politic of Mexico has passed
through many stages of revolutionary and factious disease. Four
constitutions have been formed and adopted by the people or their
temporary rulers independently of the Bases de Tacubaya, under which
Santa Anna ruled despotically until the month of June, 1843. These are
the Federal Constitution of 1824; the Bases y Leyes Constitutionales,
or, Central Constitution of 1836; the Bases Organicas de la Republica
Mejicana of 1843, and the restored Federal Constitution, with amendments
by an _acta de reformas_, in 1847. Five great organic changes, in
twenty-six years, have thus continually swayed the people between
Federation and Centralism; and we may hope that, after all these vital
alterations, besides all the minor military _pronunciamientos_ or
_gritos_, which, in the intervals have vexed the public tranquillity,
the country has, at length settled down firmly upon the reliable basis
of a great but balanced confederacy.

The Constitution of 1847 creates a Federal Republic; and, with the
exception of the intolerant articles in regard to religion upon which we
have commented in the preceding chapter, it is a document worthy of
freemen who desire to avoid consolidation and are anxious to preserve
the distinct, responsible activity of their states. This instrument,
after indicating the subdivision of the whole territory into the states
heretofore enumerated in Chapter 1st, deposes the national legislative
power in a Congress formed of a house of representatives and a senate,
the representatives being chosen every two years by the citizens of the
states, in the ratio of one for every fifty thousand souls or for any
fraction beyond twenty-five thousand, while the senate is composed of
two members from each state, elected by the legislatures, one-third of
that body being renewable every two years. There are now one hundred and
forty deputies, each of whom receives a salary of three thousand
dollars; and sixty-three senators, whose yearly pay is three thousand
five hundred each.

The executive power resides in a president, who is eligible every four
years, and cannot be re-elected except after an interval of four years.
There is no vice president; and, in case of the death or perpetual
incompetency of the president, congress, or in its recess the council of
government, shall call upon the state legislatures to fill his place by
election. The ordinary and regular election of the chief magistrate, of
deputies, senators and ministers of the supreme court of justice, is to
be regulated by general laws, and may be either by the people directly
or by electoral colleges; but in these indirect elections no one can be
named, either as a primary or secondary elector, who holds a political
office or exercises civil, ecclesiastical, or military jurisdiction in
the district he represents. The salary of the president is thirty-six
thousand dollars a year. During the recess of the general congress a
council of government is to be constantly in existence, composed of one
half of the senate, one member being retained from each state. The
duties of this council are confined chiefly to a salutary vigilance over
the constitution and laws, and to the convocation of extraordinary
sessions of the national legislature, either in conjunction with the
president or by its sole act. The cabinet consists of a minister of
foreign and domestic affairs; a minister of justice; a minister of
finance; a minister of war and marine, each of whom receive an annual
salary of six thousand dollars.

Each state government is independent within its local jurisdiction, and,
like the federal government has, executive, legislative and judicial
powers. The law making power of each of these governments resides in a
legislature composed of the number of members which may be determined by
its separate constituency, all of whom shall be elected by the people
and removable at the time and in the manner they may think proper to
decree. The persons to whom the sovereign states confide their executive
power, can only exercise it for a time fixed by each respective state
constitution. The power and jurisdiction of the national judiciary are
amply defined so as to avoid conflict. The state judicial power is to be
exercised by the tribunals created or appointed by the state
constitutions, and all civil or criminal causes recognized by those
courts shall be conducted in them to a final hearing and to the
execution of the sentence. Every male person either born in the republic
or naturalized, who attains the age of twenty years, possesses the means
of honest livelihood, and has not been sentenced by legal process for
any infamous crime, is declared to be a citizen of Mexico, and enjoys
the right to vote, to petition, to meet others in the discussion of
public affairs and to belong to the national guard. The exercise of
these rights of citizenship may however be suspended in consequence of
confirmed intemperance, professional gambling, a vagabond life, the
assumption of religious orders, by legal interdict, in virtue of crimes
which cause loss of citizenship, and by inexcusable refusal to serve in
public employment when appointed by the people.


The federal constitution of 1824, introduced into Mexico, as we have
seen, two general orders of tribunals; those of a _federal_ or
_national_ character, and those of the _states_. The power of these
judiciaries was deposited in a supreme court, and in circuit and
district courts; and causes were taken from one to the other, by
appeals, or in other words, passed by grades from the lowest to the
highest, according to the nature of the transactions they involved. The
jurisdiction of these courts was of course very extensive; yet it was
not paramount or universal over all classes of Mexican society, inasmuch
as large numbers of Mexicans were exempted by _fueros_ or special
privileged jurisdictions, from the control of the constitutional courts.
The _fueros_ were chiefly those of the military and ecclesiastics. There
was a common military _fuero_ in civil and criminal matters, which
authorized the parties to have their causes tried before the commanding
generals, and, on appeals, before the supreme tribunal of War and
Marine, whilst there was another right of trial, or jurisdiction for
military misdemeanors, before the council of war of general officers.
There were, besides these, three special _fueros_ of war;--one of
artillery, one of engineers, and another of the active militia. The
ecclesiastical _fuero_, gave an appeal from the bishop to the
metropolitan, or from the archbishop to the nearest prelate;--if the
metropolitan commenced a cause, an appeal lay to the bishop who was his
nearest neighbor; and, on a third trial, to another neighboring
episcopate. Notwithstanding these military and ecclesiastical _fueros_
were permitted to exist by special favoritism after the republic was
formed, the Mexicans suppressed, after 1824, the _fueros_ of the
consulados and of the mineria, or the mercantile and mining tribunals,
both of which were sanctioned by experience or convenience, and whose
foundations had been laid in the best principles of jurisprudence. To
compensate, however, for the destruction of such useful institutions, it
was determined that, in the federal districts and territories, suits
growing out of mercantile transactions should be decided, in the first
instance, by the "Alcaldes" or judges _de letras_, with whom were
associated two colleagues proposed by the parties, and from whom an
appeal might be taken to the supreme court. No special tribunal was
created for the mining interests. In the federal districts and
territories a primary tribunal was constituted for the trial of
culprits, before an Alcalde and two Regidores; from whom an appeal lay
to another _Alcalde_ or _Regidor_ and two associates, one of whom was
named by the Syndic, and the other by the criminal. This correctional
police, which has since been somewhat modified, disposed summarily of
the greater part of malefactors in Mexico, and was empowered to sentence
to the extent of six years imprisonment. The central constitution of
1836 modified this judicial system, and constituted judges _de
partido_,--_Jueces Departamentales_, and a supreme court. The federal
jurisdiction was confined to admirality cases, fiscal transactions, and
causes which concerned the public functionaries, while the military and
ecclesiastical tribunals were left untouched.

Santa Anna during his last administration suppressed the district and
circuit judiciary, and extended the jurisdiction of the common
tribunals. But he restored the mercantile and mining "_fueros_" which
were loudly demanded by public opinion. One of the few really good and
useful provisions of the Spanish constitution has always been preserved
in all the changes of Mexican legislation. This is the _judgment of
conciliation_, by which litigant parties were prohibited from
originating an action until they procured a certificate from an
Alcalde,--who was not a lawyer,--that a judgment by arbitration or
conciliation had failed before him on trial. This is an admirable device
and terminates multitudes of law suits in Mexico when men fear to
encounter the costs and procrastination of the courts. It might be
successfully grafted on our own system of tribunals, where it would
doubtless benefit the clients though it might impair the professional
revenue of the counsellors.

By the readoption of the federal constitution of 1824, in the year 1847,
the judicial system was brought back from the changes of 1836 and 1843
to its former condition. The laws of Mexico, founded upon the old
Spanish colonial legislation, and improved, in some measure, by the
modification of state and national legislatures under the republic,
constitute a vast and chaotic mass of principles, commentaries and
decisions, which require a life time of studious toil to master and
expound. The mixture of constitutional tribunals and specially
privileged jurisdictions, under the system of _fueros_,--created a
complication of judicial functions, which greatly narrowed the chances
of a pure administration of law. The Mexican advocates, among whom many
are distinguished for their learning and studious habits, are not, when
considered as a professional body, comparable, either in information or
ability, to their British, French, German or American brethren. The
cumbrous formalities of Spanish law form a prolific hot-bed of special
pleading, chicanery, and delay. A Mexican law suit is a proverb of
procrastination. There are cases in Mexico in which the first paper was
filed more than a hundred years ago. The suitor is not only impeded by
every device that cunning and exaction can throw in his way, but there
is cause to believe that the path of justice is sometimes impeded by the
barrier of a bribe. If a Mexican lawyer is unable to force his cause to
a final verdict, he is at least always prepared to assign plausible
reasons for the tedious delay with which it halts and lingers in the
forums. Nor is the value of legal costs unknown in Mexico, either by
judges, notaries, or clerks. In proportion as the litigants are wealthy,
or as it is necessary that their cause should be speedily decided, so
are the greedy officials slow in preparing it for a final hearing and
decree. The maxim in Mexico is--"_mas vale una mala composicion que un
buen pleito_,"--a bad compromise is better than a good law suit. "There
are men,"--said a member of the Mexican cabinet to congress, in
1830,--"who exercise the right of life and death over their equals, whom
the arm of justice does not venture to reach; and, thus, as the bonds of
society are effectually dissolved, individuals owe security, rather to
their personal power, than to the protection they have a right to expect
from the laws." There are many criminals throughout the republic who
have long offended with impunity while every species of chicanery has
been taken advantage of to secure their life and liberty. Witnesses are
sometimes intimidated, false oaths sworn, and terrible menaces whispered
in the ears of the timid; nor are these base threats always left
unexecuted if the victim is finally condemned and punished.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the space of six months, during the end of 1841 and beginning of
1842, several horrible assassinations were perpetrated in Mexico. An
old Spanish porter was slain and cruelly mutilated in his dwelling, in
the capital. So scandalous a deed excited universal indignation. The
judicial authorities of the capital ordered rigorous proceedings against
the culprit, but, after the case had been tried, and the murderer
condemned to lose his life, he was pardoned in consequence of a threat
that he would make important or disagreeable revelations if the sentence
were executed. Another Spaniard,--a planter of standing in his
district,--was murdered by the servants of a neighboring _haciendado_,
with whom he had a dispute in regard to water-rights. The cause was
tried, and the instigator and his tools were imprisoned. Yet the arm of
justice was withheld by intrigue and corruption. Another Spanish
planter, in the south,--a physician by profession, and a man incapable
of injuring any one,--was foully killed by a band of Indians, nine of
whom were shot for the crime. These miserable wretches had been but the
instruments of higher criminals who were well known to the public,
nevertheless they were too powerful to be made responsible for their
shameful crime. At Tacubaya, in 1842, an English gentleman and his wife,
whilst indulging in an evening walk were assassinated and brutally
mutilated. But justice was for a long time foiled in its retributive
efforts. Nor is it likely that the culprits would ever have expiated
their guilt on the scaffold had not the foreign population loudly
demanded, and liberally paid for their conviction. In 1839, the Mexican
judges gave a striking example of firmness in the execution of a capital
sentence, decreed in a case which lasted four years against a colonel of
the army and his companions. It was proved that this scoundrel whilst
residing in the national palace as one of the aid-de-camps of the
president, had been the chief of a band of robbers who committed their
offences not only on the highway, but in the metropolis itself. The
honorable result in this case was chiefly owing to the firmness of the
attorney general, who resisted the threats and the bribes of the
criminal's powerful friends. Yet he, probably, paid for his firmness
with his life, for he died shortly after the execution, and there is
reason to believe, that he perished by foul means. During the
administration of Santa Anna in 1842 and 1843, the most energetic
efforts were made to free the country and the public roads, from the
hordes of robbers that thronged them. The highway from Vera Cruz to
Mexico was filled with thieves, whose favorite haunts were in the
neighborhoods of Perote and Puebla, within the hearing of whose
sentinels they almost daily exercised their vocation upon travellers in
the diligence. Santa Anna placed large bodies of cavalry on the route
as soon as he came to power, and numerous arrests were made which were
followed by the prompt conviction and execution of the bandits. No mercy
was shown. The robbers were _garroted_, in pairs, in the towns along the
road and in the capital; and thousands turned out morning after morning
to witness the tragic end of these merciless wretches. For a short time
the road was free; but, in a few months, new bands replaced the executed
robbers, and, since the war with the United States, the main highway of
Mexico has become as insecure as of old.


The prisons of the city of Mexico are in a wretched condition, and,
although it has often been proposed to introduce some of the modern
penitentiary systems of Europe and the United States, we are not aware
that any thing has been done to effect this desirable end. The ACCORDADA
is the common prison of Mexico. In front of one of its wings, at a low
window protected by stout iron bars, are laid, every morning, the dead
bodies that have been found throughout the city during the night. Every
day these frightful evidences of murder or violent death are exposed to
the gaze of citizens as they pass onward towards the western limits of
the city. Sometimes five dead bodies have been seen at one time in this
Morgue of Mexico;--and, on days succeeding festivals, the number is
sometimes largely augmented. These unfortunate wretches are the victims
of quarrels, or sudden fights;--and the front of the deadly window is
commonly crowded with women and children--the relatives of the victims
who come thither to seek after or to gaze their last on friend, father
or husband.

Loathsome as is this exhibition on the exterior of the Accordada, the
interior of this edifice is scarcely less frightful. Like all large
Spanish edifices it is quadrangular. A strong military guard watches the
gate, and a gloomy stairway leads to the second story, whose entrance is
guarded by a massive portal. Inside of this, a lofty room is filled with
the prison officers and a crowd of subalterns engaged in writing,
talking, smoking and walking, whilst the clank of chains, the shouts of
prisoners and the constant din of a disorderly establishment, add to the
disgusting sounds and demeanor within.

Passing through several iron and wood barred gates, you enter a lofty
corridor, running around a quadrangular court-yard, in the centre of
which, below, is a fountain of troubled water. The whole of this area is
filled with human beings,--the great congress of Mexican crime,--mixed
and mingling, like a hill of busy ants swarming from their sandy
caverns. Some are stripped and bathing in the fountain;--some are
fighting in a corner;--some making baskets in another. In one place a
crowd is gathered around a witty story-teller, relating the adventures
of his rascally life. In another, a group is engaged in weaving with a
handloom. Robbers, murderers, thieves, ravishers, felons of every
description, and vagabonds of every grade or aspect, are crammed within
this dismal court-yard; and, almost free from discipline or moral
restraint, form, perhaps, the most splendid school of misdemeanor and
villany on the American continent.

Below,--within the corridor of the second story,--another class of
criminals is kept; and yet, even here, men under sentence of death, are
pointed out who are still permitted to go about without restraint.

In one corner of the quadrangle is the chapel, where convicts for
capital offences are condemned to solitude and penance, during the
_three_ last days of their miserable life; and, at a certain hour, it is
usual for all the prisoners to gather in front of the door and chant a
hymn for the victim of the laws. It is a solemn service of crime for

The women are not generally seen in the Accordada, but their condition
is but little better than that of the males. About one hundred of the
men, chained in pairs like galley slaves, are driven daily, under a
strong guard, into the streets as scavengers; and it seems to be the
chief idea of the utility of prisons in Mexico, to support this class of
coerced laborers.

There can be no apology, at this period of general enlightenment in the
world, for such disgraceful exhibitions of the congregated vice of a
country or capital. Punishments, or rather incarceration or labor on the
streets, is in reality no sacrifice, because public exhibition deadens
the felon's shame, inasmuch as such inflictions cannot become
punishments, under any circumstances of a _lepero's_ life. Indeed, what
_object_ in existence can the Mexican _lepero_ propose to himself? His
day is one of precarious labor and income;--he thieves;--he has no
regular home, or if he has, it is some miserable hovel of earth and mud,
where his wife and children crawl about with scarce the instinct of
beavers. His food and clothing are scant and miserable. He is without
education or prospect of social improvement. He belongs to a class that
does not rise, for his class is ostracised by hereditary public opinion.
He dulls his sense of present misery by intoxicating drinks. His quick
temper stimulates him to quarrel. His sleep, after a debauch, is
unrefreshing, and he only wakes to encounter another day of uncertainty
and wickedness. What, then, is the value of life to him, or one like
him? Why toil? Why not steal? What shame has he? Is the prison, _with
certainty of food_, a greater punishment than the free air with
_uncertainty_? On the contrary, he regards it as a lighter punishment,
whilst he is altogether insensible to its moral degradation.

Mexico will thus continue to be infested with felons, as long as its
prison is a house of refuge, and a comparatively happy home to so large
a portion of its outcasts.[38]


The following table exhibits the condition of the public prisons of
Mexico in 1826.

             Inmates on the 31st Dec., 1825,                 553
           {For Homicides and their accomplices,   151}
  Entered  { "  Robbery,  "     "        "       1,090}
  in 1826. { "  Rioting and bearing arms,        2,011}    4,750
           { "  Incontinence (incontinencia,)      543}
           { "  Various crimes,                    955}
            Total number of persons,                       5,303
                           Of these there were

          Released,                               4,155}
          Sentenced to death by garrotte,             7}
              "     to prison for terms,             67}
              "     to public works,                159}    4,628
              "     to house of correction,           3}
              "     to service of the prison,       229}
              "     chained at various places,        8}
          Remaining on the 31st December, 1826,               675


          Entered prison, to be judged by military tribunals, 462
          Sentenced to punishment,                    8}
              "     to prison,                       48}
              "     to military service,              5}
              "     to public works,                 55}
              "     to house of correction,           6}      362
          Liberated,                                212}
          Escaped,                                   12}
          Died                                        2}
          Delivered to the ordinary tribunals,       14}
            Remaining at end of 1826                          100

A Mexican statistical bulletin, presents the following picture of the
criminal condition of the federal district, for the 8 first months of
the year 1836. During this period there were 255 _arrests_; 53 were
immediately released and 202 remained in prison. These were divided as

  Homicide,                   5
  Wounding severely,         30
  Robbery,                    8
  Attempt to rob,            12
  Suspected of robbery,      30
  Rioting,                   37
  Incontinence,               4
  Counterfeiting money,      15
  Forgery of documents,       1
  Drunkenness,               17
  Quarreling,                41
  Resistance of authority.    2
        Total,              202

which would give for the whole twelve months, at the same rate, 269 for
the number retained.

In this statement, fifteen individuals are reported as being imprisoned
for counterfeiting coin, yet it is notorious that, at this epoch, all
Mexico was converted into a manufactory of false money, for the country
was deluged with copper. It is boldly alleged that deputies, generals,
and merchants, participated in this scandalous and bold speculation.
Santa Anna, in order to check this national evil, decreed that
counterfeiting should be considered a _military crime_, and the
offenders made liable to the summary and severe trials which usually
take place when soldiers are both judges and jurymen.

       *       *       *       *       *

The subjoined statistics bring these statements nearer our own period,
and afford means of comparison with antecedent dates:


  In the first 6 months of 1842, there were imprisoned in
    the city of Mexico,                               3,197 men.
  In the first 6 months of 1842,    "    "      "     1,427 women.
  In the second 6 months of 1842,   "    "      "     2,858 men.
  In the second 6 months of 1842,   "    "      "     1,379 women.
  Imprisonment of both sexes this year,               8,861

We will not swell these tables by specifying each of the crimes for
which these 8861 individuals were incarcerated; but will merely note the
chief violations of law and the number of the respective offenders:

                                                       Men.   Women.   Total.
  Robbery,                                           1,500     470     1970
  Prostitution, adultry, bigamy, sodomy and incest,    312     179      491
  Quarreling, wounding,                              2,129   1,140    3,233
  Rioting and bearing arms,                            612     444    1,056
  Homicide and attempt at ditto, and robbery and
    homicide,                                           70      17       87
  Rape and incontinence,                                65      21       86
  Forgery,                                               7       1        8
  Gambling,                                              3       0        3
                                Total,                                 6934

                     High grades of crime,        6934
                     Misdemeanors,                1927
                     Total,                       8861

$4,121 were expended for salaries in the Acordada; and $30,232 for the
maintenance of the prisoners. It should be stated, moreover that a large
number of the above criminals were committed and punished for throwing
vitriol on the dress and faces of persons in the street;--that 113 dead
bodies were found;--894 individuals sent to hospitals; and 17 executed
by the _garrotte_. The culprit who is sentenced to this mode of
expiating his crime is seated in a chair on the scaffold, whilst his
neck is embraced by an iron collar which may be contracted by a screw. A
sudden and rapid turn of the lever drives a sharp point through the
spinal marrow at the moment that the band closes around the throat and
strangles the victim.

     NOTE.--In confirmation of all we have said in this chapter in
     regard to the administration and condition of law in Mexico, and in
     relation to the army, we refer to an able pamphlet published in
     that country, in 1848, entitled "_Consideraciones sobre la
     Situacion Politica y Social de la Republica Mejicaen el ano 1847_,"
     written, we understand, by Don Francisco Lerdo. It presents a dark
     picture of the country at that epoch; but the author's purpose was
     to unmask the social and political diseases of his country, and his
     patriotic task was the more needed because that country was on the
     brink of ruin from war.

     It is to be especially noted with commendation that the Mexicans
     have recently become the severest critics not only of their
     institutions but of themselves. The miserable, boasting
     spirit,--the taste for grandiloquent proclamations,--the
     indiscriminate laudation of Mexican virtue, talent, science, honor,
     valor, and justice, which filled the papers and pamphlets of the
     nation, but which were never sustained when the Mexicans came in
     contact either with highly cultivated foreigners or were opposed by
     foreign arms, have all been greatly qualified since the war. The
     combined lessons of her unsparing but truthful satirists and of her
     invading enemies, will not be lost on a people really sensible and
     sensitive, though bewildered for more than a quarter of a century
     during which bombast served for glory or consolation when anarchy
     was not altogether triumphant. In confirmation of this growing
     spirit of self-examination with a view to national reform, we would
     also refer to the discreet and able memoir of Don Luis G. Cuevas,
     minister of foreign and domestic relations, read by him before the
     Chamber of Deputies, on the 5th of January, 1849.




Every reader who has accompanied us thus far in studying the history,
geography, resources, and character of Mexico, will scarcely require to
be told why it is that the nation has continued disorganized and become
impoverished in the midst of such abundance as has been lavished upon it
by the beneficence of God. At the conclusion of our chapter upon the
commerce of Mexico we described the remarkable geographical position of
the territory, and have shown that, by the laws of nature, it ought to
enjoy a controlling influence in the affairs of the world. And yet
almost three centuries and a half have rolled over since Cortéz planted
the Spanish banner on the palaces of Tenochtitlan, and still the
question may be asked whether the region is more progressive under
republican and royal rule than under Aztec sway? The world has advanced
in commerce, manufactures, science, literature and arts, but Mexico has
remained comparatively fixed in the midst of a stagnant
semi-civilization. She has not exhibited a true warlike character either
in her domestic broils or in her opposition to a foreign invader, though
her soil has been converted into a camp for nearly forty years. She has
confessed her manifold errors by her indemnities and her diplomacy,
though she has contrived to invite quarrels, discussions and affronts by
an aggressive demeanor towards sojourners in her territory. A religious
country by the protective sanction of all her constitutions, still she
denies the right of conscientious worship to all who come within her
borders. With a military police, and an immense array of judicial
officers, her cities and highways are thronged with felons while the
disputes of her citizens linger undecided for years in her courts. Her
domestic markets are dear, and she has but little to spare for foreign
commerce, though her soil is extraordinarily fertile and her climate
yields the fruits and grains of the temperate and tropical zones.
Throned on mines, she is a borrower at exhorbitant usury. Washed by the
two great oceans of the globe, her mariners are fishermen and her
vessels skiffs. Ready at all times to borrow from every capitalist, she
sees her opulent citizens send their wealth abroad for investment in
spite of the tempting interest she promises to pay. Boasting of faith,
she is without credit. At peace with mankind and fortified by nature,
she is forced to maintain an army either to protect her from herself or
to bribe the innumerable remnants of her military politicians into
peace. Endowed with a constitution and enjoying the name of a republic,
she beholds that constitution violated or overthrown by her army without
even demanding the consent of the people. Vaunting, in the most
grandiloquent language, her intelligence, glory and resources, she
exhibits not a single evidence of that patriotic unity and order which
would entitle her to domestic confidence and foreign respect. Owning an
extensive territory which is attractive not only for its essential
qualities but for its magnificent beauty and grandeur, she has drawn to
her shores, since the conquest, only a million of white men. Losing
Texas, which in her hands had been, for all this time, a howling
wilderness possessed by beasts and savages, she sees that state become,
under the magic influence of another race, an independent nation, a
maritime power, a commercial territory yielding millions annually for
the trade of the world. Surrendering California as a boon for peace, she
beholds in a single year, the sands that had been trodden by her own
people for several centuries, turn to gold in the developing hand of the
energetic emigrants to whom it was given up. Impoverished, haughty,
uneducated, defiant, bigoted, disputatious, without financial credit,
beaten in arms, far behind the age in mechanical progress or social
civilization and loaded with debt, Mexico presents a spectacle in the
nineteenth century, which moves the compassion of reflective men even if
it does not provoke the cupidity of other races to wrest from her weak
grasp a region whose value she neither comprehends nor develops. This
compassion is the result of a genuine sympathy with the true patriots
who really love their country and know its worth, but whose numbers are
too few to cope with the scandalous intriguers and ambitious soldiers by
whom the nation has hitherto been converted into a gambling table and
its money and offices into prizes.

In the introductory chapters upon the viceroyal government and
revolution of Mexico, and in our remarks upon the growth of parties at
the close of the war of independence, we have endeavored to exhibit
fairly the existing causes of trouble at those epochs.[39] There was an
apology for incapability of political self-rule when a bad government or
a degrading despotism was suddenly removed. But, since then, twenty-six
years have elapsed; and, in more than a quarter of a century, mankind is
fairly entitled to demand from Mexico a denial of the sarcasm of her
oppressive _oidor_ Bataller "that the worst punishment to be inflicted
upon the Mexicans is to allow them to govern themselves!"

Dark as is this picture of neighboring republicans, we should have been
loth to paint it had not our careful studies of their statistics and the
commentaries of their own citizens justified the sombre coloring. "For
our own part we believe,"--says Don Francisco Lerdo, in his
Considerations upon the Social and Political Condition of the Mexican
Republic in 1847,--"that all this may be explained in a few words. _In
Mexico there neither is nor can there be what is called national spirit,
because there is no nation._"[40]

This, perhaps, is the key of Mexican decadence. The national spirit is
centrifugal, if any thing can strictly be called national when citizen
is armed against citizen, and when men in civil life and politicians in
public life, are constantly seeking to aggrandize themselves either in
wealth or power without a thought of loyalty to the constitution which
should perpetuate and consolidate national unity of principle and action
in spite of all their personal ambitions or party dominations.

If we recur to our statistics in the third chapter of this volume we
shall find that, out of seven millions six hundred and twenty-six
thousand eight hundred and thirty-one inhabitants of the republic, it is
calculated that four millions three hundred thousand are Indians, that
more than two millions are either mixed bloods or negroes, and only
about one million white, while, of the whole population, not many more
than seven hundred and forty thousand are to be regarded as either
educated or at all instructed! The most numerous class, the large
majority of Mexicans,--the Indians,--are not civilized. We make this
assertion without qualification. They are _tamed_ and have been
comparatively submissive; they are not open idolators and have generally
conformed, according to their limited understanding and instruction, to
the direction of the Catholic priesthood; but neither this taming nor
this conformity, considered relatively to their general demeanor,
constitute civilization either under a monarchy or a republic. The
Indians, therefore, regarded as a political or social element in a
democracy, are not fairly to be valued as integral constituencies of the
Mexican _republic_. We have already delineated the character of this
class and will not recapitulate the points of sluggish indifference
which forbid the hope of its elevation. Less savage than the North
American red man and hunter, the Mexican Indian is only dwarfed in
energy and in the expression of passion, by the emasculating influence
of the climate. In all other respects he resembles the tenant of our
western forests and will neither willingly mingle with us, adopt our
habits, nor labor for others upon a soil which spontaneously supplies
his wants. In his passive state he is content with imitation; in his
aroused anger he rushes blindly and vindictively into danger, and is
willing to die rather for revenge than for right. Is it not folly then
to ask this class to comprehend the representative system? Nor can we
justly expect its comprehension and correspondent adherence or practice
from the unenlightened Mixed Races, especially when those races do not
derive their origin, exclusively, from pure white stocks, but are formed
by a medly mosaic of Indian, African, Oriental and Spanish. The hope of
Mexico must, therefore, repose in the whites alone; and, on this class
we might confidently rely as the nucleus around which future numbers and
civilization would gather, if we found them orderly, free, united and
firm in adherence to their constitution modified by the indispensable
addition of religious liberty and the speedy as well as inflexible
administration of justice. But, in this small class, we have the most
serious difficulties to contend with, for, without constitutional
recognition, the officers of the army, the hierarchy, and the intriguing
politicians, form three distinct powerful bodies who must blend in
perfect union for mutual support, or must be content to see the country
involved in civil war if they differ.

We have already noticed the origin and continuance of the army's
influence, and the natural despotic tendencies of that class. It
represents Force. It is, moreover, a historical fact, that the Mexican
church does not confine itself to matters of faith, but, as the richest
national proprietor and as the comptroller of conscience by virtue of
the constitution, has constantly quitted the cloister to fight in the
arena of politics. Nor was its weapon weak, for it was armed with
Superstition. Wielding the bolts of spiritual thunder in a nation in
which no other religion is tolerated or known; possessing the power of
discovery by confession, and of control by penance, excommunication,
anathemas, and ecclesiastical interdicts; ruling the soul without
appeal, and grasping the purse, it will be at once seen what a powerful
element of influence such an institution must become when directed by a
single head. If the masses would prey upon the church, it was the policy
of the church to support the army; if the people desired to destroy the
army, it was the interest of the army to support a church which could
control by conscience or bribe by money the miscalled representatives of
the people.[41] With force and superstition, thus welded together by
interest, the representative system can expect but little favor from
these two important divisions of the white race.

Is there hopeful reliance, then, upon another power which is controlled
by a portion of the educated whites? The Liberty of the Press, in Mexico
has disappointed its warmest advocates. An instrument which should ever
be used for the enlightenment of the multitude has been employed only to
demoralize and deceive it. Instead of attacking bravely all abuses of
administration and all international prejudices, or weaknesses; instead
of holding the executive departments to strict accountability before the
chambers and the people; instead of displaying frankly the vital
interests and materials of social reorganization, and thus contributing
to the common prosperity and peace of the country, the periodical press
of Mexico, with few honorable exceptions, has fostered the meanest
passions and hatreds of the ignorant masses and has betrayed public
opinion by trafficking with or truckling to the men or the classes who
live by public abuses and disorder.[42] Instead of checking and
thwarting the interference of the church in civil affairs, it has stood
mute or appalled before the ecclesiastical power. If there is no
reliance, therefore, on the press, what available trust may be reposed
in the pure, civil patriots, men of letters, professional characters,
merchants and proprietors? The slender numbers of this class, compared
with the army, church, Empleados or government _employées_, and
intriguing civilians connected either with the state in its various
departments of _finance_, or with the press, at once deprive it of
equality in influence. In all the turns of fortune in Mexico, these men
have, hitherto, never been able to command the country for any length of
time so as to give a permanent beneficial direction to public affairs,
and we may, therefore, readily agree with Lerdo in believing that his
country possesses no elements of nationality. He might have gone further
in his analysis, and declared that there was no nationality because
there was no PEOPLE; for who will dignify with that republican name such
discordant and heterogeneous materials of races, characters, politics
and purposes. A PEOPLE is not a mere aggregation of human beings. A
nation, in the true sense of nationality, is only a great family, for
whose strength and power it is necessary that all its individual members
should be intimately united by the bonds of interest, sympathy and
affection. Such a nation may form a government, but it is difficult for
a government to form such a nation. And this was the peculiarly
fortunate position of our North American states at the period of
Independence, for we had no political and social revolution to effect.
Our people and our government grew up together. At the close of the war
the United States were poor. The military men had enjoyed no revenue
from their services but personal honor. They were badly fed, paid and
clothed. There was no rich, ready made prize to be seized by ambitious
or avaricious men in the gorged treasury of a nation. All were
essentially equal because all were equally forced to work for
livelihood. There was no recognized class in government or society. We
were all of one blood, and did not fall into the error of amalgamation
with Indians and negroes. We were controlled by reason and not governed
by passions or instincts. We had nothing but liberty and space; soil and
freedom. Our soldiers were rewarded with land; but that land was in the
wilderness and exacted toil to make it productive; and thus, compulsory
industry diverted the minds of our political founders from those
ambitious enterprises, which by the aid of the military have so long
degraded Mexico. Conquest and rapid Fruition,--was the maxim of Spain;
Occupation and Development,--the policy of England. The eager Iberian
was prompt and headlong in the adventurous life of discovery. The
cautious Anglo Saxon followed in his steps, ready to glean and replant
the fields that had been hardly reaped of their virgin harvests.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have endeavored to analyze candidly the condition of the Mexican
republic, and, in performing the disagreeable task we have been guided
not only by our own personal observations in the country, but by the
argumentative criticisms of native writers. Having ascertained the
disease it is our duty to seek the remedy. The obvious policy of Mexico,
under existing circumstances, is to exhibit a firm, constitutional,
orderly, peaceful aspect, which, together with her manifold allurements
of soil, climate, and geographical situation, will gradually attract to
her shores the eager multitudes who are seeking a new home in America.
Emigration is the overflowing of a bitter cup. Men do not ordinarily
leave the land of their birth, the home of their infancy, their parents,
friends and companions, for the untried hazards of a land in which there
is no community of laws, habits, and language, unless poverty and bad
government force them into the wilderness. They depart to better their
lot. They must have the assurance, therefore, of their rights in
property and personal liberty guarantied by stable laws promptly
administered by incorruptible judges. Such meritorious emigrants will
not populate Mexico unless she demonstrates her capacity for order and
security; and, without these accessions, we have shown that Mexico never
will, as she does not now, possess a republican PEOPLE. She must
cultivate the _civil_ idea; she must abandon her military parade; she
must discard her habitual bombast and grandiloquence; she must banish
the despots who have debauched and plundered her; she must reform her
social life and learn to believe that there are other pleasures worthy
the notice of men besides gambling, bull baiting and cock fighting; and,
above all, she must establish religious liberty. It is an absurd idea
that nationality can be preserved by enforcing Catholicity by virtue of
the constitution. The Roman church must consent to share this
earth,--the patrimony of mankind,--with other believers and spiritual
laborers. It cannot monopolize the soil, even if it can control the
faith. The day of monoply is gone,--that of individuality has come, and
there can be no good government that is not founded on tolerant
Christianity, which is the creed of Love, the enemy of Force, the
founder of true Democracy.[43]

When an orderly and firm government shall have been established, Mexico
will be refreshed continually by the energizing blood of a hardy,
industrious and enterprising white race from beyond the sea. Germany
will send her sons and daughters; Ireland, France, England, Italy and
Spain will contribute theirs. The various nations, mingling slowly by
marriage with the white Mexicans, will amalgamate and neutralize each
other into homogeneous nationality. Mexico may thus gradually congregate
A PEOPLE. The language of the country will, in all likelihood, be
preserved; for the white natives who now speak Spanish will of course
form, for many years, the bulk of the population, and when they die,
their offspring and the offspring of the emigrants will know but one
tongue. There will thus be no violent extirpation of races; but a slow
and genial modification. Modern inventions, arts, tastes, science,
emulation, new forms of thought, new modes of development, will be
introduced and implanted by these emigrants. The million of white men,
and the two millions of mestizos, will become more prosperous under the
increased trade and industry of the nation. A good government will be
ensured, for the hardy emigrants fly from the political oppression and
poverty of the old world to enjoy peaceful _liberty_ in this.

There is nothing in this scheme of progress to which a good man or a
republican can object, and if Mexico is sincere in her professions of
democracy, and not merely anxious to preserve intact the fragments of a
ruined Spanish colony, _without a people and without nationality_, she
will imitate the example of the United States and welcome to her vallies
and mountains all who are willing to approach her in the name of order,
labor, and liberty. But if she stubbornly adheres to her stupid
self-seclusion, and bars the portals of her splendid empire with the
revolutionary impediments that are annually scattered over the republic,
she will break the beautiful promise given to humanity in the success of
her revolution;

    "Something there was in her life incomplete, imperfect, unfinished,
    As if a morning in June with all its music and sunshine,
    Suddenly paused in the sky, and fading slowly descended
    Into the east again, from whence it late had arisen!"





In treating this branch of our subject we have followed the order
adopted by Mühlenpfordt in his "Republik Mejico," and acknowledge the
important assistance we have derived from the careful, minute and
laborious personal researches made by that industrious German author
relative to the geography of Mexico. Since the publication of his
volumes, in which he had been greatly aided by the previous works of
Humboldt, Ward, Burkhardt and other explorers during the present
century, the Mexican government has organized a Statistical Commission,
whose investigations have been published in a series of Bulletins, and
to these we are indebted for recent authentic information about some of
the most interesting portions of Mexico. The northern regions,
meanwhile, have been illustrated by the explorations of Frémont, Abert,
Emory, Wislizenius, Cooke, Simpson, and other officers of the American
Government; but as most of the territory examined by them has become the
property of the United States by the Treaty of Guadalupe, their labors
are not of importance in describing the Republic of Mexico as at present
bounded. In the last Book of this work, however, which we have devoted
to the consideration of California and New Mexico, we shall recur to
those brave and scientific explorers of a remote region, so recently a
wilderness, but which their labors, and the combined fortune of war and
mineral wealth have subdued for the benefit of mankind.

In accordance with the plan proposed in the separate consideration of
the several States and Territories of Mexico, we shall divide them into
three groups:--those on the eastern or Gulf coast; those on the western
or Pacific coast, and those in the interior.


  The State of Yucatan.           The State of Vera Cruz.
   " State of Chiapas.             "  State of Tamaulipas.
   " State of Tabasco.


  The State of Oajaca.            The State of Jalisco.
   "  State of Puebla.             "  Territory of Colima.
   "  Territory of Tlascala.       "  State of Sinaloa.
   "  State of Mexico and Federal  "  State of Sonora.
        District.                  "  State of Guerrero.
  The State of Michoacan.          "  Territory of L. California.


  The State of Queretaro.         The State of New Leon.
   "  State of Guanajuato.         "  State of Coahuila.
   "  State of Zacatecas.          "  State of Durango.
   "  State of San Luis Potosi.    "  State of Chihuahua.


The State of Yucatan, sometimes known by the name of Merida or Campeché,
occupies the greater portion of the peninsula which bounds the southern
edge of the Gulf of Mexico. Its eastern side is washed by the Caribbean
Sea, and touched by the settlements at Balize; on the south it is
bounded by Guatemala; on the west by the Gulf of Mexico and the States
of Chiapas and Tabasco, from which it is separated by the river Paicutun
that falls into the Laguna de Terminos. Its northern coast extends from
Cape Catoché to the Punta de Piedras, about eighty-six leagues; and the
whole area of the State is computed at 3,823 square leagues.

Yucatan possesses very few streams and none of importance that are known
or explored. On the west of the peninsula, debouching into the Gulf of
Mexico, there are the rivers or rivulets of Escatalto, Chen,
Champoton;--the San Francisco falls into the Bay of Campeché; in the
north there are the Silan, the Cedros, and the Conil; while the streams
of Bolina, the Rio Nuevo, the Bacalar, the Ascension, and the Honda or
Rio Grande pour into the Caribbean Sea. In 1841 the population of the
State is stated in a census, taken by order of the government, as

  Departments.       Men.      Women.      Total.

  Merida,           48,606     58,663     107,269
  Izamal,           32,915     37,933      70,848
  Tekax,            58,127     64,697     122,824
  Valladolid,       45,353     46,926      92,279
  Campeché,         39,017     40,639      79,656
                   -------    -------     -------
  Total,           224,018    248,858     472,876

This census, although it professes to be accurate, may nevertheless be
incomplete, inasmuch as the inhabitants of Yucatan, dreading new
contributions and detesting military service, endeavor to reduce as much
as possible the number of their families in the lists prepared for
government. Besides this, it does not appear to comprehend _all_ the
departments according to Mühlenpfordt, who divides the State into
fifteen departments.[44] The population has been estimated by some
careful writers, acquainted with the people and the country, at 525,000
souls; in our table of population on page 42 of this volume, we have on
good authority stated the number to be, in 1842, 508,948, while others
have increased the number to 600,000 and even to 630,000, which amount
is assigned to Yucatan by a census in 1833! The last mentioned number
will give about 165 individuals to each square league.[45]

       *       *       *       *       *

The character and quality of the productions of Yucatan may be estimated
by the following statistical table, which has been translated and
published by Mr. Stephens in the first volume of his Incidents of Travel
in that State.

                        |                      |         |ANNEXED.|                              PRODUCTIONS.
  Capital               |Merida                |    4    |    5   | Horned cattle, horses, mules, tallow, jerked beef, leather, salt, gypsum, hemp, raw and
                        |                      |         |        |   manufactured, straw hats, guitars, cigars, and extract of logwood.
                        |                      |         |        |
  Campeché              |City of Campeché      |    2    |    "   | Salt, logwood, rice, sugar, and marble of good quality.
  Lerma                 |Village of Lerma      |    3    |    8   | Logwood, timber, rice, and fish oil.
  Valladolid            |City of Valladolid    |   11    |   17   | Cotton, sugar, starch, gum copal, tobacco, cochineal, saffron, vanilla, cotton fabrics,
                        |                      |         |        |   yarns, &c., wax, honey, castor oil, horned cattle, hogs, and skins.
  Coast                 |City of Izamal        |   16    |   27   | Horned cattle, horses, mules, tallow, jerked beef, castor oil, hides, wax, honey, timber,
                        |                      |         |        |   indigo, hemp, raw and manufactured, straw cigars, barilla, and salt.
  The Upper Highlands   |City of Tekax         |    9    |    7   | Horned cattle, horses, mules, hogs, sheep, skins, sugar, molasses, timber, rice, tobacco in
                        |                      |         |        |   the leaf and manufactured, spirits, arrow-root, straw hats, cotton lace, ochre, flints,
                        |                      |         |        |   and grindstones.
  The Lower Highlands   |Village of Teabo      |    8    |    5   |Horned cattle, horses, mules, hogs, sheep, skins, tallow, dried beef, hemp, raw and
                        |                      |         |        |   manufactured, and cotton lace.
  The Upper Royal Road  |Town of Jequelchakan  |    6    |   11   |Cattle, horses, mules, skins, tallow, dried beef, logwood, tobacco, sugar, and rum.
  The Lower Royal Road  |Village of Maxcanú    |    5    |    7   |Horned cattle, horses, mules, oil of palma Cristi, tobacco, hemp, and fine straw hats.
  The Upper "Beneficios"|Village of Ichmul     |    7    |   15   |Sugar, molasses, rum, tobacco of good quality, rice, laces, pepper, gum copal, sarsaparilla,
                        |                      |         |        |  hats, hammocks, ebony, barilla, gypsum, and skins.
  The Lower "Beneficios"|Village of Sotuta     |    6    |   16   |Horned cattle, horses, mules, hogs, skins, tallow, and dried beef.
  Tizimin               |Village of Tizimin.   |    7    |   18   |Tortoise-shell, skins, timber, logwood, India-rubber, incense, tobacco, achiote (a substitute
                        |                      |         |        |  for saffron, and a very rich dye), starch from the yuca, cotton, wax, honey,
                        |                      |         |        |  molasses, sugar, rum, castor oil, salt, amber, vanilla, hogs, cochineal.
  Island of Cármen      |Town of Cármen        |    2    |    1   |Logwood.
  Seiba-playa           |Village of Seiba-playa|    3    |    6   |Timber, rice, logwood, and salt.
  Bacalar               |Town of Bacalar       |    2    |    "   |Logwood, valuable timber, sugar of inferior quality, tobacco of the best description,
                        |                      |         |        |  rum, a fine species of hemp, known under the name of pita, resin, India-rubber, gum
                        |                      |         |        |  copal, pimento, sarsaparilla, vanilla, and gypsum.
  Total                 |          15          |   91    |  143   |

[Illustration: CAMPECHE.]

The principal towns of Yucatan, are, 1st: the capital, MERIDA, in the
northern part of the state, about ten leagues from the coast, containing
a population of near 15,000 individuals. Its port is the small haven of
Sisal, which is in reality nothing but a bleak roadstead, protected by a
fort and a sand bank.

2nd: SAN FRANCISCO DE CAMPECHÉ, with a population of about 9,000;--a
port which is considered by navigators one of the best in the state, yet
is by no means, a secure or comfortable anchorage.

3rd: VALLODOLID, the chief town of the district of that name, with near
4,000 inhabitants.

4th: San Felipé de Bacalar, or Salamanca; a town and military post in
the district of that name, containing a garrison and about one hundred
and twenty houses.

Besides these, there are the villages of Xampolan, Jequetchacan, Lerma,
Champoton, between the rivers Campeché and Champoton on the west coast,
and Silan, Santa Clara, Vigia del rio and Chaboána, on the north coast.
In the interior there are many Indian villages.

The Island of Cozumel on the east coast of Yucatan--which was the first
land discovered by the Spaniards in their voyage to Mexico,--is now
almost uninhabited, and contains some ancient remains, which are
probably the ruins of the splendid structures that attracted the
attention of the adventurers, and satisfied them they had reached a land
which was sufficiently civilized to be worthy their exploration and

It has generally been supposed that Yucatan affords no safe harbors or
anchorages, which would either tempt commercial enterprise to her
shores, or afford vessels of war sufficient protection so as to render
the peninsula valuable in a military point of view. Yet it seems from an
official copy of a recent British survey of the coast of Yucatan, which
is to be found in the office of our Coast Survey in Washington, that
there is a fine harbor for vessels of any size under the island of
Mugeres, the easternmost point of Yucatan, where they may ride at anchor
in safety, protected from winds in every direction. The harbors of
Ascension and Espiritu Bay, are represented as good; the latter being
capable of holding a fleet of the heaviest kind of English frigates and
war steamers. There is good anchorage, moreover, off the north-east
point of the island of Cozumel.[46]


This state has been very inadequately examined. It is bounded north by
Tabasco; south and south-west by the Republic of Central America, or
Guatemala; west by the state of Vera Cruz and by a small part of Oajaca;
and on the east partly by Yucatan and partly by Guatemala. Until the
year 1833 the territory comprised in this division belonged to
Guatemala, when it joined the Mexican confederacy. Comprehending the
northern declivities of the Cordilleras and table lands of Central
America, Chiapas is, throughout a considerable part of its territory,
cut up into successions of ridges and valleys, which are rich in many of
the finest tropical productions. Corn, cacao, sugar and garden
vegetables are produced readily. Tobacco of good quality grows in the
district of Sandoval, and in the neighborhood of Oajaca. In the district
of Tonalá, a small quantity of indigo of an extraordinarily fine quality
is cultivated; and here, also, pepper and the maguey plant are yielded
plentifully. Ananas, sapotes, bananas, figs, apricots and various
similar fruits abound in Chiapas, while in its forests, oaks, cedar,
mahogany, ebony, and other valuable woods are found in considerable
quantities. But the greater part of this fruitful state is still an
unknown waste, which the labors of other races must fully explore and

Chiapas is divided into four departments and nine districts, which,
together, possess 92 parishes.

1st: The Department of the Centre, with 12 parishes, besides the capital
of Ciudad-Real, or San Cristoval de los Llanos and the town of Chamúla.

2nd: The Department of the South, with 10 parishes, in the district of
Llanos, 11 in Ocozingo, and 17 in Tuxtla.

3rd: The Department of the West, with the district of Ystocomitan,
containing 17 parishes; Tonalá, 3 parishes; and Palenque, 4 parishes.

4th: The Department of the North, with the districts of Tila, containing
6 parishes, and Simojoval, 12 parishes.

The chief towns are, CIUDAD-REAL, or SAN CRISTOVAL DE LOS LLANOS; a fine
town with about 6,000 inhabitants, possessing a cathedral church, four
convents for monks, and one for nuns, two chapels, and a hospital. The
first bishop of Chiapas, who erected the see of that name in 1538, was
the renowned Bartoloméo de las Casas, whose fame is so intimately
connected with the early history of the country, by his constant and
merciful interference in behalf of the Indians.

The other important towns are San Juan Chamúla, containing 4,000
inhabitants; San Bartoloméo de los Llanos, whose 7,000 people are
chiefly engaged in the cultivation of cotton, sugar, tobacco and corn;
San Domingo Comitlan; San Jacinto Ocozingo, with 3,000 inhabitants who
devote themselves to the care of cattle, and cultivate some cacao and
corn; Tuxtla, with 5,000 inhabitants who trade in tobacco and cacao; San
Domingo Sinacantan, on the borders of Tabasco in the territory of the
Zoques, with 2,500 inhabitants who employ themselves in the culture of
silk, of which they weave shawls and other similar fabrics, which are
esteemed of a good merchantable quality, and are used in the country or
adjacent states; Chiapa de los Indios; Tecpatlan; Ostoacan; Teopixca;
Acapala; Capanabastla; Izcuintenango; San Fernando Guadalupe; and

Chiapas is represented to be rich in rivers which rise chiefly in the
highlands towards the state of Tabasco and debouche into the Mexican
Gulf. The Tabasco river or the Rio de Grijalva; the Usumasinta, the
Chicsoi or the Santa Isabella;--the Machaquita, San Pedro, Dolores,
Yalchitan, Chacamas, Zeldales, Yeixhihujat, Chatlan, and some others;
the Pacaitún or Paicutun; the laguna de Chiapa; some mineral waters; and
a valuable salt spring in the vicinity of San Mateo, enrich various
portions of this fertile state, whose climate, especially in its higher
regions, is said to be delicious and uniform. The number of the
population of this state is not officially known. In 1831, a census made
by order of the governor Ignacio Gutierrez, which however, did not
include fifteen parishes, gave 118,775 inhabitants for the rest of the
state. An estimate in a Mexican calendar of 1833 represents the number
to be about 96,000, while the government calculation for a basis of
representation in Congress in 1842, gives it 141,206, to which about 10
per cent. should be added to give the proximate population in 1850. The
Indian tribes of the Zoques, Cendales or Zeldales, Teochiapanécos and
Mames are still very numerous, and, of course, form the greater part of
the population.


The physical description of these two States, presented in the preceding
pages, will have satisfied the reader that they possess a prolific soil
and an agreeable climate which would probably attract a large population
had they been properly explored and developed by an energetic race. We
are sustained in this belief by the fact, that in these States
travellers have found the most remarkable remains of an advanced ancient
civilization hitherto discovered on our continent. What has existed may
exist again under the benignant influence of modern progress; nor is it
improbable that as human interests direct the attention of maritime or
emigrating nations towards the central portions of the western
continent, Yucatan and Chiapas may again become the seat of a population
even larger than that which thronged it during the palmy days anterior
to the Spanish conquest.

Since the year 1840 three important works have been published in this
country relative to these ancient remains of towns, temples, cities,
idols and monuments. Two of these are due to the pen and pencil of Mr.
John L. Stephens and Mr. Catherwood, while the other and slighter
production is the result of a hasty visit paid to Yucatan by Mr. B. M.
Norman. These three publications, plentifully illustrated by accurate
engravings of the ruins and remains, have been so widely disseminated
throughout Europe and America that readers are already familiar with
them. In the "long, irregular and devious route" pursued by Stephens and
Catherwood, they "discovered the crumbling remains of _fifty-four
ancient cities, most of them but a short distance apart_, though, from
the great change that has taken place in the country, and the breaking
up of the old roads, having no direct communication with each other.
With but few exceptions, all were lost, buried and unknown, never before
visited by a stranger, and some of them, perhaps, never looked upon by
the eyes of a white man." Leaving Guatemala, the travellers encountered,
in Chiapas, remarkable remains at Ocozingo and Palenque; and passing
thence into Yucatan, in their second journey to those central regions,
they explored and described the architectural and monumental relics at
Maxcanu, Uxmal, Sacbey, Xampon, Sanacte, Chunhuhu, Labpahk, Iturbide,
Mayapan, San Francisco, Ticul, Nochacab, Xoch, Kabah, Sabatsche, Labna,
Kenick, Izamal, Saccacal, Tekax, Akil, Mani, Macoba, Becanchen, Peto,
Chichen, in the interior; and at Tuloom, Tancar, and in the Island of
Cozumel on the eastern coast.

The simple catalogue of these names, indicating the sites of ancient
civilization in the midst of what is at present almost an unexplored
wilderness and covering so wide a field of observation, will satisfy the
reader that it is impossible to condense a satisfactory review of these
architectural remains within the space that we are enabled to
appropriate to antiquarian researches. The ruins of Palenque in Chiapas,
and of Uxmal and Chichen in Yucatan, are, perhaps, the most wonderful
of all that have been explored hitherto in this lonely region; and,
while we regret that our duty to the living present will not permit us
to dwell longer on the curious past, we shall, nevertheless pause,
occasionally, as we pass through the Mexican States, to notice those
remains which have either been visited by us personally, or are not
described in books as accessible to all classes of enquirers and
students as those of Messrs. Stephens, Catherwood and Norman. Mr.
Stephens believes, after full investigation, that these towns and cities
were occupied by the original builders and their descendants at the
period of the Spanish conquest, and our own opinion entirely coincides
with his reasoning and judgment. Those who desire a complete and
conclusive illustration of this branch of the subject will find an
excellent argument thereon in both of his publications.[47]

In the first volume of this work we have given an account of the Mexican
or Aztec Calendar; and the proximate identity of the Yucatese or Mayan
and Aztec Calendar led Mr. Stephens to the conclusion that both nations
had a common origin. This argument is also important in considering the
period of the occupation of the Chiapan and Yucatese edifices, inasmuch
as we know that the Aztecs of Montezuma's period used the Calendar which
we have already illustrated and described.


"Our knowledge of the Yucatan Calendar," says Mr. Gallatin,[48] "is
derived exclusively from the communications made by Don J. P. Perez to
Mr. John L. Stephens, and inserted in the appendix to the first volume
of this gentleman's Travels in Yucatan. It is substantially the same
with that of the Mexicans, though differing in some important

"The inhabitants of Yucatan had, like the Mexicans, the two distinct
modes of computing time, by months of twenty days, and by periods of
thirteen days. They also distinguished the days of the year by a
combination of those two series, precisely similar to that of the
Mexicans. And their year likewise consisted of 365 days, viz., of
eighteen months of twenty days each, to which they added five
supplementary days; and also of a corresponding series of twenty-eight
periods of thirteen days each, and one day over. The following table
exhibits the names of the twenty days of the Yucatan month, with their
signification, as far as it has been ascertained by Don J. P. Perez; and
also the days of the Chiapa month as given by Boturini; and which, from
the similarity of the names of several of the days, appears to have been
in its origin nearly identical with that of Yucatan.

   1 KAN      yellow         |Ghanan | INODON     | 9 Cipat      |Cipactli
   2 Chicchan small          |Abagh  | Inic Ebi   |10 Acat       |Ehecatl
   3 Quimi    death          |Tox    | Inettuni   |11 Cali       |Calli
   4 Manik    wind ceasing   |Moxic  | Inbeari    |12 Quespalcoat|Cuetzpalin
   5 Lamat                   |LAMBAT | Inethaati  |13 Migiste    |Cohuatl
   6 MULUC    union?         |Mulu   | INBANI     |14 Macat      |Miquiztli
   7 Oc       palm of hand?  |Elab   | Inxichari  |15 Toste      |Mazatl
   8 Chuen    board          |Batz   | Inchini    |16 At         |Tochtli
   9 Eb       ladder         |Enob   | In Rini    |17 Izquindi   |Atl
  10 Be-en                   |BE-EN  | In Pari    |18 Ocomat     |Itzcuintli
  11 HIX      rough          |Hix    | INCHON     |19 Malinal    |Ozomatli
  12 Men      a mechanic     |Tziquin| Inthahui   |20 Acato      |Malinalli
  13 Quib     wax            |Chabin | Intzini    | 1 Agat       |Acatl
  14 Caban                   |Chic   | In Tzoniabi| 2 Ocelot     |Ocelotl
  15 Eznab                   |CHINAX | In Tizimbi | 3 Oat        |Quauhtli
  16 CA-UAC                  |Cahogh | INTHIHUI   | 4 Cozgacoatz |Cozcaquauhtli
  17 Ajau     period of years|Aghual | Inixotzini | 5 Olin       |Ollin
  18 Imix     maize?         |Mox    | Inichini   | 6 Topecat    |Tecpatl
  19 Yk       wind           |Ygh    | Ini Abi    | 7 Quiauvit   |Quiahuitl
  20 Akbal                   |VOTAN  | Intaniri   | 8 Sochit     |Xochitl

"The Calendar of the inhabitants of the independent kingdom of
Mechoacan, who spoke the Tarasca language, appears to have been similar
to that of the Mexicans; and the names of the days of their month as
stated by Veytia, are inserted in the table. The names of the days of an
ancient Mexican, or rather Toltec tribe, found in the province of
Nicaragua, have also been inserted. This, as far as we know, is the
extreme southeastern limit of the Mexican Calendar on the Pacific Ocean.
That limit on the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico may be traced as far as the
islands opposite Cape Honduras (Herrera); beyond which the shores are
still inhabited by the uncivilized Musquito Indians.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The cycle of fifty-two years was also adopted in Yucatan, and the
arrangement of the years was precisely the same as in that of Mexico,
substituting only the names Khan, Muluc, Hix and Ca-uac, for Tochtli,
Acatl, Tecpatl and Calli, as appears in the following table:

  |       YUCATAN CYCLE OF 52 YEARS.       |
  |    | 1st    | 14th   | 27th   | 40th   |
  |    | year.  | year.  | year.  | year.  |
  | 1  | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | The Chiapan Cycle is also
  | 2  | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   |
  | 3  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  | similar, substituting for the
  | 4  | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    |
  | 5  | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | names Khan, Muluc, Hix,
  | 6  | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   |
  | 7  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  | Ca-uac, those of Votan,
  | 8  | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    |
  | 9  | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Lembat, Be-en, Chinax.
  | 10 | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   |
  | 11 | Hix    | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  |
  | 12 | Ca-uac | Khan   | Muluc  | Hix    |
  | 13 | Kahn   | Muluc  | Hix    | Ca-uac |

"But there was an essential difference respecting the series of the
names and numerical characters of the days, as will appear by the
following table, which shows the termination of the first year of the
cycle, and the beginning of the next ensuing years.

  Year 1 Khan      | 1st day of the year   |  1 Khan
  1st of the Cycle | 1st supplementary day | 10 do.
                   | 2d       do.          | 11 Chiccan
                   | 3d       do.          | 12 Kimi
                   | 4th      do.          | 13 Manic
                   | 5th      do.          |  1 Lamat
                   |                       |
  Year 2 Muluc     | 1st day of the year   |  2 Muluc
  2d of the Cycle  | 1st supplementary day | 11 Muluc
                   | Last     do.          |  2 Be-en
                   |                       |
  Year 3 Hix       | 1st day of the year   |  3 Hix
  3d of the Cycle  | 1st supplementary day | 12 do.
                   | Last     do.          |  3 Edznab
                   |                       |
  Year 4 Ca-uac    | 1st day of the year   |  4 Ca-uac
  4th of the Cycle | 1st supplementary day | 13 do.
                   | Last     do.          |  4 Akbal
                   |                       |
  Year 5 Khan      | 1st day of the year   |  5 Khan
  5th of the Cycle | 1st supplementary day |  1 do.
                   | Last     do.          |  5 Lamat

"Don J. P. Perez positively states, that the fundamental rule is never
to interrupt either of the series of names or of days. Thus, inasmuch as
the last supplementary day of the first year of the cycle (1 Khan) is 1
Lamat; and as, in the order of the days of the month, the day called
"Muluc" immediately follows the day Lamat; the ensuing year 2 Muluc
commences with the day 2 Muluc, in the same manner as the year 1 Khan
commences with the day 1 Khan. It is the same with the other years; so
that the first day of every year has the same name and numerical
character as the year itself.

"Don J. P. Perez acknowledges that amongst the few mutilated remains of
Indian manuscripts or paintings, he has not been able to discover any
trace of an intercalation, either of one day every four years, or of
thirteen days at the end of the cycle, though he presumes that they had
indubitably either the one or the other.

"The Yucatan cycle of fifty-two years, differed in no other respect from
that of the Mexicans. The combination of the two series of twenty and
thirteen days is used in the same manner in both calendars for the
purpose of distinguishing the days of the year.

"The Yucatecs differed materially from the Mexicans with regard to the
time of the solar year, when their year began. Don J. P. Perez informs
us, that the first day of the Yucatan year corresponded with the
sixteenth day of July; and that this was the day of the transit of the
sun by the zenith of a place which he does not mention. But he adds
that, for want of proper instruments, the Indians had made a mistake of
forty-eight hours. In point of fact, it is in the latitude of about
twenty-one degrees and a half that the transit of the sun by the zenith
occurs on the 16th of July; and Yucatan lies between the latitudes of
about eighteen degrees and a half and twenty-one degrees and a half. To
commence the year on the day of the transit of the sun by the zenith, is
attended with the great inconvenience, that this commencement must vary
from place to place, according to their respective latitudes. As Don J.
Pio Perez counts every year as having 365 days, and without regard to
the omitted bissextile days, it is clear that the day in the Yucatan
calendar, on which the transit of the sun by the zenith of any one place
occurs, would vary twenty days, or a whole Indian month, in the course
of eighty years. This would create such confusion that, if it be a well
ascertained fact, that the Yucatan year began on the zenith day, this
renders it highly probable that the calendar was, like that of the
Mexicans, corrected by an intercalation of thirteen days at the end of
the cycle.

       *       *       *       *       *

"The names of the eighteen months of the Yucatecos, together with such
interpretations as Don Pio Perez has given us, their order and their
correspondence with our year, new style, appear in the following table:


   1 Pop, Poop    | Mat of Reeds       | begins on 16th July, N. S.
   2 Uo           | Frog               |   "        5 August
   3 Zip          | Tree               |   "       25    "
   4 Zodz         | Bat                |   "       14 September
   5 Zec          |                    |   "        4 October
   6 Xul          | End                |   "       24    "
   7 Dzeyaxkin    | Summer             |   "       13 November
   8 Mol          | To unite           |   "        3 December
   9 Chen         | A Well             |   "       23    "
  10 Yax          | First              |   "       12 January
  11 Zac          | White              |   "        1 February
  12 Quej         | Deer               |   "       21    "
  13 Mac          | Lid, cover         |   "       13 March
  14 Kankin       | Yellow Sun         |   "        2 April
  15 Moan         |                    |   "       22   "
  16 Pax          | Musical instrument |   "       12 May
  17 Kayab        | Song               |   "        1 June
  18 Cumku        | Noise              |   "       21  "
  {  Uayebhaab    | Bed of year      } | the 5 supplementary days}
  {  Xma kaba kit | Days without name} |   from 11th to 15th July}

"The Mexicans counted only by cycles; they designated the termination of
a cycle by a hieroglyphic representing a bundle of reeds tied up; and
they sometimes designated, by an equal number of small circles, the
number of cycles which had elapsed, since the beginning of their era
corresponding with the year 1091. But the Yucatecos, besides their cycle
of 52 years, had another, containing thirteen periods of twenty or
twenty-four years each. These last mentioned periods were called _Ajau_
or _Ahau_."

[Illustration: YUCATESE IDOL.]

[Illustration: YUCATAN EDIFICE.]

[Illustration: YUCATAN ALTAR.]


This State, one of the smallest of the confederacy, was, previous to the
revolution, a province of the Intendency of Vera Cruz. It bounds
eastwardly on the State of Yucatan; south on Chiapas and Oajaca; west on
Vera Cruz, and northwardly on the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly the whole of
Tabasco slopes gradually towards the sea, and is so extremely flat that
it is often subject to inundations, and the communication from village
to village and parish to parish cut off altogether, or only practicable
in canoes. The State is consequently full of streams, though they are
generally short and shallow, whilst their mouths are obstructed by bars
and flats. The most remarkable of these streams are--the Pacaitun, or as
it is sometimes called, Rio de Banderas; the Usumasinta which also
passes through Chiapas; the Tabasco; the Chiltepec; Dos Bocas; Capilco;
Rio de Santa Anna; Tonalá or Toneladas; Tancochapa or San Antonio;
Uspanapan and the Guachapa or Rio del Paso.

On the eastern boundary of Tabasco lies the Laguna de Terminos, which is
fifteen leagues long and ten broad. In this inland sea are locked the
beautiful islands of Laguna, Carmen, and Puerto Real; and, in the two
passes by which the sea is reached from this lagune, twelve to thirteen
feet of water are found in the larger, while but five and a half feet
are obtained in the smaller, or pass of Puerto Real.

The climate of this State is excessively hot along the immediate coast
of the gulf; nor is it very sensibly changed as the interior is reached,
in consequence of the extreme flatness of the soil. During the
prevalence of the northers the harbors are exceedingly insecure; but
these violent storms somewhat temper the heat and render the towns less

       *       *       *       *       *

Tabasco is divided into three departments with nine parishes:

1st. The Department of Villa Hermosa with the districts of Villa
Hermosa, Usumasinta, and Nacayuca. 2d. The Department of the Sierra with
the districts of Teapa, Tacotalpa and Jalapa. 3d. The Department of
Chontalpa with the districts of Macuspana, Cunduacan and Jalpa.

These are subdivided into 49 parishes; (23 of which are in the
Department of Villa Hermosa, 10 in la Sierra, and 16 in Chontalpa;)
besides these there are 543 haciendas and ranchos, or estates and farms;
and, throughout the whole State there are 63 churches. The mass of
inhabitants in Tabasco, as elsewhere in these southern states, is
formed of Indians: and of the 70,000 people who are estimated to compose
the population, it is probable that the majority is formed of the Mijes,
Zoques and Cendales.

Cacao, coffee, pepper, sugar, tamarinds, arrow-root, palmetto and some
tobacco are cultivated; while indigo and vainilla grow wild in the
forests among groves of oaks, cedars, mahogany and ironwood. The
extensive wildernesses of Tabasco are filled with game and wild beasts,
and the streams are full of excellent fish. Bees abound in the depths of
the forests and yield abundant supplies of wild honey and wax.

The capital of Tabasco is Villa Hermosa de Tabasco, or, as it is
sometimes called, Villa de San Juan Bautista, which lies on the left
bank of the Tabasco river twenty-four leagues from its mouth. It
contains about 7,000 inhabitants, and is reached by vessels of light
draft from the sea; but its chief commercial intercourse is carried on
with adjoining states and with Guatemala. There are some other towns or
villages worthy of mention; the principal of which are Usumasinta,
Nacayuca, Tacotalpa, Teapa, Jalapa, Chontalpa, Jalpa, Cunduacan,
Macuspana, Chiltepec, Santa Anna, Tonala, Acalpa, Chinameca, Tochla,
Istapa or Ystapangahoya, San Fernando, Tapichulapa, and Obsolotan.


     ETC., ETC.


[Illustration: PLAZA OF VERA CRUZ.]

The State of Vera Cruz lies under the burning sky of the tropics between
17° 85´ and 22° 17´ of north latitude; and 96° 46´ and 101° 21´ west
longitude from Paris. It is comprised within a long but somewhat narrow
strip of territory along the Gulf of Mexico, running from the mouth of
the Tampico river, in the north, to the Guasacualco and the boundaries
of Tabasco, on the south. Its length is 166 leagues; its breadth, from
25 to 28; and it is estimated to contain an area of 5,000 square
leagues. It is bounded eastwardly by the Gulf; south by Tabasco; north
by Tamaulipas; and west and south-west by Oajaca, Puebla, Mexico,
Queretaro and San Luis Potosi. The eastern part of the State is
generally level, low and sandy; but, further inland, it gradually rises
as the traveller leaves the arid and burning wastes of the coast, until
the country is broken into an uninterrupted series of lofty mountains
and beautiful vallies.

The coasts of this State are rich in rivers, streams, inlets, and
lagunes; but, unfortunately, they are either not navigable for any
considerable distance, or are obstructed by bars at their mouths. Among
these streams the following are chiefly to be noticed as of importance:
The Rio Tampico, the Garzes, the Tuspan, the Cazones, the Tenistepec,
the Jajalapam or Tecolutla, the Nautla, the Palmar, the Misantla, the
Maguilmanapa, the Yeguascalco, the Actopan, the Chuchalaca, the Antigua,
the Jamapa, the Rio Blanco, the San Juan or Alvarado, the Aquivilco, and
the Gúasacualco which is a boundary stream between the States of Vera
Cruz, Oajaca and Tabasco.

The principal lagunes in the State of Vera Cruz are:--The Laguna de
Tamiahua, the largest on this coast of Mexico, being ten leagues long
and eight leagues broad. It has two mouths in the Gulf;--one at the bar
of Tamiahua, and the other, further south near the mouth of the small
stream of Tuspan. Between these mouths lies the island of Tuspan; while
the two islands of _Juan Ramirez_ and _El Toro_ are found in the lake or
lagune itself. The next lagune in importance is that of Tampico, four
leagues long and three broad; and besides this, there are--the _Lagunas_
de Mandingo, of Alvarado, (which is subdivided into eight smaller
lagunes,) of Catemaico, Alijoyúca, and Tenango.

There are several mineral springs in this State, and at Atotonilco, near
Calcahualco, in the district of Cordova, there are warm baths which are
celebrated for their efficacy in nervous and rheumatic diseases. There
are mineral waters also near the hacienda of Almágros, in the district
of Acayucam, and other warm springs near Aloténgo in the district of
Jalanzingo, whose qualities have not yet been ascertained by chemical

The population has been estimated by recent writers at near 251,000;
which distributed over the 5,000 square leagues will give about 50
inhabitants to the square league. According to our estimate in the
chapter on population, the number may be set down at

[Illustration: JALAPA.]

270,000. The milder regions about Jalapa and Orizaba are more thickly
peopled, than the comparatively sterile and sickly shores of the gulf.
The population is composed of mixed races:--Creoles, Indians, Havanese,
Foreigners, and a few Negroes.

The State of Vera Cruz is divided into four Departments and twelve
districts, with 103 municipalities and 1,370 village jurisdictions.

1st. The Department of Jalapa, with two districts or cantons, viz:--1st,
_Jalapa_, including the capital of that name,--thirty-one villages,
fourteen haciendas and sixteen ranchos;--and 2d, _Jalanzingo_, with the
towns of Perote and Jalanzingo, five villages, seven haciendas and
thirty-three ranchos.

2d. The Department of Orizaba, with three districts or cantons: 1st,
_Orizaba_, including the city of that name,--Sougolican, twenty-seven
villages, six haciendas and fifty ranchos. 2d, _Cordova_, including the
city of that name, and the towns of Coscomatepec and San Antonio
Huatusco,--twenty villages, twenty-eight haciendas 237 ranchos,--and 3d,
_Cosamaloapan_, with eight villages, five haciendas and forty-one

3d. The Department of Vera Cruz with four districts or cantons: 1st,
_Vera Cruz_, including the capital of that name, with Alvarado and
Medellin, 21 haciendas, 149 estancias, and 600 ranchos. 2d, _Misantla_,
with four villages, two haciendas, and thirty-four ranchos. 3d,
_Papantla_, with thirteen villages, seven ranchos and the hacienda de
Norias. 4th, _Tampico_, with Tampico and Panuco,--seven villages,
thirty-nine haciendas and forty-one ranchos.

4th. The Department of Acayucam, with three districts or cantons:--1st,
_Acayucam_, with the adjacent Acayucam and San Juan Olúta, nineteen
villages, twelve haciendas, twenty-seven hatos and eleven ranchos. 2d,
_Huimanguillo_, with twenty-one villages, one hacienda and nineteen
ranchos. 3d, _San Andres Tuxtla_, with the adjacent San Andres and
Santiago Tuxtla,--two villages, one hacienda, thirty-four hatos, and
eight ranchos.

It is impossible in a description of this rich and varied State to sum
up with accuracy what it produces either naturally or by introduction
from abroad, for its genial climate, changed by the elevation of the
interior portions of the State, renders it capable of yielding the
fruits, the flowers, the grains, the woods, the vegetables and the
animals of the temperate as well as of the torrid zone. Tobacco, coffee,
sugar, cotton, corn, barley, wheat, jalap, sarsaparilla, vainilla,
mameis, papayas, pine-apples, oranges, citrons, lemons, pomegranates,
zapotes, bananas, chirimogas, aguacates, tunas, pears, watermelons,
peaches, apricots, guyavas, grapes; mahogony, ebony, cedar, oak,
dragon-blood, tamarinds, palms, dyewoods, and a thousand other plants,
trees, shrubs, cereals and parasites, spring almost spontaneously from
the soil, and render the necessary labor of man almost insignificant.
After the strip of sandy sea-shore has been passed, and the country
begins gradually to rise, health and rich vegetation follow the
traveller's footsteps. He beholds on every side magnificent forests
filled with majestic trees and illuminated by the splendid colors of
flowers and buds. In the midst of these solitary folds among the
mountains, farms and plantations are opened, which gleam with the
freshest verdure of cane or corn; while over the levels, innumerable
herds of cattle are fed from the mere fulness of the land, and without
the necessary tending either of shepherds or vaqueros. An idea of this
State's richness in cattle may be formed from the following account of
the number it possessed in 1831,--the district of Jalapa being excluded
from the list, inasmuch as there were no returns for that year:--

  291,055      neat cattle,
   49,321      horses,
    9,396      mules,
    3,110      asses,
   17,680      goats,
   35,325      sheep;

the total value of which, together with the cattle product of the canton
of Jalapa, cannot be less than $2,000,000.

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal cities, towns and villages of the State of Vera Cruz, are
1st, La Villa rica or La Villa Heroica de la Vera Cruz--the capital of
the State; 2d, Tampico or Pueblo viejo de Tampico; 3d, Panuco; 4th,
Tuspan; 5th, Misantla; 6th, Papantla. [On the road from the port of Vera
Cruz to the western limit of the State, lie Paso de Ovejas, Puente del
Rey or Puente Nacional, Plan del Rio, and El Encero, but these are small
towns or villages of no great consideration.] 7th, Alvarado; 8th, Boca
del Rio; 9th, Tlacotalpan; 10th, Cotastla; 11th, Talascoyan; 12th, San
Martin Acayucam; 13th, San Andres Tuxtla; 14th, Santiago Tuxtla; 15th,
Soconusco; 16th, Jaltipan; 17th, Chinameca; 18th, Orizaba; 19th,
Cordova; 20th, Cosamaloapam; 21st, Aculzingo; 22d, Jalapa; 23d,
Jalanzingo, and 24th, Perote.

The port of Vera Cruz lies in 19° 11´ 52´´ north latitude, and 98° 29´
19´´ west longitude, from Paris, on a sandy plain,--interspersed with
marshes,--which bound the Gulf of Mexico. Its unhealthiness is
proverbial. From the month of May to that of November,--comprising the
usual period during which the northers cease blowing,--the _vomito
prieto_, or black vomit, prevails incessantly at Vera Cruz. None but
natives of the town, or acclimated foreigners, are free from its
attacks, and the frightful inroads it made among our troops, in the year
1847, will long be remembered in the history of our army and country.
Time does not appear to have had any effect on this dreadful disease.
Increase of population and sanatory precautions do not seem to abate its
malignity; and the science of the ablest physicians is entirely at fault
in dealing with it. Diarrhœa, dysentery and vomito are the most fatal
and prevalent maladies at Vera Cruz; and, the latter disease, is
reckoned to cause one-sixth of the whole mortality of the port.

  |           METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS IN VERA CRUZ IN 1830.                 |
  |                                                                             |
  |                                                      |HYGROMETER            |
  |                                                      |                      |
  |                                                      |Greatest |WATER FALLEN|
  |                                                      |Dryness  |            |
  |                                                      |    |Greatest         |
  |                                                      |    |Humidity         |
  | MONTHS       BAROMETER            THERMOMETER        |    |    |Feet        |
  |                              Greatest       Least    |    |    |   |Inches  |
  |           Highest Lowest      Heat          Heat     |    |    |   |   Tenths
  |          |       |       | Far. |Reau. | Far. |Reau. |    |    |   |    |   |
  |January,  | 30 62 | 30  2 | 77 8 | 20 7 | 66 8 | 15 6 | 6  | 25 | 0 |  5 | 1 |
  |February, | 30 49 | 30  2 | 79 3 | 21 4 | 67 0 | 15 8 | 10 | 10 | 0 |  0 | 0 |
  |March,    | 30 44 | 29 94 | 82 2 | 22 7 | 72 1 | 18 2 | 14 | 19 | 0 |  0 | 0 |
  |April,    | 30 48 | 29 99 | 84 2 | 23 6 | 72 4 | 18 3 | 14 | 16 | 0 |  0 | 5 |
  |May,      | 30 28 | 29 95 | 85 9 | 24 8 | 78 8 | 21 2 | 11 | 11 | 2 |  7 | 4 |
  |June,     | 30 28 | 30  3 | 87 7 | 25 4 | 78 8 | 21 2 | 10 | 11 | 1 |  9 | 2 |
  |July,     | 30 29 | 30 12 | 86 5 | 24 7 | 76 2 | 20 1 | 14 |  6 | 4 | 11 | 7 |
  |August,   | 30 33 | 30 15 | 86 5 | 24 7 | 78 8 | 21 2 | 11 | 12 | 2 | 11 | 9 |
  |September,| 30 36 | 30 15 | 85 8 | 24 4 | 77 5 | 20 6 | 16 | 12 | 3 |  2 | 9 |
  |October,  | 30 37 | 30  9 | 86 0 | 24 5 | 75 2 | 19 6 | 18 | 16 | 0 |  8 | 0 |
  |November, | 30 37 | 30  5 | 84 0 | 23 6 | 70 8 | 17 6 |  8 | 15 | 0 |  4 | 5 |
  |December, | 30 53 | 29 98 | 81 2 | 22 3 | 66 6 | 15 5 | 15 | 17 | 0 |  0 | 4 |
  |                                                                             |
  |              BAROMETER.                                                     |
  |   Greatest elevation         30 62                                          |
  |   Greatest fall              29 95                                          |
  |   Mean height                30 20                                          |
  |                                                                             |
  |             THERMOMETER.                                                    |
  |   Greatest degree of heat    87 07 Far.    25 04 Reau.                      |
  |   Least degree of heat       66 06  "      15 05  "                         |
  |   Mean temperature           77 01  "      20 04  "                         |
  |                                                                             |
  | In eighty-five days of rain the hyectrometer marked a fall of water         |
  | of seventeen feet one inch and four-tenths of an inch.                      |

Table showing the fall of water at Vera Cruz in the years from 1822 to
1830, both inclusive:

  Years.    Feet.     Inches.   Tenths.

  1822       13          1        5
  1823       15          8        9
  1824       10          7        1
  1825       20          6        4
  1826[49]    5          4        4
  1827[50]   21          2        8
  1828       12          2        0
  1829       23          2        3
  1830       17          1        4

The majestic mountain of Orizaba, or Citlaltepetl, the "Mountain of the
Star," is found within the limits of the State of Vera Cruz, and as it
is somewhat renowned in all geographical descriptions of this continent,
we shall insert the first authentic account of its ascent we have ever
seen, which was prepared by Lieutenant W. F. Reynolds, of the United
States Topographical Engineers, who, with some friends, reached the
lofty peak whilst serving with our army in Mexico.

"The Peak of Orizaba," says he, "though situated nearly a hundred miles
in the interior, is the first land beheld on approaching Vera Cruz from
the gulf. Being visible nearly fifty miles at sea, it is the most
important land mark to the sailor in these regions. While the command
under General Bankhead, which was the first to march from Vera Cruz to
the city of Orizaba, was 'en route,' in February, 1848, the mountain
being constantly in view, a trip to its summit was frequently discussed;
and after our arrival at that place, the marvellous stories told by the
inhabitants only increased our desire to make the attempt. All agreed
that the summit had never been reached, though several knew or heard of
its being attempted. The difficulties to be encountered were represented
as being perfectly insurmountable; craggy precipices were to be climbed;
gullies, two thousand feet deep, it was said, were to be crossed;
inclined planes of smooth ice were to be ascended; to say nothing of
avalanches, under which, we were assured, all the rash party who made
the daring attempt would surely find a grave. These extraordinary
stories produced quite a different effect from the one anticipated, and
the question was not who would go, but who would stay home. It was not,
however, till the latter part of April that the weather was thought
favorable, and securing, for the proposed expedition, the sanction of
the commanding officer, we made our preparations for overcoming all
obstacles. Accordingly, long poles were prepared, shod with iron sockets
at one end and hooks at the other, to assist in scaling precipices;
ropes with iron grapnels were to be thrown over a projecting crag or icy
point; rope ladders were made to be used if required; shoes and sandals
with sharp projecting points to assist in climbing the icy slopes, were
also bespoken;--in short, everything that was thought might be needed or
would increase the chances of success, was taken along. The selection of
a route presented some difficulty, different ones being
recommended--those by San Andres and San Juan de Coscomatepec
particularly. In order to decide between them, we endeavored to persuade
some of the intelligent citizens who were acquainted with the country,
to go with us. At first they consented, but as the time approached one
after another declined, till finally, when the party assembled for
starting, it was found we were to go alone. Then, as some inclined to
one route and others to another, we concluded to reject all their
recommendations, and go direct to the mountain, following the path taken
by the Indians engaged in bringing down snow to the city, as far as the
limits of vegetation, and from that point to go round the peak to the
side that would present the best prospect for success.

"We left the city of Orizaba on the morning of the 7th of May, the party
consisting of ten officers, including one of the navy, thirty-four
soldiers, and two sailors serving with the naval battery, three or four
Mexicans and Indians as guides, and enough pack mules to carry our
provisions and equipments. Our expedition setting out during the
armistice, it was thought advisable to procure a passport from the
prefect of Orizaba to provide against exigencies. About six miles from
the city of Orizaba we passed through the small Indian village of La
Perla; the inhabitants were much frightened at our approach, but our
passport soon quieted them, and when they came to know the object of our
visit, they seemed to regard us as the greatest set of donkeys they ever
saw, telling us very plainly that we could never reach the summit.
Nothing daunted, however, we continued on, and immediately after leaving
the village commenced a rapid assent, and began to enjoy views which in
themselves would have amply repaid us for our trouble. We encamped for
the night at an elevation of 7,000 feet above the level of the sea; the
night was clear and bracing, but not cold enough to be uncomfortable.
The next morning was beautiful and clear, and after an early breakfast,
we were again in motion. The scenery was truly sublime, and ascending
one mountain after another, valley after valley appeared in view; hills
which at first seemed mountains, seemed gradually sinking before our
feet, and the range of vision constantly extending, we could not help
making frequent halts to admire scenes which cannot be surpassed, and
which at every successive turn broke upon our sight with redoubled
magnificence and grandeur. We were now in the region of pines and
northern plants; the old familiar oak, the birch, and trees unknown to
the lower countries, were around us; the heavy undergrowth had
disappeared, and we could _almost_ imagine ourselves in our 'dear native
land.' Cultivation does not extend up as high as we expected to see it;
we passed the upper limit about 8,000 feet elevation. About 12 o'clock,
and at an elevation of rather more than 10,000 feet, the guides reported
that the mules could go no farther, and not knowing anything of our
route beyond, we were compelled to encamp for the night. A brother
officer and myself, however, being on horse-back and feeling
comparatively fresh, determined to go forward and explore. We concluded
that it would not do to stop where we were, but the mules with light
loads could go still higher. Accordingly, next morning we again started,
four or five of us going in advance to select a good place for
encampment, and also to explore the best route for the final ascent. We
selected our camp on the verge of vegetation, and went forward by routes
far above the line of eternal snow. Under shelter of a rock, and far
above that line, some of the party found a rude cross, decorated with
paper ornaments and surrounded by tallow candles. Its history we were
unable to learn, but it gave rise to many reflections. Who placed it
there? when was it erected? and what event did it record? were questions
asked, but not answered. During the trip several parties of Indians
passed us, who make a regular business of bringing down snow on their
backs to the citizens of Orizaba. The cross was probably erected by some
of them. On our return, we found all our baggage brought up to the new
encampment, notwithstanding it had been pronounced impossible, and on
comparing notes, selected the route which seemed most practicable, and
prepared for the ascent in the morning. The night was clear and cold,
the thermometer falling below the freezing point; a heavy frost and
frozen water reminding us forcibly of 'auld lang syne.' While sitting
round our camp-fires this evening, it was discovered that there were two
flags in the party; the sailors not knowing that one had been brought
along, had carried materials and manufactured one in the camp. It was
proposed to get up a rivalry as to which flag should be planted first,
but we came to the conclusion at last, that should the summit be
reached, the honor should be equally shared. As night came on, we
enjoyed a most magnificent sight; the clouds gathered round the foot of
the mountain so as to entirely obstruct our view, while the distant
lightning flash, darting from cloud to cloud, was visible far beneath
our feet; the sky overhead being bright and beautiful. We were encamped
at an elevation, according to the barometer, of 12,000 feet, about
double that of the highest peak of the White Mountains--while the summit
still raised its snow-white head above us to a height nearly equal to
that of Mount Washington above the sea, and seemed to frown upon the
pigmies who dared to attempt to scale its giddy, and, as yet, unascended
height. At daylight on the morning of the 10th of May, we were again in
motion; many of the party had already given out, so that there were but
twenty-four persons to start on the final journey. In a few minutes we
were at the foot of the snow, and taking the route over which there
seemed to be the least of it, passed for half or three-fourths of a mile
over loose volcanic sand. On measuring the slope of this, I found it to
be 33°. It was by far the most difficult portion of our ascent;--sinking
up to our knees in sand, we seemed to go back about as far as we stepped
forward, while the rarefied condition of the atmosphere made exertion
painful in the extreme; indeed, during the whole of this day's ascent,
it was impossible to advance fifty paces without stopping to take
breath. When not exerting ourselves, we could breathe with comparative
ease; but the moment we moved, we were reminded of our great elevation.
I can only compare the sensation to that felt by a person who, after
running at the top of his speed, is ready to sink down from sheer

"At length, however, we reached firm rock, and it was quite a relief to
be able once more to climb with our hands and feet. But we were yet far
from the point at which we were aiming, and before reaching it were to
be many times sorely disappointed. A projecting crag, far above, would
be hailed as the summit; step after step the weary body was dragged
along, until at length it was reached; but, once there, it was found to
be but the base of another still higher;--this, too, being overcome,
another was discovered above. Thus, time after time, were our
expectations crushed, till hope seemed almost to have forsaken us, and
one after another dropped behind in despair. But--'advance'--was our
motto, and onward we pushed, until at length the efforts of some of the
party were crowned with success, and they dropped exhausted on the
brink of the crater.

"The crater is nearly circular and variously estimated by different
members of our troop at from 400 to 650 yards in diameter. We all
estimated the depth at 300 feet. The sides are nearly vertical, and show
strong and unmistakeable signs of fire, looking like the mouth of a
gigantic furnace.

"At the foot of this perpendicular wall was quite a bank of sand or
_débris_, which had fallen from the inner surface of the rock,
indicating the great length of time since the volcano had been extinct.
Indeed its fires were perfectly dead, for the bottom of the crater was
covered with snow. Humboldt says its most violent eruptions were in 1545
and 1566,--nor have I seen a record of an eruption since.

"As I desired to test Humboldt's altitude, I had taken the precaution to
be as well prepared as circumstances would admit, and accordingly had
carried with me the best barometer I could get, which, from previous
calculations, I deemed capable of indicating a height of from 300 to 400
feet higher than that given by him. I had, also, provided myself with a
spirit-lamp and thermometer, for the purpose of taking the temperature
of boiling water; but, on the march, the bottle containing the alcohol
was broken and the spirit entirely lost. I therefore determined to test
the combustible qualities of whiskey. One of my first objects after
reaching the summit was to make observations; but, on preparing the
barometer, the mercury sank at once _below_ the graduation.

"I estimated the distance between the lowest line of graduation and the
top of the mercury at two-tenths of an inch, which gives,--with
corresponding observations in the city of Orizaba at the same hour,--an
elevation of 17,907 feet, and makes it the highest point on the North
American Continent. I do not think I could have been far wrong in my
estimate, as the means of comparison were before me; but, even supposing
I was mistaken one-twentieth of an inch, we still have an elevation of
17,819 feet, 98 feet higher than Popocatepetl, which is usually
considered the highest point,--5,400 metres, or, 17,721 feet, as given
by Humboldt.[51] The temperature was just below freezing point. My
attempt to burn whiskey failed. Since my return to the United States, I
have observed that Humboldt states that Mr. Ferrar measured Orizaba,
eight years before his arrival in Mexico, and gave the mountain an
elevation of 5,460 metres or 17,885 feet. Humboldt's measurement, made
from a plain near Jalapa, is 155 metres less, or 17,377 feet in all. It
will be seen that my determination agrees very nearly with that of Mr.

       *       *       *       *       *

"We remained on the summit about an hour,--planted our national banner
and saluted it with three hearty cheers. The day was clear, but the
atmosphere thick and smoky, so that we did not enjoy the views we had
hoped for; but as we believed ourselves to have been the first who ever
looked into the crater, we were amply repaid for our trouble.

"The descent was by no means so difficult as the ascent; a slide on the
snow or sand carried us hundreds of feet down a space which had required
many weary steps to ascend. About dark we arrived at our encampment,
highly delighted with our trip, though much exhausted. All who made the
final attempt were more or less affected either with violent headaches,
nausea, and vomiting, or bleeding at the nose. The veils which we
provided for our journey did good service, but the face, and
particularly the lips, of all who reached the summit, became so
extremely swollen and cracked as to confine them to their rooms for
several days.

"The difficulty of the undertaking had been greatly magnified;--none of
our preparations, excepting veils, were necessary. The sand is the most
serious obstacle to be overcome, and by taking a more circuitous route
from our last encampment, this might have been avoided. All that is
required is patience, perseverance and a physical constitution capable
of sustaining fatigue."


During the sojourn of Mr. Norman in Mexico, in 1844, as described in his
"Rambles by Land and Water," he made an excursion to visit the ancient
town of Panuco, where he was received with the greatest kindness and
hospitality by the white and half-breed inhabitants. His route lay along
the banks of the river, and across the prairies: the common road being
only a bridle path through the forest which is never travelled but with
the greatest caution and watchfulness. Here, as in the State of
Tamaulipas, he visited the Indian huts that lay in his way; but it was
quite impossible to convince the credulous children of the wilderness
that the acquisition of gold was not the real object of his visit;--and
this circumstance may account for the fact that he obtained from them so
little information respecting the neighborhood.

Panuco, an old town of the Huestecos, which is subject to occasional
inundation during the rainy season, is the only important settlement
above Tampico, on the Panuco river, and contains about four thousand
inhabitants. It is beautifully seated on the banks of the stream, in the
State of Vera Cruz, about thirty leagues from Tampico by water and
fifteen by land. In its vicinity, scattered over an area of many miles,
are ancient ruins, whose history is not only entirely unknown to the
inhabitants, but seems not to excite their interest or curiosity. Mr.
Norman could not discover the slightest trace of a tradition on the
subject amongst the neighboring people, though he diligently sought it
from every reliable source. Several days were employed by him in
explorations, and his toil was occasionally rewarded by the discovery of
strange and novel objects. Among these was a handsome block or slab,
seven feet in length, one foot in thickness, and two and a half in
average width. Upon its surface was beautifully wrought, in bold relief,
the full length figure of a man in a loose robe, with a girdle about his
loins, his arms crossed on his breast, his head encased in a close cap
or casque somewhat resembling a helmet without the crest, while his feet
and ankles were bound with the thongs of sandals. The edges of this
block were ornamented with a plain raised border, about an inch and a
half square. The figure is that of a tall athletic man of fine
proportions, whose features are of the noblest class of the European or
Caucasian race, and the execution of the sculpture was equal to the very
best that the traveller found among the wonderful relics of the country.
It was found lying on the side of a ravine, resting upon the dilapidated
walls of an ancient sepulchre, of which nothing now remains but a loose
pile of hewn stones. It was more than four feet beneath the present
surface of the ground, and was brought to light in the course of
excavating which revealed a corner of the slab, and the loose adjacent
stones that had been bared by the rush of waters in the rainy season,
while breaking a new and deep channel to the river. The earth that
covered the slab and sepulchre had not been heaped by the hand of man;
but was the natural accumulation of time, and many years must have been
requisite to bury it so deeply.

       *       *       *       *       *

Three leagues south of Panuco, there are other ancient Indian remains
which are known as the ruins of Chacuaco, and are represented as
covering an area of three square leagues, all of which were comprised
within the bounds of a large city; we should mention also the ruins of
San Nicolas, five leagues south-west; and

[Illustration: AZTEC FIGURES IN CLAY.]

those of La Trinidad, about six leagues in nearly the same direction.
Besides these, there are other ruins of which the traveller was
informed, situated at a still greater distance, all of which present the
same general features as those already described, and probably belonged
to the same period, or were built by the same race. The whole region is
alleged to be full of these memorials of the number, power and wealth of
the ill-fated nations that once dwelt and worshipped on the eastern
slopes of the Mexican Cordilleras.

Domestic utensils made of the ordinary pottery of the country, but
skilfully and even artistically formed, have been exhumed from among
these ruins of ancient cities; and in the course of Mr. Norman's
explorations he unearthed two singular and grotesque images which
probably figured in the idolatrous worship of the Indians. Our traveller
found that similar images were used by the Indian women of the present
day, who suspended them about their necks as talismans, and especially
relied on them in seasons of sickness and danger. The images referred to
are hollow, with a small aperture near one of the shoulders, and are
filled with balls as large as a pea, which are supposed to have been
made of the ashes of victims sacrificed in former days to the gods. We
have ourselves seen numbers of these earthern figures in the valley of
Mexico, where they are vulgarly known as "Mexican's Idols." Travellers
have usually classed them among the _Dii Penates_ or household gods of
the Aztecs or Toltecs, but we have regarded them either as the ornaments
of a primitive people or as the dolls and playthings of their children.
In our plates of antiquities discovered in the valley, several figures
are to be found which we think belong unquestionably to this class.


Sixteen leagues from the sea and fifty-two north of Vera Cruz, on the
eastern slope of the Cordilleras, lies the village of Papantla, in the
midst of plains which are constantly fertilized by streams that descend
from the mountains. It is the centre of a remarkably rich agricultural
district, capable of producing the most luxuriant crops of pepper,
coffee, tobacco, cotton, vainilla, sugar and sarsaparilla, and abounding
in all varieties of valuable woods; but the heat and maladies of the
burning climate prevent the whites from venturing to till so dangerous a
district. Accordingly we find that this Indian village has hardly a
single Spanish inhabitant or visiter except the priest and the traders
who come from the coast to traffic their foreign goods for the products
of the aborigines. Two leagues

[Illustration: PYRAMID OF PAPANTLA.]

from this secluded hamlet, lie spread over the plain, the massive ruins
of an ancient city, which in its palmy days was more than a mile and a
half in circuit. It is a matter of great regret that these relics have
never been sufficiently explored, drawn and described. The most
satisfactory account that we possess of them is that given in the
"Voyage Pittoresque et Archeologique" of Monsieur Nebel, who visited
them several years ago, and has sketched the beautiful pyramid
represented in the plate, which is unquestionably one of the most
perfect and symmetrical relics of antiquity within the present limits of
the republic. Time has done its work upon this remarkable remain; and
trees, plants and vines, which grow so rapidly in this teeming climate,
have sprung among its joints and stories.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Indians of the neighborhood call this pyramid "El Tajin;" it
consists of seven bodies, stages or stories, each of which rises at the
same angle of inclination, and is terminated by a frieze and cornice. It
is constructed of sand-stone beautifully squared, joined and covered
with hard stucco, which appears to have been painted. The pyramid
measures one hundred and twenty feet on every side at its base, and is
ascended by a stair composed of fifty seven steps, each measuring one
foot in height, and terminating at the top of the sixth story. This
stairway is divided in three places, by square recesses two feet in
depth, resembling those which perforate the friezes on each of the
stories. The stair ends at the top of the sixth story, and the seventh,
which seems to be in ruins, is hollow, and was probably the shrine
wherein sacrifices were offered before the image of the god to whom the
pyramid was dedicated. Monsieur Nebel does not state the height of this
edifice; but as he gives the elevation of each of the fifty-seven steps,
we may calculate that the summit of the shrine is at least sixty-six
feet above the base.


[Illustration: MAPILCA.]

A few leagues from Papantla, near an Indian rancho called Mapilca, Mr.
Nebel found pyramids, sculptured stones, and the ruins of an extensive
city, which it was impossible for him to examine in consequence of the
thick vegetation with which they are covered in the dim recesses of the
forest. The artist was alone in the wilderness, and unaided except by a
few indolent Indians who were indisposed to further his researches. The
stone, which is presented in the annexed drawing, is twenty-one feet
long, and of a close grained granite; the figures, carved on its
surface, differ from the ancient sculptures found on this side of the
Cordilleras, and resemble those found in Oajaca, more than any others in
Mexico. Mr. Nebel caused an excavation to be made in front of this
relic, which he supposed had once formed part of an edifice, and at some
distance below the surface he struck upon a road formed of irregular
blocks, not unlike the old Roman pavements.

[Illustration: TUSAPAN.]

About fifteen leagues west from Papantla, in a small plain at the feet
of the eastern Cordillera of Mexico, are the remains of Tusapan, which
is supposed to have been a city of the Totonacs. The vestiges of this
little Indian city are almost obliterated, and the only very significant
relics are the pyramidal edifice exhibited in the annexed plate, and a
singular fountain, a drawing of which is given in the work of M. Nebel.

The pyramid, built of stones of unequal size, extends thirty feet on
each of its sides at the base, and the summit of its single story is
reached by a flight of stairs. Upon the platform of this base a square
tower is erected, which is entered by a door whose posts and lintel, as
well as the friezes of the edifice, have been elaborately carved. In
front of the door, within the tower, stands the pedestal of the ancient
divinity, but the idol itself has been destroyed. The interior of this
apartment is twelve feet square, and its ceiling, like the external
roof, terminates in a point.

Around the pyramid are scattered masses of stones, sculptured into the
images of men and various animals; and from the inferior manner in which
the carving on these objects is executed, we may judge that this
religious temple was not the most celebrated architectural or artistic
work of the ancient inhabitants.

The fountain which we have already mentioned is a single female figure
in an indecent squatting attitude, _nineteen feet high_, and cut from
the solid rock. The remains of a pipe which conveyed the water to it,
are still visible behind the head, and the liquid passed through the
body of the gigantic image until it was discharged beneath into the
basin or canal, by which it was carried to the neighboring town. The
Indian tradition, as recounted by Nebel, states, that the ancient
inhabitants of this spot, abandoned it, in consequence of the
unfertility of the soil and the failure of the streams, and that they
took refuge in, or united themselves with the occupants of Papantla.


At the period of the Conquest of Mexico, this small island, which lies a
few miles from the present city and port of Vera Cruz, and under whose
lee is found the best anchorage on the Eastern Coast for vessels of war,
was unquestionably a spot sacred to sacrifice and burial.

But no one seems to have examined this island, with a truly antiquarian
spirit, until it was visited in 1841, by M. Dumanoir, who commanded a
French vessel of war which was then anchored at the island. Previous to
this time it had been trodden by thousands of idle sailors and landsmen
who raked its surface for the Indian relics of pottery and obsidian
which lay scattered in every direction; and, consequently there was
little of value to be discovered above ground. Accordingly, Monsieur
Dumanoir undertook to make suitable excavations, and, in the centre of
the islet he discovered various sepulchres, in which the skeletons were
found in a state of excellent preservation. Besides this, his trouble
was rewarded by the exhumation of large numbers of clay vases, covered
with paintings and etchings, together with idols, images, collars,
bracelets, arms, teeth of dogs and tigers, and a beautiful urn carved
either in white marble or in the alabaster which abounds in the
neighborhood of Puebla.


About thirty miles from the town of Jalapa, on a ridge of mountains in
the canton of Misantla, rises the Cerro or hill of Estillero, near which
there is a precipitous mountain on whose narrow strip of table land at
the summit, were discovered in 1835, the remains of an extensive ancient
city. The site of this town is perfectly isolated. Steep rocks and deep
ravines surround the mountain upon which it was built, and beyond these
dells and precipices there is a


lofty wall of hills from whose summit the sea in the neighborhood of
Nautla is distinctly visible. The table lands upon which the ruins are
found is only approachable by the gentler declivities in the direction
of the hill of Estillero; and, at all other points, the lonely eminence
appears to have been sundered from the surrounding regions by some
volcanic convulsion.

[Illustration: MISANTLA.]

As the mountain plain on the summit is approached, the traveller first
discovers a broken wall of massive stones, feebly united by cement,
which seems to have served for the boundary of a circular _plaza_ or
area in whose centre rises a pyramid eighty feet high, forty-nine feet
broad, and forty-two deep. It is divided into three stories or stages,
and along the sloping sides of the lower and broadest terrace, a
stairway leads to the first offset. The second stage is ascended by a
stair at the side, and the top of the third is reached by steps niched
into the corner of the pyramid. In front of the edifice, on the second
story, are two pilastral columns, which it is supposed may have been
portions of the stairway; but this part of the _teocalli_, and its upper
story are so wildly overgrown with trees and tropical vegetation that
the outline of the structure is greatly obliterated. On the summit, a
gigantic tree, has sent its roots deep into the spot which was doubtless
once the shrine of the Indian temple.

Beyond the wall of the circular area in which this edifice is placed,
are found the remains of the city or town, extending nearly three miles
north in a straight line. The foundations of all the houses are still
distinctly traceable. They were built of large square stones, and are
separated by streets at the distance of about three hundred yards from
each other. In some of the blocks of buildings the walls are yet
standing, at a height of between three and four feet above the level of
the ground. South of the city are seen the relics of a low narrow wall,
by which it was defended in that direction;--and north of it there is a
tongue of land, jutting out towards the precipitous edges of the
mountain, whose centre is occupied by a mound which the explorers have
supposed to be the ancient cemetery of the inhabitants. On the left
acclivity of the slope by which the town is approached are twelve
sepulchres, seven feet in diameter, and as many high, in which several
bodies were found, parts of which were in good preservation. The walls
of these tombs are constructed of cut stone; but the mortar that
probably once joined them, has entirely disappeared. Several erect and
sitting figures, carved in stone, were discovered on the site of this
city, and two blocks were found, filled with hieroglyphic characters.
Numbers of vases and utensils, were also unearthed; but they were
carried to Vera Cruz, and all trace of them has been subsequently


About a league and a half from the Puente Nacional, or National Bridge,
to the left of the high road in the midst of a dense forest, and near
the banks of the stream known as the Rio del Puente, Don José Maria
Esteva found some interesting remains of antiquity in November of 1843.
They had been visited in 1819 or '20, by a priest, named Cabeza de Vaca,
who was then curate at Puente Nacional, but from that period until 1843,
they had been entirely lost sight of. The temple or teocalli, is
situated on the top of a small mount, elevated about one hundred and
fifty feet above the level of the stream, which runs at its feet. In
consequence of the inequality of the surface of the soil, the edifice is
thirty-three Spanish feet high, on some of its sides, and forty-two on
others. It fronts towards the east, and its platform, or upper level, is
reached by a stairway of thirty-four steps, so steep as to be almost
perpendicular to its base. The platform is forty-eight Spanish feet
broad, and seventy long. The semi-circumference of the base is stated
to be one hundred and six feet. The edifice is surrounded by six
stairways, one foot broad, and the distance between each step or stage
of the body of the teocalli, is about seven feet high nearest the base,
their height diminishing, however, as you ascend to those nearest the
platform. The whole structure is built of lime, sand and large stones
taken from the bed of the river, and although shrubs have grown both on
the platform and on the stairways, this interesting relic of antiquity
has been so completely protected, that its form is still perfectly
preserved. At first sight the edifice would seem to be perfectly solid,
yet upon examination it has been found to be hollow, and that its
ancient entrance was from the west. This entrance, however, is so small
that notwithstanding the efforts of laborers who were employed by the
explorer to clear the fallen rubbish and open a path, they were unable
to penetrate the whole of the interior chambers. The short time they
were enabled to devote to this work, and the fear of the Indians to
encounter wild beasts and serpents in the interior of the temple,
deterred Señor Esteva from further efforts, and thus, perhaps, one of
the most perfect remains of antiquity on the east coast of Mexico is
still very inadequately described.[53]

[Illustration: PUENTE NACIONAL.]


This State was known, previous to the revolution, as the Itendencia de
San Luis Potosi, and included the colony of Nuevo Santander. It is now
bounded on the north by the North American State of Texas; on the
north-west by the Mexican State of Coahuila; on the west by the States
of New Leon and San Luis Potosi; on the south by San Luis Potosi and
Vera Cruz; and, on the east, by the Gulf of Mexico. The breadth of the
State varies from twelve to fifty-five leagues.

The coast of Tamaulipas is more than three hundred and fifty miles in
length, and is fringed with lagunes, varying from four to eighteen miles
in width, which are divided from the gulf by barriers and banks of sand.
The shallowness of the shores along the whole of this coast, and the
dangerous bars which choke the mouths of the rivers, render the
navigation difficult and dangerous for vessels of almost all classes. In
the northern part of the State, in the neighborhood of the Rio Grande,
the country is comparatively level. South of these high plains, however,
and some distance in the interior, the land is varied by a succession of
mountains, hills and vallies, which gradually slope eastwardly until
they are lost in the flats and sands of the sea coast. The Cerro de
Martinez, the Cerro de Xeres, the Cerro del Coronel, and the mountain
ridges, or sierras, de la Palma and del Carico, are the most remarkable
elevations. The land is well watered. Fine vallies extend along the Rio
del Norte or Rio Grande, the Tigre, Borbon, Panuco and Dolores. On the
coast are found the lagunes of La Madre, Morales and Tampico.

The climate of the interior of Tamaulipas is mild and healthy; but on
the coast an intense heat prevails during the greater part of the year,
and, combined with the rank vegetation and moisture, produces diseases
similar to those which scourge the adjacent shores of Vera Cruz. As soon
as the northers begin to blow, all nature--animal and vegetable--is
refreshed by the grateful change; but the hot season generally
recommences in March, and soon spreads miasma and death throughout the
whole of the low lands.

The population of Tamaulipas,--consisting chiefly of Meztizos and
Indians,--was estimated by the Mexican Calendar of 1833, at 166,824, who
were divided among three departments and eleven districts or cantons. In
1842 the population, as stated in the estimate for a congress, was
100,068; and if to this we add ten per cent. for the estimated increase
in seven years, we shall have 110,074 in 1850.

The chief productions and the indigenous plants are similar to those
found in the State of Vera Cruz; and considerable trade is carried on
with the interior--especially with the States of San Luis Potosi,
Zacatecas, and Queretaro,--in mules, oxen, horses, honey and wax. The
coasting and foreign commerce is conducted principally in the ports of
Tampico de Tamaulipas and Matamoros. From these places, large quantities
of European and North American manufactures, enter the middle and
northern States of the republic. Queretaro, San Luis, Nuevo Leon,
Coahuila, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Durango, Chihuahua and Sonora are all
benefitted by this trade in a greater or less degree; and the Panuco,
Rio Grande and other streams are all availed of partially for this
interior trade as far as they are navigable. At Soto la Marina an
important smuggling business was long and vigorously carried on.

The capital of this State is VICTORIA, formerly SANTANDER, a town of
12,000 inhabitants. TAMPICO DE TAMAULIPAS, on the northern bank of the
Panuco, which enters the Mexican Gulf five miles below the town, is the
principal commercial port of the State. Its bar is dangerous and its
harbor considered unsafe. Large vessels cannot approach the town, which
is situated among extensive marshes. It is visited almost every year by
the yellow fever; yet its foreign commerce is extensive and appears to
be increasing.

SOTO LA MARINA is a small village and haven at the mouth of the river
Santander, on its left bank. It is composed chiefly of Indian huts, and
contains about 3,000 inhabitants.

MATAMOROS lies on the right bank of the Rio Grande or Rio Bravo del
Norte, at the distance of ten leagues from its mouth. It contains about
10,000 inhabitants, who have become well acquainted with the people of
the United States during the recent war. The climate of Matamoros is hot
and sickly, like that of Tampico or Vera Cruz; but as the river upon
which it lies is perhaps the most important in Mexico, and has proved
navigable by steamers for a considerable distance in the interior, it is
probable that this place will become the depot of a large and valuable
commerce destined for the supply of the northern States of the Mexican
confederacy. By the treaty of 1848, the Rio Grande became the boundary
between large portions of the two republics; and as the intervening
country between the Nueces and the Rio Grande is not considered at
present attractive for agricultural purposes, it is likely that it will
long continue unoccupied and unsettled, thus leaving the whole of our
commerce to be conveyed to Matamoros, or to our own neighboring
settlements on the opposite shore, for distribution throughout the
valley of the Rio Grande.

[Illustration: TAMPICO.]

The other towns and villages in Tamaulipas worthy of note, are Altamira,
Horcasitas, Coco, Escandon, Llera, Santillana, Padilla, Hoyos,
Guadalupe, Reinosa, Camargo, Mier, Revilla, the most important of which
lie on the margin of, or near, the Rio Grande.


The only remains of Indian architecture and civilization of whose
existence we are aware, are those described in the small work published
by Mr. B. M. Norman in 1845, to which we have already alluded, entitled
"Rambles by Land and Water or Notes of Travel in Cuba and Mexico." This
gentleman's notices of the antiquities in this region are exceedingly
brief, sketchy and indefinite, nor are the illustrations with which his
text is accompanied, calculated to convey more vivid pictures of the
relics he visited or discovered in the course of his investigations
along the margins of the Panuco.

Departing from Tampico, in March, 1844, he ascended that river in a
canoe, paddled by an Indian, and before nightfall, on the second day of
his primitive voyage, reached Topila creek, three miles from the mouth
of which he landed at a _rancho_ or cattle farm, belonging to Señor
Coss, of Tampico. Five miles from this spot, lying to the eastward of
another _rancho_, he found several considerable mounds, one of which was
more than twenty-five feet high and of a circular form. At its sides, a
number of layers of small flat well hewn stones were still to be seen;
while scattered about were many others of larger size and various
shapes. All were perfectly plain or unadorned, and had apparently been
used for the door posts and lintels of edifices.

On the following day, the traveller visited the _rancho de las Piedras_,
distant about two leagues and a half in a southerly direction from the
bank of the Topila. Passing through a dense wilderness, he reached after
much toil, an elevated table land or plateau, near a chain of hills
running through this section of country and known as the Cerro de
Topila. Here he found more scattered stones which had once formed parts
of buildings; while, further on, he discovered several mounds, whose
sides were constructed of loose layers of smooth and uniform blocks of
concrete sandstone. Most of these layers, had, however, fallen from
their places in the _tumuli_, and were heaped in masses near their base.
About twenty of these mounds, lay contiguous to each other, varying in
height from six to twenty-five feet, some being circular and others
square. The principal elevation in this group of pyramids covers an area
of about two acres, and at its base, Mr. Norman discovered a
cylindrical stone slab seven inches thick, four feet nine inches in
diameter, and pierced through the centre, lying upon the top of a
circular wall whose top was level with the ground. On removing this
stone he found a well filled up with broken stones and fragments of
pottery. The upper portion of the slab bore evidence of having been
originally sculptured, but the tracings of the chisel were so much worn
by time and seasons that they could not be drawn with accuracy. On the
top of the tumulus, in front of which this well was discovered, grew a
wild fig tree, whose gigantic height of more than an hundred feet,
indicates the great age of the work and the long period of its

The walls of the adjacent minor mounds had all fallen inward, from which
the traveller concluded that they had been used for sepulture; but he
does not seem to have taken the time or trouble to verify this
conjecture by personal explorations. The ground, for several miles
around, was strewn with loose hewn stones of various shapes, and broken
fragments of pottery, which had unquestionably formed parts of domestic
utensils. Fragments of _obsidian_, which had no doubt been the knives
and weapons of the former inhabitants of this spot, were also
plentifully scattered about, and every indication existed of a dense
population in the by gone days. These ruins are placed by Mr. Norman in
98° 31´ west longitude and 22° 9´ north latitude.

But the remains of edifices, pyramids and tombs were not the only relics
found by the traveller in these dense forests bordering the Atlantic
coast. The Indians who once dwelt in this district, like the Aztecs,
Zapotecs and Yucatese had evidently devoted themselves to sculpture; but
whether for the purpose of simple adornment or for idolatry, there are
no facts to apprise us with certainty. The most remarkable relic found
by Norman, was a large head, beautifully cut in fine sandstone, of a
dark reddish hue, which abounds in the neighborhood. The face stands out
in bold relief from the rough block, as if it had been left unfinished,
or as if it was originally designed to occupy a place among the
ornamental portions of an edifice. The industrious traveller caused this
object to be borne, with others, to Tampico, and has deposited it in the
collection of the New York Historical Society. Other stones, of a
somewhat similar character, attracted his attention, but the most
extraordinary sculpture he has described in his work is that to which he
assigns the name of the American Sphynx. It is the image of a gigantic
turtle, with the head of a man protruding boldly from beneath its carved
and curving case. The back was correctly and artistically wrought, and
all the lines of the scales were neatly cut in exact proportions. There
were also in many parts fainter lines, shewing that the peculiar and
graceful arabesques which are wrought by nature on the shell of this
amphibious animal, had not been overlooked by the artist. This huge
figure, raised on its four legs, was placed upon a large block of
concrete sandstone. All its parts were equally true to nature. It was
much mutilated, and the human head had been especially injured, but not
sufficiently to obliterate the artistic workmanship with which it had
been originally chiselled.

The place where Mr. Norman found these remains had evidently been the
site of a large city; and, proceeding with his excavations among huge
masses of earth or stones of every size and shape, he was, at length,
rewarded by the discovery of another ancient figure. It was merely a
human face, in full relief from the block, which was entirely cut away
from the top and bottom, but left in two nearly circular projections at
the sides. The ornaments on the head are peculiar, and are formed of
three balls, with slight indentations, connected together by a band
running across the top of the cerebrum and terminating at the sides just
above the gigantic ears, which are nearly half the size of the face. The
features and contour of the head are described as not resembling those
of the American or Mexican Indian in any of their lines. This head is
seventeen inches in length, twenty-one in width, including the ears, and
ten in thickness. It was found on the side of a large pile of ruins, the
remains of dilapidated walls, of which it had unquestionably formed one
of the ornaments. It is to be regretted that Mr. Norman was unable to
devote more time to the exploration of this region. His antiquarian
researches however formed only an episode in his travels through
portions of Mexico, and besides this, his labor was exceedingly great in
cutting his way through the dense shrubbery which covers the ground amid
a wilderness of trees, matted and woven together with thousands of
creepers or plants whose thorns pierced or obstructed him at every
moment. He had, moreover, to contend with myriads of annoying insects,
and he feared the bite of the poisonous alacranes or the spring of the
tiger that sometimes started from the thickets. He received no
assistance from the stupid Indians dwelling in the neighborhood. They
could not conceive that curiosity alone would prompt any one to
encounter the toil and danger which must be endured in explorations in
the TIERRA CALIENTE of Mexico, and imagined that the search for gold and
buried treasure, rather than antiquities, was his real motive for
attempting to penetrate the recesses of their lonely wilderness.





This rich and beautiful State lies, for 118 leagues, along the Pacific
Ocean. On the north-west, it is bounded by the State of Puebla, on the
north by Vera Cruz, and east by the State of Chiapas and the republic of
Central America or Guatemala. It extends from east to west about 115
leagues, and from north to south 322 leagues, containing an area of
5,046 square leagues.

We pass now from the hot and sickly sands and marshes of the eastern
coast to a region which has been considered by many writers and
travellers as the most delightful in Mexico. Beauty of natural scenery
and salubrity of climate, fertility of soil and richness of productions,
combine to render Oajaca valuable, not only in a commercial aspect, but
as a residence in which it would be agreeable to pass a life time. Nor
is this the opinion only of the present inhabitants, for the remains of
antiquity still found within the limits of the State, prove it to have
been the seat of Indian civilization long before the arrival of the
Spaniards. The geological structure of this State is different from that
of Puebla and Mexico; and the vegetation is quite as vigorous as that of
other prolific regions, without the rankness which produces rapid
decomposition and miasma. The rains are generally abundant from May to

In our general description of the geological and geographical
characteristics of Mexico, we have already shown that the great
Cordillera, forming the spine of this continent, divides into two arms
after leaving the Isthmus, which connects North and South America. One
of these mountain ranges with its high vallies and table lands forms the
barrier along the Pacific, while the other spreads out its massive veins
throughout the middle and eastern portions of Mexico. Between these
formations, the Valley of Oajaca lies embosomed; and from this beautiful
and fruitful region, which was bestowed by the Spanish crown upon
Cortéz, he obtained his Marquisate del Valle de Oajaca, in which his
family still possessed, previous to the revolution, 49 villages, with a
population of 17,700 persons.

In these two mountain regions, thus sundered by the valley, have dwelt,
from the earliest periods, two Indian races known as the Mixtecas and
the Zapotecas; the former of which is characterised by activity,
intelligence and industry. Besides these tribes, seventeen others are
reckoned still to inhabit Oajaca.

       *       *       *       *       *

The State is divided into eight departments, which are subdivided into
districts or cantons.

1st. The Department of the Centre, with the cantons of Oajaca, Partido
del Toranéo, Etla, Tlacolula, and Zimatlan.

2d. Department of Ejutla, with the cantons of Octolan, Miahuatlan, and

3d. Department of Jamiltepec, with the cantons of Jamiltepec and

4th. Department of Tehuantepec, with the cantons of Tehuantepec,
Quechapa and Lachixila.

5th. Department of Teposcolula, with the cantons of Teposcolula,
Tlaxiaco and Nocnistlan.

6th. Department of Huajuapam, with the cantons of Huajuapam and

7th. Department of Toochila and Villalta, with the cantons of Ixtlan,
Yalalag and Chuapam.

8th. The Department of Teutitlan del Camino, with the cantons of
Teutitlan and Teutila.

These eight departments and twenty-three cantons,--with nearly 700,000
inhabitants,--contain one city,--the capital, Oajaca;--eight towns; nine
hundred and thirteen villages; one hundred and thirty-seven large
_haciendas_; two hundred and thirty-five _ranchos_; sixty-eight sugar
mills or _trapiches_, and six _estancias_ or cattle estates and grazing
farms. Besides these elements of agricultural wealth, Oajaca possesses
ten mills, driven by water power, nearly all of which lie in the
neighborhood of the capital, and are used chiefly for wheat. Corn is
ground or rubbed, for _tortillas_, on the _metate_ by the Indian women
throughout Mexico; and consequently but little of this kind of grain is
ever brought to the mills. There are five mines or mineral workings in
the State, at Ystepéxi, Taléa, Teojomulco, Peñoles, and Las Péras, with
ten smelting and amalgamating establishments.

There are nine sea ports, roadsteads and anchorages in Oajaca, the best
of which are Tehuantepec, Huatulco, Escondido, Chacáhua, and Jamiltepec.

Corn, chile, agave, cotton, coffee, sugar, cacao, vainilla, tobacco,
cochineal, wax, honey, and a small quantity of indigo, are the staple
productions of this State. Nearly all the fruits which we have already
described as growing in the State of Vera Cruz, are produced here
abundantly, and of excellent quality.

The State is estimated as containing, on an average of years--

          44,106                           Horses.
          18,438                           Mules.
          10,420                           Asses.
         171,518                           Neat cattle.
         213,156                           Sheep.
         158,009                           Goats.
          47,947                           Hogs.
  Total, 663,600 head of cattle.

The worth of which is calculated, in the home market, at $3,332,757.

Gold, silver, copper, quicksilver, iron, rock salt, limestone, gypsum,
&c., are found in Oajaca. In the thirty-nine years between January,
1787, and March, 1826, the official registers show a product in the
State of 4,820 marks of gold, and 544,257 marks of silver; and in the
five years from March, 1826, to the end of 1830, 95 marks of gold, and
21,701 of silver. But these sums must not be regarded as perfect
indications of the absolute product of Oajaca, inasmuch as its proximity
to the sea, and the facilities for smuggling in the lonely districts of
the west coast have no doubt enabled the trading community to export a
large portion of the real avails of the mines, which, of course, never
appear in the authentic registers and returns of the State.

       *       *       *       *       *

The chief towns and villages of this State are: Oajaca, the capital;
Guayápa or Huazapa, Talistaca, Santa Maria del Tule, Tlacochahuáya,
Teutitlan del Valle, Tlacolula, Mitla, the ancient Leoba; San Dionisio,
Totolapa, San Carlos, Villa de Nejapa, Quijechápa, Quiegolani,
Tequisistlan, Villa de Jalapa, Tlapalcatepec, Tehauntepec, San Francisco
de la Mar, Petapa, Juchuitan, Niltepec Yshuatan, Zanatepec, Tepanatepec,
Xoro or Xojocatlan, Cuylapa, Zachila, the ancient Teozapotlan; San
Bartolomeo de Zapéche, Zimatlan, Villa de Santa Anna, Chilateca, Santa
Cruz Mistepec, San Juan Elotepec, Etla, San Juan del Estado, San Pablo
Huizo or Guajolotitlan, Ejutla, Ocotlan, Chichicapa, Ayoquesco,
Miahuatlan, Pochutla, Santa Cruz de Huatulco, Juchatengo Tonamaca,
Jamiltepec, Acatepec, Juquila, Sacatepéc, Santa Maria Istapa,
Teojomulco, Huajuapan, Justláhuaca, Chicahuástla, Achintla, Teita, Villa
de Teposcolula, Talaxiaco, Santa Maria Chimalapa, Yanguitlan, Los
Pueblos de Almoloyas, San Miguel Chimalapa Nochistlan, Tilantongo,
Xaltepec, Teutitlan del Camino, San Antonio de los Cues, Tecomavaca,
Quiotepec, Cuicatlan, San Pedro Chiezapotl, Donomingullo, Coyula,
Teutila, Villalta, Zoochila, Zolaga, Quetzaltepec, Totontepec, Chuapan,
Chinantla, Istlan.



About ten leagues from the capital, on the road leading to Tehuantepec,
are the remains of what antiquarians have styled the sepulchral palaces
of Mitla, lying in the midst of a rocky granitic region, and surrounded
by sad and sombre scenery. According to tradition, these edifices were
erected by the Zapotecs, as palaces and sepulchres for their princes. It
is asserted that at the death of members of the royal family, their
bodies were laid in the vaults beneath, while the sovereign and his
relatives retired to mourn the loss of the departed scion in the
chambers above these solemn sepulchres, which were screened from the
public eye by dark and silent groves.

Another tradition declares that these edifices were the abodes of a sect
of priests, whose duty it was to dwell in seclusion and offer expiatory
sacrifices for the royal dead who reposed in the vaults beneath.

The village of Mitla was called Miguitlan, signifying, in the Mexican
tongue, a place of sadness; while by the Zapotecs it was named Leoba, or
"the tomb."

The palaces or tombs of Mitla, form three edifices, symmetrically
arranged in an extremely romantic site; the principal and best preserved
edifice has a front of nearly one hundred and fifty feet. A

[Illustration: Scale of Varas.


stair-way through a dark shaft leads to a subterranean apartment of one
hundred feet in length, by thirty in width, whose walls are covered with
Grecian ornaments similar to those on the exterior of the edifice, as
shown in the plate. These external walls are said to be decorated with
labyrinthine figures, formed by a mosaic of small porphyritic stones,
and we recognize in them the same designs which are admired in the
ancient vases, falsely called Etruscan, and on the frieze of the old
temple usually assigned to the god Redicolus, which lies near the grotto
of Egeria at Rome.

But the objects which chiefly distinguish the architectural remains of
Mitla from all other Mexican antiquities are six porphyritic columns,
which support the ceiling of a vast saloon. These singular
columns,--almost the only ones found in the New World,--evince the
extreme infancy of art;--they have neither bases nor capitals, and are
cut in a gradually tapering shape from a solid stone, more than fifteen
feet in length.

The distribution of the apartments in this extraordinary edifice
presents some striking analogies with the monuments of Upper Egypt,
described by Denon and the _savants_ who composed the institute at
Cairo. Don Pedro de Laguna, who examined them carefully many years ago,
discovered on their walls some curious paintings of sacrifices and
martial trophies. In order to form an idea of the almost Cyclopean style
of architecture, we may remark the extraordinary dimensions of the
stones above the entrances to the principal halls. Mr. Glennie states
that one of these masses is eighteen feet eight inches long, four feet
ten inches broad, and three feet six inches thick. A second is nineteen
feet four inches long, four feet ten and a half inches broad, and three
feet nine inches thick, whilst a third is nineteen feet six inches long,
four feet ten inches broad, and three feet four inches thick. The
antiquarian will not fail to observe, that there is some similarity
between the exterior of _these_ Oajacan remains and those which have
been uncovered and described in Yucatan, by Stephens, during his second
expedition. It is not improbable that an intercourse existed between the
inhabitants of these districts, prior to the Spanish Conquest. We
believe that these architectural remains and nearly all of those in
Yucatan, Chiapas and Guatemala, were the abodes and temples of the
Indians who dwelt in Mexico and the adjacent countries when Grijalva and
Cortéz first landed on our continent. The distance from Oajaca, through
Chiapas and Tabasco, to Yucatan is not too great to have prevented even
a rapid communication from Mitla to Uxmal, or Palenque. The reader will
recollect that the realm of Montezuma is alleged to have extended to
near the present limits of the Republic of Central America; nor will he
forget with what rapidity the well trained Indian couriers of the
Emperor passed over the three hundred intervening miles of mountain,
plain and valley, between Vera Cruz and the Valley of Mexico, in order
to inform their sovereign of the Spaniards' arrival and their leader's
determination to visit the Aztec Court. At Cozumel, and elsewhere in
Yucatan, the earliest Spanish adventurers were struck by the
architecture of the edifices which were inhabited by the Indians. In
their letters and narratives they always speak of these "buildings of
stone and lime" as indicating civilization. The Indian deities were, at
that time, unquestionably, worshipped in them. At Cholula, Tlascala, and
Tenochtitlan or Mexico, as well as at Tezcoco,--pyramids, dwellings,
palaces, walls, streets, causeways, were all built of stone cemented by
mortar, and many of these objects were profusely ornamented. There can
be no doubt of these facts, for they were attested at the time by
numerous witnesses, while many of the material relics of that age have
descended even to the present time, and may still be inspected in the
capital of the Republic. Why, then, should we hesitate to believe that a
vast chain of civilized, intelligent and affiliated nations,
_co-existed_ on the central part of this continent in the sixteenth
century, and that the ruined cities, temples and pyramids which are
spread from the waters of the Gila as far south as Peru and Chili, and
whose wonderful remains are now gradually unearthed by the industry of
antiquarians, are the architectural fragments of their national

We do not conceive it necessary to throw back the Indian architects into
the gloom of antiquity, long anterior to the arrival of the Spaniards.
There is a natural yearning in the human mind for the mystery with which
a vague, indefinite epoch, surrounds ruins that are accidentally
discovered. But this is a poetical sentiment, rather than a fair
starting point in archaiological researches; and, in spite of the
national vanity which might be gratified by proving that the aboriginal
civilization of our continent was as old as that of Egypt, we shall
adhere to the belief that Mitla, Palenque, Uxmal and Quemada were
inhabited by the builders or their descendants, whilst the thrones of
Mexico and Peru were occupied by Montezuma and Atahualpa.


In 1844, an examination was made by order of the Governor of Oajaca of
the ancient remains situated near the village of Quiotepec, about
thirty-two leagues north from the capital of Oajaca. These ruins are
found on the Cerro de las Juntas, or Hill of the Union, so called from
its vicinity to the junction of the rivers Quiotepec and Salado.

The eminence is covered in almost every direction with remains of
military works of a defensive character, calculated to protect the
dwellings erected on the hill, and the extensive temple and palace,
whose massive ruins still crown the summit. These remains are said to
resemble those of Chicocomoc or Quemada, in the State of Zacatécas,
which will be fully described in our notice of that portion of Mexico.
The similarity consists in the style of the architecture, and the
evident mingling of defence and worship. There is no resemblance,
however, to the remains found in Yucatan as described by Stephens,
Catherwood and Norman, where the designs are all highly ornamental,
denoting a higher state of luxury, taste and progress in civilization.
The teocalli or temple of Quiotepec and that of Chicocomoc or Quemada
are both pyramidal, like most of the Aztec religious structures; but the
architectural style, generally, at the former place, is rather more
sumptuous than at Quemada.[54]

Besides these remains, there are many others in the State of Oajaca,
which are still inadequately known or described, such for instance, as
the turmuli and pyramids at Montealban, two leagues south-west from
Oajaca;--the relics of many strong-holds;--the turmuli at Zachila;--the
ruins at Coyúla and at San Juan de los Cués.

In the museum of the University of Mexico, and in the private collection
of the late Ex-Conde del Peñasco, we found some remarkable figures
chiselled from a finely grained sand stone, two of which are represented
in the succeeding pages. They were found in the State of Oajaca. Their
use or their symbolical character have never been accurately detected;
but in the last of the two we may observe quite a remarkable resemblance
to some of the idols still to be seen in the temples of India.

[Illustration: FIGURE FROM OAJACA.]

[Illustration: FIGURES FROM OAJACA.]




Nearly all of this State lies in the torrid zone, occupying a portion of
the table land, and stretching westwardly down the slopes of the Sierra
Madre to the Pacific Ocean, between the parallels of 16° 17´ and 20° 40´
north latitude. From the mouth of the river Tecoyáme to Mextitlan, it is
126 leagues long, and from Tehuacan to Mecameca, 53 leagues broad. It
contains an area of 2,700 square leagues. On the north it is bounded by
the State of Queretaro, north-easterly by the State of Vera Cruz,
easterly by Oajaca, westwardly by Mexico and south-westwardly, for 28
leagues, by the Pacific Ocean. The last enumeration of inhabitants to
which we have access, assigned 954,000 individuals to the State of
Puebla, in the year 1832; but the estimate made for the basis of a call
of congress in 1842, gave it only 661,902.

This State is divided into 25 _partidos_, or districts, the chief of
which are Atlixco, Guauchinango, Ométepéc, Puebla, Tepéaca, Tehuacan de
las Granádas, Tlapan, and Zacatlan. It possesses 5 cities and towns, 126
parishes, 590 villages, 412 _haciendas_ or plantations, and 857 large
and small _ranchos_ or farms. The surface of this State is divided
between mountains, vallies, plains or low lands; and produces corn,
wheat, barley, chile, maguey, beans and all the hardier, together with
some of the southern fruits and plants. The wheat flour of Puebla is
celebrated for its excellence, and has sometimes been exported to Havana
and South America.

In the neighborhood of Oajaca cochineal is sometimes produced; and on
the low lands towards the western coast, cotton, rice, and small
quantities of coffee and sugar are cultivated. The Llanos de Apam, in
the neighborhood of the State of Mexico are celebrated for their
fertility, and especially renowned for the excellence of the _pulque_,
produced from the maguey or Agave Americana.

Nearly four-fifths of the real property of Puebla either belongs or is
hypothecated to the church and to hospitals, and consequently the
agriculture of the State is not as well managed as if the land belonged
to independent farmers, who derived their wealth directly from the soil.
Great poverty prevails among the lower classes, and their sad condition
is generally attributed in Mexico to the mismanagement of real estate by
the clergy.

The water power in the neighborhood of the city of Puebla has given a
stimulus to manufactories, and the reader will find in our chapter upon
that branch of Mexican industry some interesting statistical facts
showing the progress made by the inhabitants of this portion of the

The only river of any importance in Puebla is the Rio de Tlascala or
Papagallo, which rises in the table lands, and runs southerly from the
village of Ayútla to the Pacific. The Pascaqualca, Tacunapa, Tecoyama,
and the San José are insignificant streamlets along the coast.

[Illustration: CITY OF PUEBLA.]

The chief cities of this State are Puebla or Puebla de los Angeles--the
"City of the Angels,"--which is the capital and the seat of the State
government. It is a beautiful town, lying in the midst of a fruitful
plain bounded by the mountains, and shut in at the west by the gigantic
peaks of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. Broad, clean and well paved
streets cross it at suitable distances. The houses are large, convenient
and neat, and numerous churches forever send forth the music of their
bells. A beautiful public walk, planted with rows of trees, runs along a
small stream on the outskirts of the city; and an Alameda, of exceeding
beauty, lies opposite the extensive pile of San Francisco on the west.
In the centre of the town is a large well paved public square,
surrounded by _portales_ or arches, similar to those of Bologna, in
Italy, while in its centre is the massive cathedral whose wealth is
renowned among the Roman Catholic churches of America. A splendid and
weighty chandelier, composed of gold and silver, weighing altogether
several tons, depends from the dome, whilst the figures of saints, the
tops of altars, and the recesses of chapels, gleam, on State occasions
with a display of precious metals and jewels which is perhaps unequalled
even by the cathedral of Mexico or the sanctuary of Guadalupe. There are
other establishments in Puebla belonging to the Franciscan and Augustin
monks, and several churches, which are celebrated for their elegance,
comfort and wealth. The Palace of the Bishop, in the vicinity of the
cathedral, is a massive edifice, containing a library of many thousand
volumes in a saloon 200 feet long by 40 broad.

The other towns of this State are:--CHOLULA, adjacent to the remains of
the _Pyramid of Cholula_, which will be subsequently noticed;--ATLIXCO;
GUAUCHINANGO, in the northern valley of the State, where the Indians
still indulge in their ancient sport of the Juégo del Volador or flying
game;--TEHUACAN DE LAS GRANADAS, containing near 6,000 inhabitants;
TEPEACA or TEPÉYACAC, where Cortéz laid the foundations of a city which
he called "_Segura de la Frontéra_;"--HUAJOCINGO or HUEXOTZINGO;
Chiautla, Tlapan, Tlacotepec, Amozoqué, San Martin, Nopaluca, Acajete,
Ojo de Agua.

In the eighteenth century various mines of gold and silver were wrought
in the old Intendencia de Puebla, at Yxtacmaztillan, Temistla, and
Alatlanquitepec in the district of San Juan de los Llanos, as well as at
Tetéla de Xonotla and at Zacatlan; but none of these are at present
productive. Quarries of fine marble exist at Totaméhuacan and Tecali,
two and seven leagues distant from the capital. Limestone is found in
quantities, and a beautiful transparent alabaster is also procured,
which is used for windows in the library, museum and churches. If the
transportation of these weighty

[Illustration: FLYING INDIANS.]

[Illustration: POPOCATEPETL.]

articles were not so expensive in Mexico, this alabaster might be
profitably exported to Europe, where its extreme purity and clearness
would probably ensure its preference to all indigenous qualities.
Extensive salt works are carried on at Chila, Xicotlan, Ocotlan and

Some of the most remarkable geological characteristics of the Mexican
Republic are found in the three celebrated mountains of Popocatepetl,
Iztaccihuatl, and Malinche or Matlacueye, which lie in the State of
Puebla. The latter of these, sometimes called La doña Maria, lies
between the volcanoes of Puebla and those of Orizaba and Perote, but
does not require special mention except as forming a striking and
picturesque feature in the landscape. But the other two deserve our
special notice.


The mountains of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl border the State of
Puebla on the west. The following account of the ascent of the former of
these gigantic volcanoes is founded on the journal published in Spanish
in May, 1827, by Messieurs Frederick and William Glennie, who were in
the service of the British United Mining Company, and Mr. John Taylour,
a merchant of the city of Mexico.

On the 16th of April, 1827, the party left the capital early in the day,
accompanied by their servant José Quintana, and, provided with
barometer, sextant, chronometer, telescope, and other instruments,
reached the village of Ameca, on the western slope of the mountain,
where they halted for the night.

On the 17th they continued their route, following the road to Puebla
which leads through the gap of the two mountains, intending to go to
Atlixco. In the highest part of the gap they took the road to the right
which is called "_de los neveros_," (those who procure ice for the
capital,) and having reached the limit of vegetation, which according to
their barometrical measurements is 12,693 English feet above the level
of the sea, they met with some men who informed them, that in this
direction they could not reach the summit, nor prosecute their way to
Atlixco on account of the great quantity of sand. With this information
they returned to the road they had left, and reached the village of St.
Nicolas de los Ranchos.

On the following day they continued towards Atlixco. The road here edges
along the eastern side of the mountain, skirting an extensive district
covered with large rocks and loose stones. Having understood that the
village of Tochimilco is nearest to the volcano, they determined to go
thither to obtain information relative to the adventure. The Alcalde
Don F. Olivares, who, 'though the owner of Popocatepetl, had never
reached the summit, gave them all the information he possessed, offered
to accompany them, and procured guides and carriers for their
instruments. They appointed the next day to go to his Hacienda de St.
Catalina, which is at the very foot of the principal mountain and
belongs to that estate.

On the 19th they proceeded to the hacienda, where they were soon joined
by Señor Olivares, who was prevented by some business from accompanying
them any farther. He furnished them a guide who conducted them through a
thick forest, to the highest limit of the pines, which they found to be
12,544 feet above the ocean. Here they passed the night. At midnight it
rained, which was soon afterwards followed by a severe hoar frost.

On the 20th of April, contemplating to reach the summit this day, they
distributed the instruments among the carriers, and mounted on the
mules, began the ascent at half after three in the morning by the light
of the moon. After travelling a short distance they left all vegetation,
and entered a district of loose stones and sand, which although hardened
considerably by the rain, greatly fatigued the mules. In this manner
they ascended on the south-west side of the mountain, until half past
six when they could proceed no further with the mules, as much because
they were too fatigued, as on account of the steepness of the volcano's
side. They therefore dismounted, and abandoning the mules, gave the
barometer in charge to Quintana. They resumed their ascent through a
soil composed of loose sand and stones, with many fragments of pumice
stone, being desirous of reaching some rocks which appeared to be
connected with the summit. Here, however, the difficulties commenced;
the acclivity was very steep, the footing so loose that every step they
made forward they slipped back nearly the same distance; and the
thinness of the air fatigued them so much that they could not advance
more than fifteen or twenty steps without resting. In this manner they
proceeded about half a mile, until they reached the rocks, where they
waited for the Indians who followed more slowly. During this time the
thermometer stood at 28° of Fahrenheit. The sky was perfectly clear, but
a dense stratum of vapor rested on the horizon, which prevented them
from perceiving any object, and made it appear as if they were in the
midst of an ocean. At 8 o'clock A. M. they first saw the sun. As soon as
the Indians arrived, they took a light breakfast, and continued
ascending among large loose stones, which have rolled from the summit,
and, arrested by each other in their course, have formed a kind of
zone, so lightly supported however, that the slightest touch sets them
in motion. This naturally alarmed the Indians, who declined going any
farther; but by persuasions and promises they succeeded in getting them
to advance. Seeing, however, that the road was becoming rather worse,
all further means of persuasion to induce them to proceed began to fail.
They endeavored to ascend through a gulley which they had perceived on
their left; but the way thither was very difficult, and was rendered
more perilous by clouds which prevented their distinguishing any thing.
Here the Indians entirely refused to stir any further, and having given
them part of the provisions, they were sent with the baggage to wait at
the place where they had encamped the night before. This circumstance
very much discouraged the travellers. Being left without instruments
they had to relinquish the physical and astronomical observations which
they had proposed to make, and thereby missed the principal object of
their journey. They nevertheless determined to persevere, for the
purpose of examining well the situation, and noting such points as might
facilitate any subsequent attempt undertaken with better preparations.

Soon after this the clouds dispersed, and they reached a passage which
was very steep and covered with loose stones, and through which they
ascended with much labor, extending their line so as to prevent the
stones rolling on those below. The fatigue and the pain in their knees,
obliged them to rest every eight or ten paces. After an hour's
travelling in this manner they reached a body of basaltic rock, which
being very steep they could not surmount but with great difficulty, and
only by leaping from one rock to the other, at great risk. After this
they got into a bed of loose sand, (apparently pumice stone reduced to
dust,) and ascended to a very high rock, which from Mexico appears like
a speck. The rock is a great mass of compact black basalt forming some
imperfect pillars, the fissures being filled with solid ice.

They observed from time to time small stones falling upon them, as if
thrown from above, and began to experience headache and nausea, which
affected Quintana more than the others. The barometrical observation
here showed an elevation of 16,895 English feet above the ocean. After
taking some slight refreshments, and resting about an hour, they
continued their ascent.

It is impossible to detail the particulars of the frequent difficulties
and risks encountered until the explorers reached the sandy acclivity
which forms the dome of the mountain, and the firmness with which they
overcame them. At this point they took another short rest--fancying
themselves very near the end of their labors, and deceived by the great
rarefaction of the air, which made objects appear much nearer than they
really were, they forgot what they had already undergone, and Mr.
Glennie was entirely taken up with the prospect of soon putting his
barometer in operation on the very summit. At this time Quintana who had
smoked a good deal and was otherwise much fatigued, complained of
excessive headache and fell down exhausted. They concluded that at these
great elevations smoking is as impracticable as the use of ardent
spirits. The servant was vainly encouraged to proceed, and finding it
impossible, they directed him to await their return where he was.

They had before them a smooth expanse of sand, which on their left was
covered, from the summit down, with ice or crystallized snow, forming a
great variety of cubic and prismatic figures. Continuing their ascent
along the edge of this snow, they heard a noise like distant thunder,
and concluding that it was raining somewhere, they proceeded about a
league, making frequent halts, being greatly distressed with violent
pains in the head and knees, nausea, and difficulty of respiration. They
had passed the whole day in absolute solitude; encountering neither
plant, bird nor even the least insect. All they saw around them, were
fractured rocks, that had undergone fusion, blistered fragments, and
heaps of rubbish, sand and ashes. While contemplating these images of
destruction, they unexpectedly, about five o'clock P. M., arrived at the
border of an immense abyss, throwing up a shower of stones, with a noise
similar to that produced by the waves of the sea beating against a wall.
Natural emotion and surprise obliged them to recede some paces. Their
hair stood on end--their shoulders fell--and they felt a sudden
nauseating emptiness of the stomach. Without being able to speak, they
could but look at each other, until this sensation of sickness and
horror had subsided. They then returned to observe the crater, and
examined the barometer, whose mercurial column measured only 15.63
English inches, while the thermometer attached to it was at 39° and the
detached one 33° Fahrenheit. They then sat down to contemplate the scene
around them, to take notes, and make drawings.

They observed that most of the stones which were thrown up in the
eruptions, fell within the crater, the rest fell over the south side.
The dull sound which was constantly heard within increased from time to
time, and terminated with an explosion, at which time stones, sand, and
ashes were thrown up. Those eruptions were frequent--some stronger than
others. From various places in the interior and near the edge of the
crater, arose small columns of smoke, the principal of which were three
on the east side, and at a considerable depth within the crater. The
crater itself has the appearance of a large funnel, whose sides are but
little inclined, and the bottom of which is not visible. The sides are
furrowed by numerous gulleys which descend from around the mouth of the
crater, having the appearance of the radii of a circle towards the
centre. There are three distinct rings, or excavations, which divide the
crater into four zones of different dimensions, the largest being that
nearest the mouth, and which is of solid rock, the others appear to be
composed of sand. The snow occupies only the exterior part of the
summit, and that part of the interior of the crater which faces to the
north, where its limits cannot be discovered. The mouth of the volcano
is nearly circular, about a mile in diameter, and appears much lower on
the eastern than on the western side. The lip of the southern side is
very thin, and so broken that it seems impossible to walk on it, while
the northern part, on the contrary, is broad and more even.

On account of a thick stratum of mist by which they were surrounded, the
intrepid travellers could only see the summit of the peak of Orizaba,
and the neighboring snow-capped mountains to the north.

Having completed the observations, and night approaching, they descended
by the same way towards the place where they had left the servant, with
the intention of passing the night there and returning to the summit
next morning; but finding the man in a high fever with a violent pulse
and headache, they resolved on descending. To relieve him, he was
carried over the most difficult places, and finding it impossible to
descend by the same path by which they had ascended in the day, they
took at once that bend of the mountain which is called "de los Neveros;"
and which, although very steep, is composed of loose sand through which
they descended very rapidly. It was after night when they arrived at the
limit of vegetation, but having taken a different direction, they did
not strike the place where they expected to meet the Indians. They made
a large fire as a signal, but the Indians did not make their appearance;
and on the following morning, the 21st of April, separating to the right
and left, and after shouting, they soon rallied the Indians. The
reunited party descended to the rancho de la Vaqueria, and from this
they passed through the village of Atlauca; at eight in the evening
reached Ameco, and on the 23d of April returned to Mexico.

                                          Longitude   Elevation
                               N.         east from   above the
  Names of places.             Latitude   Mexico.     level of the

  Ameco a village            19° 7´ 40´´ 0° 23´ 30´´   8,216 Eng. feet.
  St. Nicolas de los Ranchos 19° 4´ 21´´ 0° 32´ 30´´   8,087  do.
  Tochimilco                                           6,930  do.
  Superior limit of pines                             12,544  do.
  Limit of all vegetation                             12,693  do.
  Picacho de S. Guliermo[55]                          16,895  do.
  The most elevated border of the crater of the
      volcano of Popocatepetl                         17,884  do.
  Rancho de la Vaqueria                               10,784  do.



The vast plain of Puebla, separated from the Valley of Mexico by its
gigantic chain of bordering mountains, is full of interesting
associations and studies for the antiquarian; but, among all of the
sites signalized in the history of the Aztecs or of the Spanish
Conquest, no one is more generally sought by the traveller than the
Pyramid of Cholula. Its lofty remains lie about three leagues westward
from the city of Puebla, and are easily reached by a pleasant ride over
the plain. The pyramid was originally built of sun dried bricks, or,
_adobes_, rising in four stories connected by terraces. Many years ago,
in cutting a new road from Mexico towards Puebla, it became necessary to
cross a portion of the base of this pyramid, and, in the course of the
excavation, a square chamber was opened, which was found to be
constructed of stone with a roof supported by cypress beams. Some idols,
carved in basalt, a number of painted earthen vases, and two bodies were
found in this cavity, but as no care was taken of these relics by the
discoverers, and as their explorations were not prosecuted deeper into
the bowels of the gigantic mound, the world is now quite as ignorant of
its ancient uses as it was during the possession of the country by the
Spaniards. The most recent publication upon the subject of Cholula by
Señor Gondra, the Curator of the National Museum, in the University of
Mexico, merely repeats the thrice told tales of the last century.

The top of this pyramid is reached by paths that climb its sides amid
masses of _debris_ and groves of bushes which have driven their roots
deeply between the fissures of the bricks. The level summit protected by
a parapet wall,--and once the shrine of Quetzalcoatl--the "Feathered
Serpent," or "God of the Air,"--is now adorned with a small dome-crowned
chapel, surrounded with cypresses and dedicated to the Virgin of
Remedios; while, from all parts of the eminence, a magnificent panorama
of the fruitful plain spreads out at the feet of the spectator.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following extract from a communication by an officer of our army, in
1847, during the invasion of Mexico, contains some interesting facts,
and corrects scientifically the measurements of the pyramid which were
made by Baron Humboldt:

All the mornings of this elevated region, even in the rainy season, are
bright and charming; the sun rises in unclouded splendor, gilding one of
the most magnificent landscapes the imagination can conceive, whilst the
atmosphere is so pure and elastic that it is a positive pleasure to
breathe it. On such a morning, in company with the 4th regiment of
artillery, acting as infantry, and a squadron of horse, we sallied from
the city through the _garita_ of Cholula, and soon found ourselves in
the extensive plain skirting the base of the volcanoes of
Puebla--Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl. Before us glittered in the
morning's sun their snow-capped summits; on our right rose the Malinche,
with its craggy crest partially enveloped in a wreath of mist; whilst
behind us, in the far distance, towered the indistinct form of the
Orizaba--that well-known landmark of the seaman, that serves to guide
him in calm and in storm, hundreds of miles along the Mexican coast. The
nearer landscape was as soft and picturesque as its more distant
features were grand and sublime. A green meadow or prairie extended
around us for some miles in every direction, dotted with villas and
haciendas, and relieved by occasional patches of cultivation, and
avenues and clusters of the beautiful shade willow. Herds of cattle and
horses grazed as quietly on the surrounding estates as though
"grim-visaged war" had long since "smoothed his wrinkled front," and our
military escort, as it wound its way over the fair landscape, with
glittering arms and glancing banners, seemed more like a holyday
procession than a band of stern veterans so recently from the conflict,
and so soon to enter it again. A ride of an hour and a quarter, which
our horses, as they snuffed the morning breeze and scented the fresh
grass of the meadows, seemed to enjoy as much as their riders, brought
us to the base of the far-famed pyramid, which, independently of its
historical recollection, and the great interest attached to it as a
work of art, forms one of the most picturesque features of the
landscape. At a short distance it presents the appearance of a natural
mound, covered with a luxuriant growth of trees and shrubbery, and is
surmounted by a simple chapel, whose belfry towers some eighty feet
above the pyramid. A road winds round the pyramid from base to summit,
up which we passed on horseback. This road is cut into the pyramid, in
some places, six or eight feet, and here one sees the first evidence of
the artificial construction of the latter. It is built of _adobes_, or
sun-dried brick, interspersed with small fragments of stone--porphyry
and limestone. Its dimensions, as stated by Humboldt, are: base 1,060,
elevation 162 feet; but its altitude is much greater. On the day of our
visit, Lieutenant Semmes, of the navy, who had provided himself with a
pocket sextant and tape-line for the purpose, determined its altitude to
be 205 feet. As this measurement differed so widely from that of
Humboldt, Lieut. S. requested Lieut. Beauregard, of the engineers, who
visited the pyramid a few days afterwards, to test his observations;
which Lieut. B., using a longer base, did, making the altitude 203 feet.
These two observations, from different points, with different bases, and
both with the sextant, show conclusively that Humboldt, who used a
barometer, is in error. The mean of the two is 204 feet, which we may
henceforth regard as the true height of this extraordinary
monument--being nearly half as great as that of the pyramid of Cheops in
Egypt. The pyramid of Cholula is quadrangular in form, and
truncated--the area of the apex being 165 feet square. On this area
formerly stood a heathen temple, now supplanted by the Gothic church of
our Lady of Remedios. The temple on this pyramid was, in the days of
Cortéz, a sort of Mecca, to which all the surrounding tribes, far and
near, made an annual pilgrimage, held a fair, and attended the horrible
human sacrifices peculiar to their superstition. Besides this great
temple, there were, as we learn from the letters of Cortéz to Charles
V., and also from the simple diary of his doughty old Captain, Bernal
Diaz, some 400 others in the city, built around the base of the larger.
The city itself contained 40,000 householders, and the whole plain was
studded with populous villages. The plain is now comparatively a desert,
and two or three thousand miserable leperos build their mud huts and
practice their thievish propensities upon the site of the holy city.



The history of Mexico has ever held in sacred regard the region of this
ancient republic, whence Cortéz and the Spaniards derived such eminent
assistance in the conquest of the Aztec Empire. Immediately after that
event it was erected into a province, under which character it was
always regarded until the political emancipation of Mexico from Spain,
and even after that event up to the period of the adoption of the Acta
Constitutiva, when Tlascala was raised to the dignity of a State, as an
integral part of the Mexican Republic. The constitution, sanctioned on
the 4th of October, 1824, deferred defining absolutely the political
character of this region; but on the 24th of November of the same year,
it was constitutionally declared to be a Territory of the Confederation.
When the Central Government was subsequently adopted, it was added,
under the denomination of a district, to the Department of Mexico; but
when the federal system was restored by the movement of the 6th of
August, 1846, which was afterwards nationalized by the decree of the
provisional government on the 22d of August of the same year, and
confirmed by the sovereign congress on the 18th of May, 1847, Tlascala
re-entered the federal association in its original character of a

Tlascala comprehends within its limits a superficial extent of four
hundred square leagues, and contains one city, one hundred and nine
villages, eighteen settlements, one hundred and sixty-eight haciendas or
large estates, ninety-four _ranchos_ or small farms, eight grist mills,
two iron works, and one woollen factory. It is divided into the three
_partidos_ of Tlaxco, Huamantla and Tlascala, the latter of which
contains the capital town of the same name about seven leagues north of
Puebla. The territory is of an oval form, lying between forty minutes
and one degree thirty-three minutes east longitude from Mexico, and
nineteen degrees, and nineteen degrees forty-two minutes of north
latitude. Its climate is mild and healthful, and its population, which
in 1837, was rated at about eighty thousand, has been found to increase,
on comparison of a number of years, about one thousand eight hundred and
seventy-eight annually, of which nine hundred and thirty-seven are
males, and nine hundred and forty-one females.

The productions of Tlascala are chiefly of a cereal character, but its
genial climate and soil are capable of yielding the fruits of the
_tierras calientes_, _frias_, and _templadas_.

The capital town of TLASCALA is situated between two mountains, in 19°
16´ of north latitude, and 58´ east longitude from Mexico, near the only
stream of importance in the territory, known as the Rio Atoyac or
Papagallo, under which name it passes through the State of Puebla on its
way to the Pacific. The ancient numerous population of Tlascala is no
longer found within its limits, and perhaps not more than four or five
thousand individuals now inhabit it. But the town is nevertheless
handsome;--its streets are regular; its private houses, town hall,
bishop's palace and principal church are built in a style of tasteful
architecture, while on the remains of the chief Teocalli of the ancient
Tlascalans, a Franciscan convent has been built, which is perhaps one of
the earliest ecclesiastical edifices in the republic. In the town itself
and in its vicinity many relics and ruins of the past glory of Tlascala
are still found by antiquarians, but they have hitherto been undisturbed
by foreign visiters and remain unnoticed by the natives. Huamantla and
Tlaxco are the chief towns or villages in the _partidos_ which bear
their names.




This State, which includes the national capital and the federal
district, lies between 16° 34´ and 21° 7´ of north latitude and 100°,
17, 30´´ and 105°, 7´, 30´´ W. longitude from Paris. It is bounded, west
by the States of Guanajuato and Michoacan; south-west by the shores of
the Pacific for 87 leagues; north by Queretaro; east by Puebla; and
north-east by Vera Cruz. Its greatest breadth from east to west, from
Chilapa on the boundaries of Puebla, to the haven of Zacatula, is, 104
leagues, and its extreme length from north to south, from Berdosas on
the confines of Vera Cruz, to the west coast in the neighborhood of
Acapulco and the boundary of Puebla in that direction, is, 124 leagues.
The area of the State is 5,842 square leagues, more than two-thirds of
which are covered with mountains and spurs of mountains, interspersed
with vallies lying between 6,500 and 7,500 feet above the level of the
sea. The _Nevada de Toluca_ is the only mountain of extraordinary
elevation in the State of Mexico, which breaks the uniformity of its
lofty table lands. Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, on the eastern limit
of the Valley of Mexico, belong, it will be recollected, to the State of

The political divisions consist of eight districts, with 38 partidos, or
cantons, and 183 ayuntimientos or municipalities, subdivided into about
450 cities, towns and villages, as well as into a great number of
_haciendas_, and minor dependencies.

1st. The district of Acapulco, with the cantons of Acapulco, Técpan,
Chilapa, Tixtla, and 13 municipalities.

2d. The district of Cuernavaca, with the cantons of Cuernavaca, Ciudad
Morelos or Cuautla de Amilpas, and Xonatepec, and 17 municipalities.

3d. The district of Tasco, with the cantons of Tasco, Axuchitlan,
Teloloapan, Texupilco, Sultepec, Temascaltepec, and Zacualpan, with 18
ayuntimientos or municipalities.

4th. The district of Toluca, with the cantons of Toluca, Ixtlahuaca,
Tenango, Tenancingo, and 25 municipalities.

5th. The district of Tlalpam, with the cantons of Tlalpam, Chalco,
Tezcoco, Teotihuacan, Zumpango, Tlanepantla, Quautitlan and 49

6th. The district of Tula, with the cantons of Tula, Huichapan, Actopan,
Xilotepec, Ixmiquilpan, Zimapan, and 25 municipalities.

7th. The district of Tulancingo, with the cantons of Tulancingo,
Pachuca, Apam, and 15 municipalities.

8th. The district of Huejutla, with the cantons of Huejutla, Mextitlan,
Zacualtipan, Yahualica, and 21 municipalities.

The population in these districts was estimated in 1842, according to
Mühlenpfordt, at:

  1st District,      101,250
  2d     "           104,100
  3d     "           187,444
  4th    "           255,119
  5th    "           278,800
  6th    "           241,539
  7th    "           128,166
  8th    "           100,855

The call for congress in that year estimated the population of the State
at 1,389,502, to which if we add 10 per cent. for increase since that
period, we shall have a population at present of about 1,528,452.

The Federal District includes the city of Mexico, in the valley of that
name, together with the towns and villages of Tacubaya, Chapultepec,
Santa Fé, Tacuba, Guadalupe, Azcapotzalco, Los Reyes, St. Angel,
Mixcoac, and Mexicalcingo. Its inhabitants may be estimated at
450,000,--about 200,000 of whom reside in the capital.

The Valley of Mexico is in the midst of the ridges of the Mexican
Sierras, at a height of 7,500 feet above the level of the ocean. It is
oval in shape, and hemmed in on all sides by porphyritic mountains and
eminences, from which the volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl,
shoot up beyond the region of eternal snow.

Its greatest length, from the mouth of the stream of Tenango in the lake
of Chalco, to the foot of the Cerro de Sinóc, in the neighborhood of the
canal Huehuetoca is 19-1/2 leagues, and its greatest breadth, from San
Gabriel at Tezcoco, to the sources of the river Acapusalco at
Quisquiluca, is 13-1/4 leagues. Its area is 258-3/8 square leagues,
23-1/3 of which are covered by lakes. On the south, east, and west, the
mountains maintain a probable average height of 10,000 feet above the
sea, while at the north their depression is considerable, and through
the gaps and vallies the waters of the lakes are discharged towards the
Gulf of Mexico.

Six great highways centre in the capital, and leave it to traverse the
principal districts of the confederacy.

1st. The road to Acapulco on the west coast, which passes out of the
valley over its southern rim of mountains at the point known as the Cruz
del Marquez, about 2,284 feet above the city of Mexico, or 9,784 above
the level of the sea.

2d. The road to Toluca, by Tianguillo and Lerma.

3d. The road to Queretaro, Durango, &c. called _El Camino de tierra
adentro_, which leads across the eminences at the north of the valley,
by an elevation of about 100 feet only above the level of the lakes.
This road is the highway for the internal trade of Mexico with the
northern provinces.

4th. The road to Pachuca and Real del Monte in the mining district,
across the Cerro Ventoso.

5th. The road to Puebla, across Bonaventura and the plains of Apam.

6th. The _new_ road to Puebla and Vera Cruz, by Rio Frio and San Martin,
across the northern shoulder of the volcano of Popocatepetl. It greatest
elevation is at the barranca or ravine of Juanes, 10,486 feet above the
level of the sea. Besides the two last mentioned roads there is a third,
between the volcanoes of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, by Tlamanalco,
Ameca, La Cumbre, and Cruz del Correo, passing out of the valley of
Mexico into those of Cholula and Puebla.

Five lakes are embosomed in the valley in the immediate neighborhood of

1st. The lake of Zumpango, is the northernmost, and has an area of about
1-1/4 square leagues. A dam, called _La Calzada de la Cruz del Rey_,
divides it into two basins, the westernmost of which is known as the
Laguna de Zilaltepec, and the easternmost, the Laguna de Coyotepec. It
is 26 feet higher than the mean level of the lake of Tezcoco, and
supplies the rivers Pachuca and Quautitlan. The little village of
Zumpango lies on its northern shore.

2d. The lake of San Cristoval is immediately south of the preceding, and
is likewise divided by a dam into two basins, the northern called the
Laguna de Xaltocan and the southern San Cristoval. In the first of these
divisions are the villages of Xaltocan and Tomantla, built upon islands.
This lake is twelve feet eight inches higher than that of Tezcoco, and
its superficial area nearly 4 square leagues. On its shore lies the
village of San Cristoval.

3d. The lake of Chalco spreads out at the southern extremity of the
valley, and contains the village of Jico built on an island in its
bosom. It is divided from the lake of Xochimilco by a dam, or _calzada_,
across which the road passes from Tuliagualco to San Francisco

4th. The lake of Xochimilco is separated, as we have described, from
that of Chalco; both of these basins cover a superficial area of 6-1/2
square leagues; and their level, according to Baron Humboldt, is 3 feet
9-1/2 inches above the great square of Mexico.

5th. The lake of Tezcoco is that in which the ancient city of
Tenochtitlan was built upon the spot at present occupied by the modern
city of Mexico, whose walls, however, are now reached by a canal of
nearly a mile in length from the western borders of this inland sea. The
rivers Teotihuacan, Guadalupe or Tepeyacac, Papalotla and Tezcoco are
voided into it. The difference between its water-mark and the level of
Mexico, which in Humboldt's time was four feet and one inch has been
found by recent measurements to be 18 inches more. Its superficial
extent is about 10 square leagues, and its waters are plentifully
impregnated with salt, supplying the material for numerous works which
are rudely conducted. A thick crust or deposit of carbonate of soda
constantly whitens the edges of this lake, which are left bare by the
receding of the waters after they have been swept over the leeward
shores by the strong winds that occasionally prevail in the valley. The
deepest parts of the lake of Tezcoco never contain more than from 6 to 8
feet of water, while some portions are not covered by more than two or
three feet. There are two springs of mineral waters in the neighborhood
of the capital;--one at Guadalupe, three miles from Mexico, and another
at El Peñon, a volcanic pustule which rises abruptly from the plain on
the margin of the lake of Tezcoco. The temperature of the latter is
quite high.

The mode in which the valley is relieved from the danger of inundations
in consequence of the rising of the waters of the lakes has been
already noticed in a previous portion of this work.[56] The _desague_,
according to recent reports, requires considerable repairs and
improvements for the future security of the capital.

The principal cities, towns and villages of this State are:--The
national and state capital Mexico;--St. Angel, three leagues from the
capital;--Tacubaya, about equidistant from Mexico, containing a number
of beautiful residences, and an archiepiscopal Palace surrounded by
groves and gardens; Santa Fé, Tlalpam or San Augustin de las Cuevas,
four leagues south of the capital, situated upon the first slopes of the
mountains, and filled with charming dwellings, to which the Mexicans
occasionally retire during the warm season. It is in this town that the
festival of St. Augustin is kept in the month of May, and during the
three days of its celebration, Tlalpam is a scene of gaiety rarely
equalled elsewhere on this continent. Rich and poor pour out from the
capital to partake of the unrestrained amusements of the season, and
thousands of dollars are lost at the gambling table or in the cock-pit,
without which no Mexican festival is considered complete. The Mexican
ladies appear at the balls which are given every night, or during the
afternoon, on the green at the Calvario, and vie with each other in the
splendor and variety of their dresses.

Ajusco, is a village south of Tlalpam:--Chalco, lies on the borders of
the lake of that name, and is surrounded by the villages of Acohualpan,
Totolapan, Tapostlan, Jico, Tlapacoya, Xochimilco, Mexicalcingo,
Iztapalapan, Colhuacan, Huitzilopocho, Itztacualco, Churubusco, and
Cuyuacan, most of which are inhabited by Indians and Mestizos who supply
the markets of the capital. The Indians of Chalco, with their _caballos
de palo_ or "wooden horses," as they fancifully call their boats, carry
on an extensive trade with Mexico and its vicinity. They navigate their
lake and the canal leading to it with great dexterity; and large boats,
capable of containing fifty or sixty persons, are almost daily seen
leaving the landings at Mexico in order to convey passengers and freight
to the neighboring country.

Tezcoco, lies on the eastern shore of the lake of that name, opposite
Mexico, and at the distance of about 12 miles. It is no longer a town of
much importance, but is interesting for its historical associations and
for the ancient remains within its limits and neighborhood which will be
subsequently described.

Tacuba is the site of the Spanish army's refuge after the _noche triste_
or "melancholy night," during which Cortéz and his band were driven
from the Aztec capital in the year 1520. The image of the _Virgin of
Remedios_, has been generally kept in a chapel in this village, and has
often been brought to the capital in seasons of danger, distress or

TEHUILOYUCA; ZUMPANGO; HUEHUETOCA; are towns and villages north of

SAN JUAN DE TEOTIHUACAN, and OTUMBA, lie east of the lake of Tezcoco,
and are interesting for the fertility of their neighborhood and for
their antiquities.

A ridge of lofty mountains, west of the capital, rising from the plain
beyond the limits of Tacubaya separates the valley of Mexico from the
valley of Toluca, in which is found the town of TOLUCA at the foot of
the porphyritic mountains of San Miguel Tutucuitlalpillo, at an
elevation of 8,606 feet above the level of the sea. It is a beautiful
town, celebrated for its soap and candle factories; and the epicures of
hams and sausages, procure their choicest dainties from its
neighborhood. Lerma, lies on the banks of the pond from which the river
Lerma springs; and Istlahuaca, twelve leagues from Toluca, is found in a
spur of the same valley.

[Illustration: THE CASCADE OF REGLA.]

The elevations, north of the valley of Toluca, which separate it from
the valley of the river Tula, vary from 10,000 to 7,500 feet, and, in
the bosom of the latter vale, is found the town of TULA, twenty-two
leagues north-west of the capital. It is regularly built, on broad
streets, and is celebrated for its Sunday-market, to which the Indians
and Mestizos of the adjacent country flock in numbers.

TULANZINGO and APAM, are the chief towns of the districts;--PACHUCA is a
mining town 8,112 feet above the sea, and, next to Tasco, the oldest
mineral work in Mexico. It contains, with its suburbs of Pachuquillo,
about 5,000 inhabitants.

REAL DEL MONTE, is another mining town, two leagues northerly from
Pachuca, at an elevation of about 9,000 feet. Its climate is cold, and
its extremely rarefied air is dangerous for lungs unaccustomed to
breathe the atmosphere of such lofty regions. Within a few leagues of
this place is the celebrated Cascade of Regla.

ATOTONILCO EL CHICO, or EL CHICO, is also a mining village, 7,737 feet
above the sea, 4 leagues north-west from Pachuca, and 25 north-east from
Mexico. It is situated on the slope of a beautiful valley, surrounded by
high mountains, whose peaks peer above the tops of the forest. In the
vicinity of Chico, about 5 leagues west and north-west lie the mines of
Capula and Santa Rosa.

ATOTONILCO EL GRANDE is a village 7 leagues north of Real del Monte.

ACTOPAN and ITZMICUILPAN lie in the midst of fine agricultural regions.

ZIMAPAN, is a mining town, about 10 leagues north-west of Itzmicuilpan,
and 42 from Mexico, situated on the slope of a wide and deep valley,
which is watered by a copious brook.

San José del Oro, is a village and mining district, north of ZIMAPAN.

Huejutla; Mextitlan; and Zacualtipan, complete the enumeration of
important towns or villages in this part of the State.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the height of 9,784 feet above the sea, at the Cruz del Marquez,
the road descends across the sierra at the southern end of the valley of
Mexico, into the valley of Cuernavaca, which, as we have already
remarked in the historical part of this work, is a corruption of the
Aztec "Quaunahuac." This broad, beautiful and rich valley, lying between
three and four thousand feet _lower_ than the valley of Mexico, winds
gradually into the vallies of Cuautla and Puebla around the eastern
spurs of Popocatepetl, and is remarkable for its fruitfulness and
salubrity. Sugar, coffee, indigo, and all the tropical plants and
trees, are successfully cultivated, and the 48 sugar estates
comprehended within its limits, produce not less than 200,000 hundred
weight of raw and refined sugar, besides 50,000 barrels of distilled

The chief town is Cuernavaca, lying 3,998 feet above the sea, 3,426
below the city of Mexico, and 5,786 feet beneath the Cruz del Marquez,
from the neighborhood of which the whole panorama of this splendid
valley bursts upon the traveller. Cuernavaca rests on a tongue of land
projecting into the valley between two steep barrancas or ravines.
Plentifully supplied with water, and situated in the midst of the
_tierra caliente_, it is, of course, buried among luxuriant foliage
which is never touched with frost. The town may, therefore, be justly
called a garden, in whose midst rise the picturesque houses of the
townsfolk,--the walls of the church built by Cortéz,--and the dwelling
that was erected during the Spanish dynasty by the fortunate miner
Laborde. The grounds, attached to this edifice, were laid out with care
and taste. Lakelets spread out among the profuse vegetation; _bellevues_
were erected at every spot whence a favorite prospect of the valley
might be obtained; and bowers were built in the shadiest corners amid
lofty palms or choice varieties of native and exotic plants. Time and
neglect have done their work upon this beautiful structure; but the
vegetation is so abundant and graceful, that the ruined portions are
soon filled up and concealed by flowers or leaves. Few spots on earth
afford a more agreeable retreat to a man who is willing to pass his life
in a tropical climate and in a stagnant society.[57]

ACAPANTZINGO is a village in the neighborhood of Cuernavaca, whose
Indian inhabitants are remarkable for their entire separation from the
rest of the Mexican population. They have never mingled their blood with
the Spaniards during the three hundred years of foreign dominion, but
have always preserved, intact, their own laws, habits, institutions,
language and customs. They work on the neighboring plantations; but,
with this exception, refuse all intercourse with the Mexicans, or part
in their government. The authorities have never forced them to abandon
their secluded system; but seem to have respected their feeble rights,
as the invaders respected the republic of San Marino in Italy during the
wars that succeeded the French revolution.

CACAHUAMILPA, or CACAHUAWAMILPA, an Indian village in whose vicinity
lies the remarkable cavern of that name which winds

[Illustration: CITY OF MEXICO.]

for many miles in the heart of the mountain, and is filled with some of
the most curious and gigantic stalagmites and stalactites on our

YAUTEPEC is a village between the vallies of Cuautla and Cuernavaca; and
is celebrated for the excellence and quantity of its tropical fruits.
Zapotes, bananas, anonas, guayavas, pomegranates, pine apples grow
luxuriantly, with the least care or labor, and at least thirty thousand
dollars worth of sweet oranges are annually sent from it to the market
of Mexico.

CUAUTLA DE AMILPAS, or CIUDAD MORELOS, is a town in the valley of that
name, and made the staunch and memorable resistance to the Spaniards,
under the heroic Morelos, during the revolutionary war. It lies 24
leagues S. S. East from the Valley of Mexico,--13 east from Cuernavaca,
and is 4,019 feet above the level of the sea. Its climate and
productions resemble those of Cuernavaca, but it has never recovered
from the effects of the deadly siege.

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing in a south-westerly direction from the Valleys of Cuautla,
Cuernavaca, Mexico and Toluca, we enter the rich metallic region of
Tasco which lies upon the declivities of the Sierra Madre, sloping
towards the Pacific. In this district we find the town of TEMASCALTEPEC,
which grew up in the midst of a mining country, formerly rich in the
production of silver, but now almost abandoned for such purposes. The
North Americans were induced to adventure largely in the mines of this
district immediately after the revolution, but their capitals were
entirely lost in works which were found to have been abandoned by the
Spaniards as valueless, long before they were sold by speculators to
companies from the United States. The climate of Temascaltepec is mild
and agreeable; and, when the mines were productive, it must have been an
agreeable residence. The inhabitants, who have abandoned their former
mineral speculations, now devote themselves to the manufacture of cotton
shawls and _rebozos_.

the vicinity of Temascaltepec.

TASCO is a mining town and capital of the canton or district of that
name, 5,853 feet above the sea. The village itself is not important, but
is nevertheless worthy of note as the oldest mining region in the
confederacy. Soon after the conquest it was wrought for _tin_, which
had been found in the neighborhood by the Indians; and in the year 1752,
Laborde, fully developed its mineral wealth in silver.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extending our observations further to the south-west, we reach the
district of Acapulco, which is divided between the slopes of the
_Sierra_ and the shores of the Pacific. The declivities of the
Cordillera are cut by deep vallies, which open their long and regular
vistas towards the ocean. The principal places in this part of the State
of Mexico, are CHILAPA, with 4,000 inhabitants; MEZCALA; CHILPANTZINGO;
MAZATLAN; APANDARO, with 3,500 inhabitants; ZIRANDARO, and ACAPULCO.

[Illustration: BAY OF ACAPULCO.]

The city of ACAPULCO is the capital of its district and a port in the
Pacific in 16° 50´ 29´´ north latitude, and 102° 12´ 12´´ west longitude
from Paris. It lies in a bay, 19,700 yards long, from East to West,
protected by a ring of granitic hills and rocks, in which ships may
easily load. The entrance to the bay is broad; and the anchorage good,
but the water is not deep. Acapulco was formerly the seat of Spanish
trade between Mexico and the East; but its small population of 3,000
Mulattos, Zambos and a few Mexicans, who are chiefly pearl divers,
fishermen and farmers, fully indicates the decline of its commerce and

       *       *       *       *       *

The mountains of the State of Mexico are rich in deposits of precious
and base metals. North and north-east of the Valley of Mexico are the
mining districts and mines of Real del Monte, Moran, Atotonilco el
Chico, Pachuca, El Cardinal, Zimapan, Lomo del Toro, Macroni, Pechuga,
and San José del Oro. West and south-west of the Valley, are the
districts of Rancho del Oro, Temascaltepec, Real del Cristo, Sultepec,
Zacualpan, Tasco, Tepantitlan, Tetéla del Rio, and several others. These
were all diligently worked by the Spaniards prior to the revolution, but
have not been found as profitable by the foreigners who undertook their
management since the Independence of Mexico. In the year 1835, numbers
of British subjects and Germans formed companies to work these mines,
and although the results have been favorable in some places, the greater
part of these luckless enterprises have been altogether abandoned.[58]
Such has been the sad issue in most of the speculations in _silver_
mines; but we learn that a native company has explored and worked an
_iron_ mine at the foot of the Volcano of Popocatepetl, which promises
to repay them for their trouble and expense with a plentiful supply of
this useful metal.





The city of Mexico has generally been reputed by travellers as the most
beautiful on the American Continent. Its picturesque site, in the lap of
the lovely valley, bordered by broad meadows and lakes, has doubtless
contributed greatly to this opinion, and it is, indeed, necessary for a
stranger to reside for a long time within


its walls before he becomes sufficiently disenthralled from the spells
of climate and national scenery, in order to do justice to the other
American capitals. Mexico, unquestionably, is the queen of Spanish
cities on this side of the Atlantic; but, in external taste, in modern
elegance, and an agreeable combination of splendor and comfort, it does
not compare favorably with the chief towns in the United States.

Built in regular, square blocks, on a dead level, it wants the
picturesque breaks or abruptness, which are only found on inequalities
of surface. Its houses, erected around quadrangles--with a court yard or
_patio_ in the centre of each,--are stern and massive edifices; but they
have rather the air of castles designed for defence or seclusion, than
of habitations whose cheerful portals extend a hearty welcome to every
passer. They partake of the age in which they were constructed, and of
the traditionary architecture of Southern Europe. Yet,--in the pellucid
air of these lofty regions,--with its fancifully _frescoed_ walls
basking in the pure sunshine, and relieved against the dark background
of surrounding mountains;--its streets filled with a motly and
picturesque crowd;--its towers and domes breaking the regular evenness
of the flat roofed dwellings,--and its splendid groves in the _alamedas_
and _paseos_,--Mexico is, indeed, a capital worthy a great nation, as
well as of the enduring recollection and praise of every traveller who
visits it.

The plan of the city is as regular as that of a checquer board. Its
straight streets divide it from east to west and north to south; whilst,
nearly in the centre, the great square or Plaza spreads out for many an
acre, surrounded by the chief edifices of the State, the Corporation or
the Church.

On the northern portion of the plaza is erected--on the alleged site of
the great _teocalli_, or pyramid temple of the Aztecs,--the cathedral,
with its adjacent _Sagrario_. It is, externally and internally, an
imposing building of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; for
although its architecture is neither regular, classical, nor conformable
to the rules of any distinct order, yet its massiveness and elaborate
detail, impart to it a certain degree of effective grandeur. We have
always found it impossible to receive, or impart an idea of
architectural beauty or magnificence by description alone. The best
writer can but catalogue dimensions and details, and his account is,
therefore, always more of a builder's estimate or bill, than a picture
which impresses our minds with a vivid image of the real object. We
turn, therefore, gladly from the feeble pen to the graphic pencil, and
refer the curious reader to the accurate plates which accompany this
volume, for a better idea of the internal and external appearance of
this sacred edifice, than we can convey by language alone.

Yet there are parts of the cathedral to which even the pencil cannot do
justice. The floor of this magnificent temple,--made of loose and heavy
boards, which are moveable at pleasure, in order to allow sepulture
beneath them,--is the only part of it which seems neglected or shabby.
Every thing else is gorgeous beyond conception, although the splendor is
more colonially barbaric, than nationally classic. Profusion is the
chief characteristic. It seems as if the priests and the pious
worshippers had designed to heap up rather than arrange their offerings
in honor of the Almighty, and as if their piles of precious metals would
form the most graceful as well as grateful emblem of their religious
sincerity. In the wilderness of columns, statues, shrines, oratories,
altars and fonts, the traveller stands amazed and confused; and leaving
the pictures of the church to demonstrate its complete effect, he
retreats upon the _metallic_ standards which surround him, in order to
convey the best estimate of this queen of American temples.

The exterior walls front upwards of four hundred feet on the plaza, and
run back about five hundred feet to the narrow street of Tacuba.
Entering the main portal, whilst the huge bells are clanging in the two
steeples above it, you face the _choir_ for the clergy, which is built
of rare, carved woods, and elaborately covered with gilded images, whose
burnished surface flashes in the sun-light. Beyond this is the high
altar, raised from the floor on an elevated platform, and covered with
ornaments, crosses, and candle-sticks, wrought in the precious metals.
From this sanctuary,--extending around the choir, and probably near two
hundred feet in length,--runs a railing, between four and five feet
high, and proportionally massive, composed of gold and silver very
slightly alloyed with copper. And on the summit of the high altar rests
the figure of the Virgin of Remedios, whose dowry in dresses, diamonds,
emeralds and pearls is estimated at not less than three millions of

On the east of the cathedral, fronting the west, and bounding the whole
eastern limit of the plaza, is the national palace, formerly the
residence of the viceroys, and now occupied by the president, as a
dwelling. It is an immense quadrangular building, constructed on the
ground which it is supposed was covered by the palace of Axayacatl, in
which Cortéz was lodged by Montezuma, when he first arrived in the Aztec
capital. Besides affording room for the president and his family, this
huge edifice contains all the offices of the several secretaries of
state; the general treasury and tribunal of accounts; the supreme court;
the headquarters of the general-in-chief; the two chambers of deputies
and the senate, both of which are elegant apartments, and, especially
that of the deputies;--two barracks for infantry, cavalry, and a park of
artillery;--two prisons; some shops; a botanical garden; and the mint.
South of the National Palace, but not fronting the plaza, are the
University, containing the National Museum, in front of which is the
magnificent modern market, built during the administration of Santa Anna
in 1842.


Directly opposite the façade of the cathedral, in the south-eastern
corner of the plaza, is the Casa Municipal, or City Hall, which is
occupied partly by the corporate authorities, and partly by the
merchants' Lonja, or exchange. On the western side of the square there
are no public buildings; but the palace of Cortéz, which was erected by
the conqueror and rebuilt and still owned by his descendants, covers a
portion of its front and deserves to be mentioned for its associations
if not for its architectural beauty. The whole of the side walks on the
southern part of the plaza, and a portion of the western, beyond the
Calle Plateros, or street of the silversmiths, are protected by a broad
and massive corridor or portico, called the _portales_, in which the
traveller will constantly find crowds of hawkers, pedlars, shopmen,
letter writers, clothiers, fruit sellers, liquor venders, crockery
dealers and book hucksters. A few squares west of the plaza, is situated
the magnificent palace of the Mineria, or School of Mines, one of the
most elegant edifices in the capital.


In noticing the general splendour and luxury of ecclesiastical
architecture in Mexico we should not omit to mention particularly the
beautiful convent of La Merced, a view of whose elegant interior court
and corridor is presented in the opposite plate. Gloomier recollections,
however, are conjured up from the past by beholding the church of San
Domingo and the neighboring inquisition, which was the prison and the
place of torture to so many unfortunate victims dining the viceroyal
government of New Spain.

It is, in the centre or heart of the city, that all the characteristic
habits and costumes of the people may be most readily observed. The
great body of the crowd is, of course, composed of the common
classes--the males in their shirts and trowsers with a blanket thrown

[Illustration: CONVENT OF LA MERCED]


over their shoulders, and the females in chemise and closely cinctured
petticoat of fanciful colors, whilst their heads, and thinly clad
bosoms, are folded and partly concealed in their graceful _rebozos_.
Then there are the wretched _leperos_, whose long and tangled hair falls
in wierd strands over their tawny necks and dirty brows, beneath which
flash the sharp black eyes that are constantly on the watch for
something to do, to drink, to eat, or to steal. In the neighborhood of
the _pulquerias_ or liquor shops, crowds of these social vermin swarm
and sleep.


Pushing his way, eagerly and industriously through the crowd, the
laborious _aguador_, or water carrier elbows his way, as he trots his
rounds to fulfil his daily task with his twin jars of the refreshing
fluid, one of which he bears upon his back, suspended by a strap around
his brow, and balanced by another which depends from a leathern thong,
which rests upon the back of his head. Hard by the aguador, appear the
carbonero, or coal dealer,--the poultry seller,--the crockery pedlar, or
the porter,--all of whom bear their burdens on their shoulders, and move
along in that ambling trot which is peculiar to the laborers and Indians
of Mexico. Large numbers of women with oranges, pears, potatoes,
tomatoes, onions, lemons, guyavas, aguacates, chirimoyas, plantains,
fish and eggs, swell the increasing crowds. The butcher drives along a
diminutive donkey, on whose saddle he has erected his peripatetic
shambles, filled with beef or mutton, whilst, at the corners and on the
edge of the side walks, sit long rows of Indian women with pans of
savory _chile_ sauces and heaping baskets or cloths of steaming
_tortillas_. All these eager venders of the necessaries and luxuries of
life, engage public attention by shouting the quality and value of their
wares at the top of their voices. Sound and motion are the predominant
features of the varied panorama; and the stunned stranger is glad to
retreat into quiet nooks and byeways in which he meets the stately
gentlewoman and cavalier, dressed in the becoming habiliments of their
station. When ladies go abroad in Mexico to shop or visit, they
universally use their coaches; yet every woman daily _walks_ to
mass,--and, whilst engaged in this religious pilgrimage, exhibits the
old and habitual costume of black silk gown and lace mantilla, which she
has derived from her Spanish ancestors. This is a charming dress. It
exposes the black, lustrous hair of the graceful wearers, and fully
develops that majestic yet feminine gait with which the Mexican women
seem to glide and undulate along their path. The inseparable fan,--her
constant companion, play thing and interpreter, in the saloon, the ball
room, the theatre or the church,--rests carelessly, in her right hand,
which coquettishly clasps the folds of her mantilla; and, from beneath
its silken folds, her large lustrous eyes gleam soft and languishingly
above her pale but healthful cheeks. If Mexican ladies are not so
variously beautiful as the women of northern lands, in whose veins the
blood of many nations has mingled, they are most loveable creatures in
spite of the uniformity of their national type. There is a degree of
exquisite tenderness, and an expression of affectionate sincerity, in
the face of Mexican women, which instantly wins not only the respect but
the confidence of the gazer. Nor does their character in real life
contradict their amiable physiognomy. Faithful as a friend and as a
wife, the Mexican lady is a person, who, with the educational advantages
enjoyed by their northern sisters, would rightfully maintain as high a
position in the social scale, with, perhaps, a more delicate degree of

The lower classes of females are of course different from the upper
ranks both in appearance and personal qualities. They are of impure
blood. Spaniard, Indian, Negro and Malay, have


[Illustration: POBLANAS.]

contributed to their ancestral pedigree, and their race is consequently
mixed; yet, impure as they are by descent they have not failed, like all
imitative inferiors to catch the manners and bearing of the aristocracy.
There is hardly a Mexican girl,--whose whole wardrobe consists of her
chemise, petticoat, rebozo, comb, looking-glass and shoes,--who does not
move along the street, when in full dress, with the queenly step and
coquettish display of eye and hair from beneath her cotton _rebozo_,
which we have just admired in the Mexican doña.

The costume of Mexican gentlemen is the usual European dress worn by the
same class among northern nations. But, in addition, the broad folds of
a massive cloak are always thrown over their shoulders upon the
slightest pretext or provocation of the weather, whilst their nostrils
are constantly refreshed by the fragrant fumes of a cigar or cigaritto.

       *       *       *       *       *

The city of Mexico possesses two magnificent _Passeos_ and an _Alameda_
in which all classes of the people habitually recreate themselves. The
city is supplied with water by splendid aqueducts, bringing the limpid
streams from the neighboring hills.


The _Passeo Nuevo_ lies west of the city towards Chapultepec and
Tacubaya. It is a broad avenue, laid out tastefully amid the beautiful
meadows that surround the city, and is broken at intervals by fountains
of stone, and shaded by rows of stately trees. When the weather is
fine, which it usually is for six or eight months of the year, the
disengaged people pour out to this gay resort, near sunset, on foot, in
coach, or on horseback, to enjoy the refreshing breeze and to greet each
other on this social exchange. The Passeo is broad enough to allow
several coaches, to drive abreast if needful, but the course is usually
occupied by only two lines of advancing and returning carriages or
horsemen. This promenade parade circulates up and down the highway for
an hour; but when the evening bells toll for _oracion_, every hat is
raised for a moment and every horse's head immediately turned homewards.

The _Passeo de la Viga_, is on the other side of the city, and is
preferred by many persons to the _Passeo Nuevo_. It skirts one of the
canals leading to the lake of Chalco, and affords the stranger an
opportunity of observing the crowds of Indians who linger along the
banks, or push off at evening in their boats, crowned with flowers and
strumming their guitars if the day happens to be one of festivity.

This _Passeo_ was constructed under the viceroyalty of Revilla-Gigedo,
whose improvements of the city and neighborhood of Mexico have
contributed so greatly to the elegance and beauty of the capital.


The _Alameda_ is a beautiful grove of lofty forest trees planted in a
rich soil in the western section of the city and on the road to the

[Illustration: PASSEO NUEVO.]

[Illustration: PASEO DE LA VIGA.]

Passeo Nuevo. It occupies a space of ten or twelve acres, enclosed by a
substantial stone wall, which is surrounded by a deep and flooded moat.
The gates are closed daily at the _Oracion_; and the spot is thus
protected carefully from all improper uses as well as from wanton
destruction. Around the whole of the inner wall, lines of substantial
stone seats are erected, and, in front of them, an excellent carriage
road affords a drive for those who are not disposed to mingle in the
gayer circle of the _passeos_. Within this highway the plantations
begin. Paved paths cross and recross the dense groves in a labyrinth of
lines, while, at intervals, fountains and secluded benches break the
uniform solemnity and quietness of the spot. In the centre of the
enclosure, a massive fountain, surmounted by a gilded statue of Liberty,
rises nobly in the midst of a broad area, whose top is almost _domed_
with the arching branches of the trees, which admit a scant but lovely
light through a narrow aperture, like the sky-light of the pantheon at
Rome. The birds, unassailed for years within this grove, have flown to
it as a sanctuary, and the branches are forever vocal with their natural
music. Situated as it is on the edge of the town, and surrounded by
houses, it nevertheless seems buried in the depths of a forest; and
perhaps no spot, in America, is so fitted for the enjoyment of a quiet
man, who can either take his exercise on foot or horseback, beneath the
sheltering trees, or wile away his hours with book and pencil on the
comfortable seats in the shady woods. It is the favorite resort in the
morning of all classes who are obliged to rise betimes and go abroad for
health. Students, priests, monks, lovers, loungers, dyspeptics,
consumptives, nurses, and troops of lovely children resort to the
_Alameda_ as soon as the gates are opened, and study, meditate, pray,
flirt, exercise, or romp, until their appetites or the sun warn them of
the flight of time.

In these drives, in dress, dining, domestic duties, mass, and theatre
the hours of a Mexican's day are chiefly consumed. This catalogue of
"idle occupations," does not, of course comprise all classes, but
includes that portion of the aristocracy which is every where set apart
by its fortunate exemption from necessary toil. In a country so rich as
Mexico this class must necessarily be large; and, if it begins the day
in plain black, and on its knees in chapels, it ends its waking hours
amid the blaze of dress and jewels in the family box in the theatre. In
most of the countries of southern Europe, and in all their old colonial
possessions, the theatre is one of the necessaries of life, and a box is
as indispensable as a dwelling. It forms a neutral ground upon which all
can meet without the requirements of a forced hospitality, and
consequently it affords all the pleasures of general society without the
necessity of expensive entertainment. There are great disadvantages
attending upon this constant dwelling in the public eye and in the blaze
of artificial light; yet it is so agreeable a mode of killing time in
Mexico, that the habits or the nature of the people must change
essentially before we may expect to find them surrounding nightly the
domestic hearth instead of the dramatic stage. Yet we should not be
unjust to the Mexicans in this condemnation of one of their agreeable
habits, which originates perhaps as much in their climate as in their
tastes. Fine skies and genial atmospheres drive people into the open
air. Wintry winds, desolate heaths, ice and snow, gather and group them
into the nestling places of home. When houses become in this way mere
shelters instead of shrines we might well pardon the taste which leads a
sensitive people to enjoy the beautiful landscape as long as day permits
it to be seen, or to retreat, at nightfall, into those splendid theatres
in which they may behold the mimic representation of that varied
activity of life to which their monotonous career is a comparative

[Illustration: NEW THEATRE.]

Nevertheless, a well-bred Mexican family is one of the most delightful
circles into which a genteel stranger can be admitted. The


formal manners of the Spaniards have descended to the Mexicans. You are
received cordially but carefully, and you must either be useful or
_known_, before you are admitted into the confidence of a family. Until
this occurs your reception and departure from a Mexican dwelling are
quite as ceremonious as your initiation into a Masonic lodge. Bows,
gestures, shrugs, grimaces, and all the ordinary rites of external
politeness are plentifully bestowed on the stranger;--"But sad is the
plight of the luckless knight," who imagines that these elegant
formalities literally mean what they profess. Americans, especially,
whose extraordinary and loose social facilities habituate them to an
unrestrained intercourse with all the members of families as soon as
they are either prudently or imprudently introduced to them,--are often
in danger of making this sad mistake in Mexico. Neither wealth,
education, nor political position, entitle an individual in that
republic to pass the threshold of distant and civil intercourse. The
Mexican's house, purse, or _daughter_, are not at "your disposal,"
although he tells you that everything he possesses is "_à la
disposicion de Usted_!" Yet, when his acquaintance has ripened into
friendship, and he understands that you appreciate his tastes, his
country, his language, his prejudices, his religion, and his habits, or
do not visit him, as many foreigners have done, merely to scoff and
condemn,--then, indeed, the social manners of the Mexican relax into
intimacy, and the attention he bestows on you may be more firmly trusted
because it was so cautiously yielded. The stranger who penetrates a
Mexican house under such circumstances, finds its hospitality unbounded,
and its generous inmates his devoted and faithful servants either for
life or until he forfeits their esteem by treachery or misconduct.


In every Mexican church, monastery, convent, palace, house, hut, hovel,
hacienda, or rancho, the traveller will not fail to observe an image of
"The Virgin of Guadalupe." Many men receive the name of "Guadalupe," in
baptism, and almost every woman has it added to the others she receives
from her parents or sponsors. A saint whose tutelary influence is at
once so national and so curious deserves especial mention in the notice
of a country over whose people she is supposed to exercise a mysterious
dominion; and we therefore present the reader the following translation
from the Spanish of Don Ignacio Barillo y Perez, in which the history
of her miraculous appearance is set forth with more detail than we have
elsewhere encountered.

The story of the Virgin is implicitly believed by the great mass of the
people; and the wonderful picture, described in the following account,
adorned with invaluable precious stones, is now preserved in a massive
golden frame, in the collegiate church of Guadalupe erected at the foot
of the hill of Tepeyacac. On the 12th of every December, the anniversary
of the miraculous visit, the people pour forth from the capital to the
sacred shrine and witness the splendid rites instituted in honor of the
saint. In the temple and at the holy well, they are met by crowds of
country folks and Indians, who come from far and near on the same
errand, while the whole pompous ceremonial is countenanced by the
presence and apparent devotion of all the high officers of government
including the president himself.[59]


Tepeyacac is a small mountain whose southern side is a scarped and
inaccessible precipice which looks to Mexico, situated on the south of
it at the distance of about three miles. Its ascent, by whatever part
undertaken, except that of the pathways made to facilitate the access,
is extremely rough and stony. Its whole surface is covered with
crowsfeet, buck and hawthorn, which are common to such sterile wastes.
The Indian name, Tepeyacac, signifies the abrupt extremity or
termination of hills, and in this bluff, terminate all the hills to the
north of the capital.

It was celebrated in the days of heathenism for the worship paid in this
place to the mother of the false gods of the Indians, but it is more
celebrated at present for the adoration which is worthily paid to the
Mother of the true God in her beautiful temple.

As Juan Diego,--an Indian recently converted, of pure and unblemished
morals, though of lowly birth, was passing by this place on Saturday,
December 9th, 1531, on his way to hear mass and participate in the
Christian worship which the Franciscan fathers taught in the district of
Tlatelolco, at the hour of early dawn, he heard, upon attaining the brow
of the little mountain, which he was ascending on the western side, a
sweet, sonorous and harmonious music, as of little birds upon its
summit. The ravishing tones and rare melody attracted his attention and
arrested his steps. On looking up, as was natural, he saw a white and
shining cloud, surrounded by a rainbow, and in its centre a most
beautiful lady, like the image we now venerate in the sanctuary, who
calling with a sweet and gentle voice, addressed him in his own language
with wonderful suavity and told him she was the Virgin Mary, Mother of
God, whose mass and doctrine he was going to hear, and she commanded him
to go to the bishop and tell him that it was her will that a temple
should be built to her upon that spot, in which she would show herself a
pious mother towards him, his nation, devotees, and as many as should
solicit her support and protection in their hour of need. She directed
him to tell all he had seen and heard, and added: 'Be sure, my son, for
whom I feel a delicate and tender love, that I will repay all you do for
me; I will render you famous; and I will endow you with benefits for the
diligence and labor you display. Now, my servant, in whom I delight,
thou hast heard my desire, go thou in peace.'

The Indian promptly obeyed and went to the palace of the bishop, the
illustrious Señor Don Francisco de Zumarraga, who since the year 1528,
had resided in Mexico with the title of Protector of the Indians, and
who afterwards became the archbishop. The prelate heard him with
surprise, and prudently directed him to return on some other occasion,
when having well considered and examined into so singular an event, he
might deliberate as to what was proper to be done by him.

The Indian returned with the answer to the Most Holy Virgin whom he
found in the same place. Prostrating himself before her, with words of
submission peculiar to the Indians, he repeated the reply of the bishop,
adding that, in order to secure compliance with her will, it would be
necessary to send some person of authority and credit, as it appeared to
him he was not believed because he was an humble man and a plebeian. The
Most Holy Virgin, with no less benignity and suavity than on the
previous occasion, replied: 'To me neither servants nor followers whom
to send are wanting if I should I wish, since I have multitudes at my
command; but it is agreeable to me now that _thou_ shouldst perform this
mission, and make the solicitation. Through your intervention I wish to
give effect to my will, and desire you to speak again with the bishop,
and tell him he must build a temple in honor of me on this spot; and
that it is the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of the true God, who sends
you to him.' Juan Diego answered: 'Do not be offended, my Queen and Holy
Lady, at what I have said, which is not intended to excuse me from this
office.' Desiring to satisfy the Most Holy Virgin, although fearful the
bishop would not give credit to his story, he pledged himself to repeat
the message the next day; and promised, that at the setting of the sun,
he would be at that spot once more with the reply. Bidding adieu to the
blessed apparition with profound humility, he went to his village and
his house, but it is not known whether he mentioned to his wife, or
other person, his strange adventure.

The following day, Sunday, December 10th, 1531, Juan Diego went again to
hear mass and participate in the Christian worship. Upon the conclusion
of the service, he went diligently to discharge his mission, and
although the servants of the bishop delayed him a long time at the
entrance of the palace, he succeeded at length in coming into the
prelate's presence. With lively expressions of feeling, which made that
dignitary shed tears of tender pleasure, he prostrated himself before
the bishop, and told him he had a second time seen the Mother of God,
who commanded him to return and repeat that it was her will a temple
should be built in honor of her on the spot at which she appeared. The
bishop listened with great attention, and examined him with many
questions, in the answers to which he could detect no discrepancy; and,
in fine, knowing it could neither be a dream nor fiction of the Indian,
he told him that what he had said was not sufficient to ensure
credibility; that he must ask some _sign_ from the Holy Lady, by which
it might be known that it was really the Mother of God who sent him.

The Indian, with intrepid confidence, replied that he would ask whatever
the bishop desired; when the latter, observing that he was not abashed,
but offered to ask for the signs, ordered him to go, but, meanwhile,
secretly despatched two confidential members of his family to follow the
Indian, and to observe with whom Juan Diego spoke on his arrival at the
hill of Tepeyacac. They did so; but when they arrived at the bridge over
the river that empties, at the foot of the hill, into the lake which
lies to the east of Mexico, the Indian disappeared from the spies who
were watching him. They examined the summit, brow, and circumference of
the hill, without failing, in their anxious solicitude, to explore every
ravine, fissure, and fragment of it, but not finding him in any part,
they concluded that the native was a deceitful impostor, and confirmed
in that idea, they returned to the bishop, begging him to punish the
Indian if he repeated his imposition.

As soon as Juan Diego, who was in advance of the servants, arrived at
the top of the hill, he found there the Most Blessed Mary awaiting the
prelate's answer. Pleased with his attention and promptitude, she
directed him to return the next day, when she would give him a sign that
would ensure credibility with the bishop. The Indian promised to do so,
but he could not comply with the mandate of Our Lady, to return the next
day, December 11th, 1531, as he found on reaching home that his uncle,
Juan Bernardino who held the place of father in his affections, had
fallen ill of a malignant fever, which the Indians call _cacolixtli_, on
which account he was detained that day in administering to him some
simples used by the Indians, all of which, however, he applied without
avail. At length, the infirmity assumed a fatal character, and the
patient asked Juan Diego to call in a priest, from whom he might receive
the Holy Sacrament and Extreme Unction.

The 12th of the same month, before the dawn of day, Juan Diego set out
for the Confessor, but on approaching the mountain near the place where
he had seen and spoken to the Most Holy Virgin, foreseeing that she
might blame him for his want of care in not having returned, and that
she might detain him to carry the signs to the bishop, and considering
moreover that the message he bore did not admit of delay, he pursued
another path lower down the mountain, towards the eastern part of the
hill, imagining that there he would not meet the Virgin. But this did
not turn out as he supposed, for passing the spot whence a fountain was
flowing, on turning to the brow of the hill, he saw the Holy Mother
descending from the summit to meet him in the path! The Indian,
surprised by the saintly apparition, was greatly alarmed; but the Holy
Virgin, with an affable countenance, said to him: 'Whither goest thou,
my son? What road is this thou hast taken?' Juan Diego was sadly
confused, frightened, and abashed; but the amenity with which Our Lady
met him renewed his courage; and prostrating himself at her feet, he
said: 'Do not be offended, Beloved Virgin, at what I am about to say to
you.' And, after saluting her _to ascertain the state of her health_, he
began to exculpate himself by briefly narrating the unfortunate
situation of his uncle, begging her to have a little forbearance with
him, and that he would return some other day to obey her commands.

The Holy Mary heard him with incomparable benignity, and replied, 'Hear,
my son, what I say. Do not allow yourself to be disturbed or afflicted
by any thing; neither fear infirmity, affliction, nor grief. Am not I,
your mother, here? Are you not under my shield and protection? Do you
need more? Give yourself neither trouble nor concern on account of the
illness of your uncle, who will not die of this present malady; and,
moreover, rest satisfied that even at this very instant he is perfectly

The Indian, consoled and satisfied by the Virgin's assurance, was filled
with divine confidence, and without caring for any thing else, he asked
for the sign he was to take to the bishop. The Virgin told him to ascend
the hill to the spot where she had previously conversed with him, and
cutting the flowers he would find growing there, to collect them in his
_tilma_ or blanket and bring them to her.

The Indian obeyed unhesitatingly, although he knew that these rude
wastes produced nothing but thorns even in the most flourishing

Arrived, however, at the summit, he found a _bed of various budding
flowers, odorous and yet wet with dew_. He cut, collected and placed in
his _tilma_ as many of them as it would hold and bore them to the Most
Holy Virgin, who awaited him at the foot of a tree, called by the
Indians Cuautzahautl, (a species of palm of wild growth, bearing only
white flowers similar to those of the white lily,) which grew in front
of and near the source of the fountain. The Indian bowed humbly and
exhibited the flowers which he had cut. The Virgin taking them in her
blessed hands impressed them with a holy virtue and arranged them in the
Indian's _tilma_, (which was, in fine, to be the repository of her
sacred image,) and said to him, 'This is the sign which I wish you to
take to the bishop, in order that he may build me a temple on this
spot;' and she charged him, saying, 'show no one what you have until you
arrive in his presence!'

With this she dismissed Juan;--and the Indian rejoicing in the sign,
(for he knew that through it his embassy would have a happy issue,) he
hastily took the path to Mexico.

Juan Diego arrived at the palace of the bishop with the credentials of
his embassy, and informed various members of the family that he wished
to speak with him. Nevertheless he could not obtain permission to enter,
until, enraged at his importunity and perceiving his _tilma_ full of
something, they sought to ascertain what it contained; and although in
obeying the mandate of the Most Holy Virgin, he resisted and hid from
their sight these miraculous flowers, they did not desist from using
violence to discover what he seemed so anxious to conceal. Seeing,
however, that they were only flowers wet with dew, and admirable for
their beauty and fragrance, they thrice attempted to seize some without
being able to do so, for the powerful hand of the Virgin resisted their
violence, affixing the blossoms in such a manner to the _tilma_ that
upon touching them they appeared painted or interwoven in the material
of the garment itself. This portentous novelty caused them to hasten to
the bishop with the information that Juan Diego was waiting to speak
with him.

As soon as the prelate was informed of the circumstances, he ordered the
Indian to enter instantly. As Juan displayed his _tilma_ to show the
blessed sign, the flowers fell, and the image of the Most Holy Virgin,
which we venerate in the Sanctuary of Guadalupe, appeared miraculously
painted upon the _tilma_ or garment of the Indian! At this wonderful
sight the astonished bishop and those about him prostrated themselves
and adored it with the greatest veneration. They were struck with the
beauty and freshness of the flowers flourishing in the midst of winter,
but much more by the heavenly beauty of the image before them, from
which they neither attempted nor were able to withdraw their eyes.

No less astonished was Juan Diego at seeing in his _tilma_ the image of
the one who had commanded him to bear the sign to the bishop, when he
thought he was only bringing flowers.

The bishop arose, and with due reverence untied the knot that suspended
that sacred cloth from the back of the Indian's neck. He took it to his
Oratory, and, hanging it up with the greatest possible respect, gave
thanks to God for so striking a miracle; and thus he became the
treasurer and depository of the richest jewel in the crown of America.

The bishop detained and ministered unto the Indian that day, and, on the
following, went with a multitude to the hill, in order that he might
point out the spot upon which the Blessed Virgin desired that a temple
might be built.

Arrived at the hill, he indicated the places in which he had seen and
spoken with the Sovereign Queen,[60] and, asking permission to visit his
uncle Juan Bernardino, (whom he had left in danger,) the bishop gave his
consent, and ordered some of his companions to accompany Juan, directing
them, if they found Juan Bernardino well, to bring him thither.

Upon arriving at the village of Tolpetlac and approaching the house of
Juan Bernardino, the convalescent Indian came forth to receive his
nephew and ask why he was accompanied by so honorable a cortege.
Thereupon Juan Diego related what had transpired; when Juan Bernardino,
interrupting him, said, that in the self-same hour in which the Most
Holy Virgin announced his recovery, she had in fact not only cured him,
but had appeared and directed him to build a temple to her at Tepeyacac,
where her image should be called HOLY MARIA DE GUADALUPE.

The servants brought the two Indians to the presence of the bishop;--and
having examined Juan Bernardino concerning his infirmity, the manner in
which he had received his health, and the form under which Our Lady
appeared to him, and many other questions to satisfy himself concerning
such a strange occurrence, which he could hardly credit,--the bishop
took the Indians with him to his palace.

And now the fame of the miracle was rapidly spread abroad through the
whole city; and all the towns folks clamoring to have the sacred image
exposed to the adoration of the public, and running tumultuously to the
palace of the Bishop, he caused it to be borne to the Cathedral Church,
over whose highest altar it was placed during the building of the
hermitage at the place the Indian pointed out. Thither it was
transferred when the edifice was completed, which did not take place in
fifteen days as is the opinion of some Guadalupanian authors, but in two
years and fifteen days, on the 26th day of December, 1533."







The largest collection of the moveable antiquities of Mexico, belonging
to the Aztec and probably to the Toltec period of the occupation of the
valley or adjacent country, is found in the Museum which occupies two or
three rooms and part of the court yard of the University building. In
the centre of the quadrangle around which this edifice is erected is the
fine bronze statue of Charles IV., cast in the capital by a native
Mexican. It is an admirable work, and before the revolution stood in
front of the cathedral in the plaza or great square. The Spanish
sovereign is habited in an antique Roman dress, and is seated on
horseback. His right hand, holding a baton, is stretched forward, in an
attitude of command and the folds of a massive robe fall gracefully from
his neck, over the hind limbs of his horse. His brow is bound with a
laurel wreath, and a Roman blade rests on his thigh, whilst the animal
is represented in the act of advancing slowly and treading on a quiver
of arrows.

This statue is, of course, liable to some just criticism, founded on the
bad models for horses which the artist had recourse to in Mexico whilst
engaged in his task; and although a due degree of strict adherence to
historical portraiture did not permit him to exalt too much the personal
characteristics of the king, he has nevertheless contrived to infuse a
great deal of power into the statue so as to entitle it to a fair
comparison with some of the best European equestrian works in bronze.
All the minor parts of the figures and their decorations are finished
with the utmost neatness, and another

[Illustration: COURT OF UNIVERSITY.]

proof is given, in this statue of the genius possessed by the natives
for the imitative arts. It was the work of Tolsa, and was first opened
to public view on its pedestal in the plaza, in the year 1803, under the
viceroyal government of Iturrigaray.

In a corner of this court yard, on the left of the portal, amid a
quantity of ancient lumber and relics, are the sacrificial stone and the
gigantic idol statue of Teoyaomiqui, described in the first volume of
this work. Here, too, are the huge serpent images, carved from basalt,
which are presumed to have been used in the worship of Quetzalcoatl--the
"feathered serpent,"--the "god of the air."

After an examination of the massive relics which lie in the court yard
of the University, we ascend by a broad stone staircase to the corridor
surrounding the quadrangle on the second floor. The lower story of this
edifice is occupied by the college chapel and the hall or recitation
room, whose lofty ceiling and windows, gloomy walls, and carved oaken
seats and pulpit, remind the stranger of the fine old monastic chambers
in similar institutions in Europe.

The apartments of the second floor open upon the broad corridor under a
light and tasteful arcade, and several rooms on the northern side are
devoted to the national collections, which, at the period of our visit
to Mexico in 1841 and 1842 were badly arranged and classified. The
salary devoted to the curator was scarcely adequate to support him, and
he probably paid more attention to the politics of the present day than
to the antiquities of the past. Nevertheless, we found him to be an
intelligent gentleman, fond of the relics, images and legends of the
Aztecs. He would, doubtless, have organized the valuable collection had
he been suitably aided, recompensed, or enabled to devote the whole of
his time to the archaiology of his country.

The first apartment on this side of the building is a sort of Spanish
lumber room, the wall of which is _friezed_ with a series of the
viceroys, whilst, in a corner, stand the fragments of a throne, waiting,
perhaps, the order for their reconstruction upon the ruins of the
_presidential chair_. Hard by this royal relic, in appropriate contrast,
is an unfinished bas relief of a trophy of liberty; and above the
sculpture, suspended against the wall in a rough pine coffin, hangs an
Indian mummy, which was exhumed in the fields of Tlaltelolco north of
the capital. Another side of this saloon is occupied by full length
portraits of Ferdinand and Isabella. In the next chamber, west of this,
the mass of the smaller Aztec relics has been collected and preserved in
cases. A small library, containing some ancient manuscripts, and the
splendid work of Lord

[Illustration: VASES FROM TULA.]





Kingsborough on Mexican antiquities, are preserved in this apartment,
while on the surrounding shelves, are deposited specimens of the
pottery, vases, pipes, idols, images, bows, arrows, axes, masks,
sacrificial instruments, beads and altars of the Aztecs.

Around the frieze of this room, as around that of the preceding, are
portraits of Mexican viceroys, at the head of which is the picture of
the conqueror Hernando Cortéz, from which the engraving in these volumes
has been accurately copied. Its authenticity is unquestionable, for its
history has been carefully traced to the period of the third viceroy,
Don Gaston de Peralta, Marques de Falces. This portrait represents the
hero of the conquest differently from any other picture we have found
either engraved or in oil, and exhibits the mingled air of elevated
veneration and command, of firmness and dignity, reflection and resolute
action, which are the chief historical characteristics of this
personage. In a corner, beneath the portrait, is a plain, unornamented
suit of steel armor, which belonged to the hero. Its small dimensions
convey no favorable impression of the hero's size or strength. The
armor, and patent of nobility granted by Charles V. to Pedro de
Alvarado, the companion of Cortéz, are also preserved in this saloon.
The royal document is exceedingly interesting from the fact that it
contains the autographs of the emperor and of Cortéz, who signed it as
El Marques del Valle de Oajaca.[61] Near these relics of two of the
leaders of the conquering army, preserved religiously under glass in a
golden frame, is the crimson silken banner, bearing the image of the
Virgin, crowned with a golden coronet and surrounded with twelve stars,
under which that army is alleged by the antiquarians to have marched the
second time against the Aztec capital.

In the apartment west of this, and facing on the plaza del Volador, are
the collections in natural history, which have been chosen apparently,
rather as curiosities than for scientific purposes. The specimens of
birds, beasts and reptiles, are indifferently preserved and classified,
and even the collection of minerals, which, in Mexico, ought to be of
the most perfect character, scarcely deserves mention as an important
illustrative cabinet.

       *       *       *       *       *

The number of small images, which are usually called idols, contained in
the cases of the principal saloon is very large, and specimens are
presented from most parts of the territory comprised in the empire of
the Aztec sovereigns, as well as from Mechoacan. Some of the finest of
these, both large and small, are exhibited in the plates annexed to this
section; and we do not describe them minutely or singly, because they
depend for their interest upon their forms, which are better depicted in
drawings than language. Most of these were carefully delineated and
measured by the author of this work himself, and their accuracy may be
confidently relied on.

Two of the most beautiful and rare objects comprised in this collection,
are the terra-catta funeral vases, one of which is represented in the
accompanying engraving. It was exhumed some years ago in the northern
suburb of the capital, known as St. Juan Tlaltelolco, the neighborhood
of the ancient site of one of the Aztec teocallis. It is one foot ten
inches high, and one foot three and a half inches in diameter. Its upper
portion was filled with human skulls, and the lower with bones of the
rest of the frame, while the top was carefully covered with the circular
lid, which is given in the plate. The Indian head, winged and crowned
with a circlet of twisted bands and feathers, the graceful handles, and
the semicircle of sunflowers and ears of corn, which curves beneath the
central ornament, will give the reader an accurate idea of the reliefs
with which this vase is adorned. Besides these symbols of eternity,
fruition and fullness, the vessel still exhibits the brilliant colors of
blue, vermillion, lake, yellow and brown, with which it was originally

Some beautiful specimens of the ancient musical instruments of the
Aztecs, are also preserved in this museum, and correct drawings of their
flageolets, whistles, drums and rattles, will be found in the


We turn naturally from the ancient capital of the Aztec empire to the
remains of art and architecture which are yet found on the site of
Tezcoco, the second city in the realm, and in its vicinity. It was in
this place that Cortéz prepared for his second assault upon the city of
Tenochtitlan or Mexico, and here he put together and launched on the
lake the vessels which he had caused to be fashioned in Tlascala on the
other side of the mountains that bound the eastern edge of the valley of
Mexico. The spot where these vehicles of his troops across the waters of
Tezcoco were first deposited in their proper element is still pointed
out by the inhabitants, and is known as El Puente de las Brigantinas,
though it is now more than a mile from the shore of the lake.[62]


In the north-west section of the modern town of Tezcoco, on the top of a
shapeless mass of pottery, bricks, mortar and earth, which is thickly
overgrown with aloes, there are several large slabs of basaltic rock,
neatly squared and laid due north and south. According to the legends of
the spot this is the site of one of the royal residences, and like most
of the antiquities of Mexico, is connected with the name of the best
known emperor, as the palace of Montezuma. When Mr. Poinsett visited
Tezcoco in 1825, this heap had not been pillaged for modern
architectural purposes, as much as it has been since that period. Among
the ruins of the supposed palace he then found, a regularly arched and
well built passage, sewer, or aqueduct, which was formed of square
stones the size of bricks, cemented with the strong mortar which was so
much used by the Indians in all their works. In the door of one of the
rooms he noticed the remains of a "very flat arch," the stones
comprising which were of prodigious size and weight. On this spot, some
years ago, was found the sculptured basin, which, at the period of our
visit, had been transferred to and preserved in the collection of the
Ex-Condé del Peñasco in the city of Mexico.

[Illustration: TROUGH FROM TEZCOCO.]

In the southern part of Tezcoco, are the massive remains of three vast
pyramids, whose forms are still remarkably perfect. They succeed each
other in a direct line from north to south, and, according to our
measurement, are about four hundred feet in extent, on each of their
fronts, along the base line. They are built partly of burned and partly
of sun dried bricks, mixed up with fragments of pottery and thick
coverings of cement, through which neat canals had been moulded to
carry off the water from the upper terrace. Bernal Diaz del Castillo
informs us, that the chief _teocalli_ of Tezcoco was ascended by one
hundred and seventeen steps; and, from the quantity of obsidian
fragments, images, vessels and heads of idols we found upon the sides of
these structures, it is not unlikely, that they, like the _teocallis_ of
the capital were devoted to the same bloody and impious rites. In some
of the private houses of this town, many larger idols or images cut from
basalt are still preserved, and in 1825, Mr. Poinsett saw at the
residence of the commandant several of these figures, which were better
formed and designed than most of the Indian statues he had previously
encountered in his Mexican travels.


About three miles across the gently sloping levels which spread out east
of the town of Tezcoco, a sharp, precipitous conical mountain rises
abruptly from the plain, which is stripped of the forests that once
probably clothed its sides, and is now only covered with a thick growth
of nopals, bushes and aloes. From the quantity of Indian remains found
on this elevation and in its vicinity, there is no doubt that it was the
site of an Aztec palace, or was connected with the adjacent plain by
some architectural works that have been destroyed in the centuries that
have elapsed since the conquest. The traveller climbs this steep
mountain with great labor, and finds nearly every part of it covered
with the _débris_ of ancient pottery and obsidian; and, in many parts of
his ascent, he is aided by the remains of the spiral road, cut in the
solid rock, which evidently once wound from its base to its top. Fifty
feet below the summit, looking exactly north, the massive stone of the
mountain has been cut into seats surrounding a recess leading to a steep
wall which is said to have been covered with a Toltec or Aztec calendar.
The sculptures upon the rock have, however, been destroyed by the
Indians, who cut through it as soon as they found the spot an object of
interest to strangers. These simple and superstitious beings imagined
that the quest of gold, alone, could induce travellers to leave the
capital, cross the lake, and toil up to the summit of this elevation,
and, accordingly they bored through the carved rock to obtain the buried
treasure, until they have formed a hole in the mountain, which is now
the hiding place and probably the home of a large number of squalid
wretches. On the absolute top of the mountain no traces of an edifice
are now observable; but as the Spaniards supposed it had been desecrated
by Indian rites in the olden time, it has been sanctified by the
erection of a cross, from whose feet the whole valley of Mexico, with
its lakes, plains, towns and majestic panorama of encircling mountains,
bursts on the sight of the wearied traveller.

       *       *       *       *       *

Returning to the recess from the summit, and winding thence by a spiral
path down the eastern slopes of the hill, we find the road suddenly
ended by a wall which plunges precipitously down the mountain for about
two hundred feet. At this termination of the pathway, cut in the solid
rock, we found another recess, surrounded with seats, while, in the
centre of the area, was a circular basin, a yard and a half in diameter,
and three feet deep, into which water was formerly introduced, through
the small aperture in the square pipe which is delineated in the

[Illustration: ANCIENT RESERVOIR.]

This basin has, of course, been also connected with the fame of the
emperor, and is known as "Montezuma's bath." Its true use, however, is
perfectly evident to those who are less fanciful or antiquarian than the
generality of visiters. The picturesque view from this spot, over a
small plain set in a frame of the surrounding mountains and glens which
border the eastern side of Tescocingo, undoubtedly made this recess a
favorite resort for the royal personages at whose expense these costly
works were made. From the surrounding seats, they enjoyed a delicious
prospect over the lovely but secluded scenery, while, in the basin, at
their feet, were gathered the waters of a neighboring spring, which,
whilst refreshing them after their promenade on the mountain, gurgled
out of its stony channel and fell in a mimic cascade over the
precipitous cliff that terminated their path. It was to this shady spot
that they no doubt retired in the afternoon, when the sun was hot on the
west of the mountain, and here the sovereign and his court, in all
probability, enjoyed the repose and privacy which were denied them amid
the bustle of the city. Antiquarianism would be greatly assisted in its
researches and conjectures, if it recollected that the _nature_ of
civilized men is the same in all ages, and that it is easier to judge
the architectural remains of our ancestors by this standard than by the
fanciful or classical rules, which they are dramatically disposed to
conjure up in order to interpret the past.

       *       *       *       *       *

The hill or mountain of Tescocingo is connected with another hill on the
east by a tall embankment about two hundred feet high, upon whose level
top,--which may be crossed by three persons abreast, on horseback,--are
the remains of an ancient aqueduct, built of baked clay, the pipes of
which are now as perfect as on the day they were first laid. The water
was brought hither by a canal around the hill to which it is connected
by the embankment; while, east of this, and uniting the last hill with
another elevation, there is a second aqueduct raised on an embankment,
which was fed by other aqueducts and canals that formerly conducted the
water from the eastern mountains about three leagues distant.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are some of the remains of Tezcocan sumptuousness, in the
neighborhood of the ancient capital of this region; and, together with
the ancient grove of cypresses, known as El Bosque del Contador, lying
across the levels north-west of Tezcoco, may be regarded as the most
remarkable relics of the princes and people of the Tezcocan monarchy.
The grove of the Contador is formed by double rows of gigantic
cypresses, about five hundred in number, arranged in a square
corresponding with the points of the compass and enclosing an area of
nearly ten acres. At the north-western point of this quadrangle another
double row of lordly cypresses runs westwardly towards a dyke, north of
which there is a deep oblong



tank, neatly walled and filled with water. From the soft spongy
character of the soil in the centre of the great quadrangular
grove--which it is impossible for any one to cross without danger of
being mired in the unsubstantial morass,--it is supposed that the vast
area was once occupied by a lake, whose waters were probably forever
renewed by the hydraulic works we have already described in the
neighborhood of Tescocingo. Along the raised banks, and beneath the
shadows of the double line of majestic trees, were the walks and arbors
in which Nezahualcoyotl and his courtiers amused themselves. The ponds
and lakes were filled with fish and frequented by the wild fowl that now
cover the margins of the Mexican lakes; while the same benignant sky and
delicious climate that bless the descendants of the Spaniards, reigned
then, as now, over the dusky children of the soil.[63]


A ride on horseback of about three hours at a pleasant pace, will bring
the traveller from Tezcoco to the village of St. Juan, lying in an
extensive level bordered on all sides by ridges and mountain spurs,
except towards the east, where a depression in the chain leads into the
plains of Otumba, upon which Cortéz fought so remarkable a battle when
pursued by the victorious Aztecs. In the centre of the levels of St.
Juan are the two remarkable pyramids of Teotihuacan,--the
Tonatiuh-Ytzagual, or "house of the sun," and the Meztli-Ytzagual, or
"house of the moon." These vast masses first break upon the sight as the
ridge is crossed. At that distance the foliage and bushes that cover
them are not easily discerned, and the perfect figure of the original
structure seems to be revealed in all its freshness. As the objects are
approached, however, the work of time upon the monuments becomes
evident. The sharp pyramidal lines are all broken. Aloes, nopals,
magueys, mesquite and parasites crawl and cling over every part of the
ruined heaps; and the whole mass resembles a crumbling but gigantic pile
of rocks and earth, which is scarcely distinguishable from the adjacent
hills until its structure is closely examined.


Ascending the one hundred and twenty-one feet of the house of the Sun,
we reach a level platform on the summit, whence a charming prospect
extends for many miles to the south and east over cultivated fields. At
the southern base of this pyramid, which measures six hundred and
eighty-two feet, there are four small mounds, and beyond these there is
a range of lesser _tumuli_ running towards an elevated square of mounds
lying between the stream west of Teotihuacan and the present road to
Otumba. On the west front, five _tumuli_ surround an oval mound whose
centre is depressed, and all of these jut out westwardly towards a line
of similar grave-like elevations lying on both sides of the avenue that
leads to the house of the Moon. This road is the Micoatl, or path of the
dead, which the ancient writers locate in the valley of San Juan.

The other pyramid, or house of the Moon is smaller, and like its
neighbor is composed of rock, stones, pottery and cement,--covered with
the debris of obsidian and terra-catta images which lie scattered from
the top to the base amid the tangled aloes and creepers that have struck
their roots deeply into the crevices. The house of the Sun is not known
to have any cavity within its body, but in the house of the Moon,
between the second and third terraces, a narrow passage has been
detected, through which two wells or sunken chambers, about fifteen feet
deep, may be reached by crawling on hands and knees over an inclined
plain for a distance of about eight yards. The walls of this cryptic
entrance, and of the sunken chamber are made of the common sun dried
bricks, but there are no remains of sculpture, painting, or bodies to
reward an antiquarian for groping through the dark and dusty aperture.

South of this pyramid of the Moon, is the Micoatl or path of the dead,
to which we have already alluded. Two elliptical elevations rise at the
south-east and south-west corner of the Teocalli, upon each of which
there are three mounds, whilst their diameters are bisected by other
rectilinear elevations upon each of which there are five similar mounds.
Four circular and one square mound lie within the area of this
inclosure, and the whole appears to form a massive portal of tumuli to
the majestic pyramid. A long double line of minor mounds stretches away
to the south on the sides of the avenue, until all traces of them are
lost in the field in front of the temple of the sun with whose groups of
tumuli this path was in all likelihood formerly united. The student will
obtain a better idea of the localities of these remains by examining the
plan which was carefully prepared by the author, on the spot, in 1842.
At B, on the plan, there is a large globular mass of granite measuring
nineteen feet eight inches in circumference, upon which there is some
rude carving which has been found to bear some resemblance to the Aztec
figure of the sun;--and in the semicircular enclosure among the
_tumuli_, at C, is placed the sculptured granite stone, represented in
the annexed cut. It lies due east and west. The dark shadow at B,
represents a sink or hollow three inches deep at the sides, and six at
the top and bottom. This is known as the "fainting stone," as it is
alleged that all who recline on its surface are sure to experience
lassitude, or loose animation for a while!



This place is famous in the ancient history of Mexico, but no remains of
importance have been found in its vicinity or within the limits of the
village. When Mr. Poinsett visited it during his residence in Mexico as
Envoy from the United States, he observed no relic of the past worthy of
examination or record except the fragment of a pillar represented in the
annexed drawing.



About eighteen miles south of Cuernavaca, in the State of Mexico, there
is a _cerro_ or hill, known as Xochicalco or the "hill of flowers,"
whose summit is occupied by the remains of an ancient stone pyramid. The
traveller reaches this eminence after travelling over a wide plain
intersected by deep barrancas, and almost entirely denuded of trees and
shrubbery. The base of this hill is surrounded by the remains of a deep
wide ditch, and its top is attained by five spiral terraces, supported
by walls of stone joined with cement. At suitable distances from each
other, along the edge of this winding path are the remains of bulwarks
fashioned like the bastions of a fortification. On the summit there is a
wide extensive level, the eastern part of which is occupied by three
truncated cones, resembling the smaller mounds found among the pyramids
of Teotihuacan. On the other three sides of the esplenade there are
other masses of stones, which may have also been portions of similar
_tumuli_. The stones of which these lesser mounds were constructed have
evidently been nicely shaped and covered with a coat of stucco.

Passing upward, amid tangled trees and vines, along the last terrace,
and through the cornfield which is cultivated on the plain at top by an
Indian _ranchero_, the traveller at length stands before the remains of
the elegant structure that once crowned the summit with its carved and
massive architecture. The reports of engineers who visited this pyramid
in years long past, and the legends of the neighborhood, declared that
it originally consisted of five stories, placed upon each other at
regular intervals and separated by narrow platforms. But of all these,
nothing now remains except portions of the first body, which is formed
of cut porphyry and covered with the singular emblems which are
accurately represented in the annexed plate of the north-western angle.

Amid the neglect of the viceroyal government, and the revolutionary
disturbances subsequent to the rebellion against Spain, this beautiful
monument of ancient art, seems to have been entirely forgotten, save by
the neighboring _haciendados_ or planters, who used it as a quarry, from
which they might supply the wants of their estates without the trouble
or expense of a stone cutter. In the middle of the eighteenth century
the fine terraces were yet perfect. But, as the country became settled
in the neighborhood, the farmers began to pilfer from the mass, and, not
long before we visited it in 1842, an adjacent land owner had carried
off large loads of the sculptured stones to build a dam in a neighboring
ravine, for the use of his cattle.


The story of this pyramid that has been thus far spared, is rectangular;
and, facing north, south, east and west, in exact correspondence with
the cardinal points, it measures sixty-four feet on its northern front
above the plinth, and fifty-eight on the western. The distance between
the plinth and frieze is about ten feet, the breadth of the frieze is
three feet and a half, and the height of the cornice one foot and five
inches. The most perfect portion is the northern front; and, here, the
carving in relief, which is between three and four inches deep, is most
distinctly visible. The massive stones,--some of which are seven feet
eleven inches long, by two feet nine inches wide; five feet two inches
long, and two feet six inches broad, and five feet long, two feet seven
inches high, and four feet seven inches broad,--are all laid upon each
other without cement, and kept together simply by the pressure and
gravity of the general architecture. These dimensions of the fragments
of so splendid an edifice will give the reader an idea of the labor and
ingenuity which were employed in its construction. For it must be
remembered, that not only was the Indian skill taxed in the design and
shaping of the stones in the immediate neighborhood, but that the
weighty materials were drawn from a considerable distance, and borne up
a hill three hundred feet in height, without the use of horses. The
terraces supporting the spiral path, and their bastion-like bulwarks,
were subjects of equal labor; while the broad deep ditch, surrounding
the whole, was in itself a work exacting the most patient industry. Few
nations have probably devoted more time and toil to a work which was
perhaps partly religious and partly defensive.

These are the external works upon the Cerro of Xochicalco, but it
appears from good authority, and from the report of the neighborhood,
that the hill itself was partly hollowed into chambers. Some years since
a party of gentlemen, under the orders of government, explored these
subterranean retreats, and, after groping through dark and narrow
passages, whose side walls are covered with a hard and glistening gray
cement, they came to three entrances between two enormous pillars cut
from the rock of which the hill is formed. Through these portals they
entered a chamber, whose roof was a cupola of regular shape, built of
stones placed in circles, while at the top of the dome was an aperture,
which probably led to the surface of the earth or the summit of the
pyramid. Nebel, who visited the ruins some years ago, relates an Indian
tradition, that this aperture ascended immediately above an altar placed
in this chamber, and that the sun's rays fell directly on the centre of
the shrine when that luminary was vertical!




The State of Mechoacan is the old Spanish Intendencia of Vallodolid, and
includes a great part of the ancient Indian Kingdom of Mechoacan, or
Mechoacan of the Tarascos. It is bounded on the north by Guanajuato,
north-easterly of Querétaro, south-easterly by Mexico, westerly by
Jalisco, and south-westerly, for a short distance, by the Pacific.

This State lies chiefly on the western slope of the Cordillera, and is
cut up by hills and genial vallies. The highest point within its limits
is the Peak of Tancitaro, which, in all probability, is an extinct
volcano. East of this, and south of the village of Ario, the Volcano of
Jorullo burst forth on the night of the 29th of September, 1759.

The great region to which this mountain belongs has been already
described in our account of the geological structure of Mexico. The
plain of Malpais forms part of an elevated platform, between 2,000 and
3,000 feet above the level of the sea, and is bounded by hills composed
of basalt, trachyte, and volcanic tuff, clearly indicating that the
country had previously, though probably at a remote period, been the
theatre of igneous action. From the era of the discovery of the New
World to the middle of the last century, the district had remained
undisturbed, and the space, now the site of the volcano, which is thirty
leagues distant from the nearest sea, was occupied by fertile plains of
sugar cane and indigo, and watered by the two brooks, Cuitimba and San
Pedro. In the month of June, 1759, hollow sounds of an alarming nature
were heard, and earthquakes succeeded each other for two months, until,
in September, flames issued from the ground, and fragments of burning
rocks were thrown to prodigious heights.


"Six volcanic cones, composed of scoriæ and fragmentary lava, were
formed on the line of a chasm which ran in a direction from N. N. E. to
S. S. W. The least of these cones was 300 feet in height, and Jorullo,
the central volcano, was elevated 1,600 feet above the level of the
plain. It sent forth great streams of basaltic lava, containing included
fragments of rocks, and its ejections did not cease till the month of
February, 1760.

"Humboldt visited the country more than forty years after this
occurrence, and was informed by the Indians, that when they returned,
long after the catastrophe, to the plain, they found the ground
uninhabitable from the excessive heat. When he himself visited the
place, there appeared around the base of the cones, and spreading from
them, as from a centre, over an extent of four square miles, a mass of
matter of a convex form, about 550 feet high at its junction with the
cones, and gradually sloping from them in all directions towards the
plain. This mass was still in a heated state, the temperature in the
fissures being on the decrease from year to year, but in 1780 it was
still sufficient to light a cigar at the depth of a few inches. On this
slightly convex protuberance, the slope of which must form an angle of
about 6° with the horizon, were thousands of flattish conical mounds,
from six to nine feet high, which as well as large fissures traversing
the plain, acted as fumeroles, giving out clouds of sulphuric acid and
hot aqueous vapor. The two small rivers before mentioned disappeared
during the eruption, losing themselves below the eastern extremity of
the plain, and reappearing as hot springs at its western limit. Humboldt
attributed the convexity of the plain to inflation below; supposing the
ground, for four square miles in extent, to have risen in the shape of a
bladder to the elevation of 550 feet above the plain in the highest
part. But this theory is by no means borne out by the facts described;
and it is the more necessary to scrutinize closely the proofs relied on,
because the opinion of Humboldt appears to have been received as if
founded upon direct observation, and has been made the ground work of
other bold and extraordinary theories. Mr. Scrope has suggested that the
phenomena may be accounted for far more naturally by supposing that lava
flowed simultaneously from the different orifices, and principally from
Jorullo, united with a sort of pool or lake. As it poured forth on a
surface previously flat, it would, if its liquidity was not very great,
remain thickest and deepest near its source, and diminish in bulk from
thence towards the limits of the space which it covered. Fresh supplies
were probably emitted successively during the course of an eruption
_which lasted a year_; and some of these, resting on those first
emitted, might only spread to a small distance from the foot of the
cone, where they would necessarily accumulate to a great height.

"The showers, also, of loose and pulverulent matter from the six
craters, and principally from Jorullo, would be composed of heavier and
more bulky particles near the cones, and would raise the ground at their
base, where, mixing with rain, they might have given rise to the stratum
of black clay which is described as covering the lava.

"The small conical mounds called 'hornitos' or little ovens may resemble
those five or six small hillocks which existed in 1823 on the Vesuvian
lava, and sent forth columns of vapor, having been produced by the
disengagement of elastic fluids heaving up small dome-shaped masses of
lava. The fissures mentioned by Humboldt as of frequent occurrence, are
such as might naturally accompany the consolidation of a thick bed of
lava, contracting as it congeals; and the appearance of rivers is the
usual result of the occupation of the lower part of the valley or plain
by lava, of which there are many beautiful examples in the old lava
currents of Auvergne. The heat of the 'hornitos' is stated to have
diminished from the first; and Mr. Bullock, who visited the spot many
years after Humboldt, found the temperature of the hot spring very
low,--a fact which seems clearly to indicate the gradual congelation of
a subjacent bed of lava which, from its immense thickness, may have been
enabled to retain its heat for half a century. The reader may be
reminded, that when we thus suppose the lava near the volcano to have
been, together with the ejected ashes, more than 500 feet in depth, we
merely assign a thickness which the current of Skaptar Jokul attained in
some places in 1783.

"Another argument adduced in the support of the theory of inflation from
below, was, the hollow sound made by the steps of a horse upon the
plain; which, however, proves nothing more than that the materials of
which the convex mass is composed are light and porous. The sound called
"_rimbombo_" by the Italians, is very commonly returned by _made ground_
when sharply struck, and has been observed not only on the sides of
Vesuvius and of other volcanic cones where a cavity is below, but also
in plains, such as the Campagna di Roma, composed in a great measure of
tuff and other porous and volcanic rocks. The reverberation, however,
may be assisted by grottoes and caverns, for these may be as numerous in
the lavas of Jorullo as in many of those of Etna; but their existence
would lend no countenance to the hypothesis of a great arched cavity,
four square miles in extent, and in the centre 550 feet high.[64]

"Mr. Burkhart, a German director of mines, who examined Jorullo in 1827,
ascertained that there had been no eruption there since Humboldt's visit
in 1803. He, went to the bottom of the crater, and observed a slight
evolution of sulphurous acid vapors, but the "hornitos" had ceased
entirely to give forth steam. During the twenty-four years intervening
between his visit and that of Humboldt, vegetation had made great
progress on the flanks of the new hills, and the rich soil of the
surrounding country was once more covered with luxuriant crops of sugar
cane and indigo, and there was an abundant growth of natural underwood
on all the uncultivated tracts."[65]

       *       *       *       *       *

The State of Mechoacan is extraordinarily rich in rivers and streams.
The Lerma, Balsas, Zitacuaro, Huetamo, Cluranúeco, Marquéz, Aztala,
Tlalpujahua, and some smaller streamlets and brooks are found in its
vallies; while the lakes and ponds of Cuizco or Aaron, Patzcuaro,
Huango, Tanguato, and Huaniqueo afford supplies to numerous
neighborhoods. The climate of Mechoacan is regular, not liable to
extraordinary or sudden changes, and remarkably genial. On the Pacific
coast and in its vicinity, as in the other middle and southern States of
the Confederacy, agues and intermittent fevers prevail; but the
population seems to have increased considerably since the beginning of
this century, and even in a larger proportion than in some other parts
of Mexico. In 1849, the number of inhabitants was estimated to be not
less than 590,000. Three Indian tribes still dwell within its borders:
1st, the Tarascos; 2d, the Otomies; 3d, the Chichimecas. The whole
southern half of the State is peopled with Indians.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mechoacan is divided into 4 departments and 62 municipalities:

  1. Department del Norte, with 14 municipalities.
  2.    "       del Oriente, with 15 municipalities.
  3.    "       del Sur, with 11 municipalities.
  4.    "       del Poniente, with 22 municipalities.

These 4 departments contain the three cities of MORELIA, PATZCUARO, and
TZINTZOUTZAN;--the three towns of Zitacuaro, Zamora, and Charo;--256
villages, 333 _haciendas_, and 1,356 _ranchos_, which are divided among
83 parishes.

The agricultural productions of Mechoacan are similar in character to
those of the other Western States of Mexico lying within the same
longitude. The best sugar plantations are about 12 leagues from
Patzcuaro. At the foot of Jorullo, cotton, indigo, cacao and sugar are
planted; and mainoc or cassava, potatoes and yams are sown in genial
spots, whilst maiz, wheat, barley and magueys are cultivated in the
higher and cooler regions. The finest tropical fruits are raised in the
warm portions of the State.

The capital of Mechoacan is Morelia, sometimes called Valladolid, or
Valladolid de Mechoacan. Its modern title is derived from the name of
the insurgent leader Morelos.

MORELIA lies 6,398 feet above the level of the sea, in latitude 19° 42´
North, 103° 12´ 15´´ W. long. from Paris,--between the two streams which
water the Valley of Olid. It is a small, but handsome town, possessing
some fine churches, and a charming passeo and alameda. The climate is
mild and wholesome, but snow falls occasionally during the winter.

PATZCUARO lies on the south-eastern bank of the lake of that name.

TZINTZOUTZAN is about 4 leagues from Patzcuaro, in a northerly
direction, upon the banks of the same lake. It was once the capital of
the ancient Indian Kingdom of Mechoacan, but is now only a small
village of 2,000 inhabitants, who have nevertheless bestowed on it the
title of--"_City._" Some relics of the Tarascan architecture are said to
be found at this place, but we do not possess any authentic accounts or
drawings of them.

ZITACUARO is the capital of the old mining district 7 leagues south of
Angangueo, 6,451 feet above the sea, and contains about 2000
inhabitants. Many small Indian villages are also found in the
neighborhood, but they do not require special notice.

ANGANGUEO is a mining town 7 leagues south of Tlalpujahua, with about
1,900 inhabitants.

San Pedro y San Pablo de Tlalpujahua, also a mining village and
district, 35 leagues north north-west from Mexico, eastward of Morelia,
and about 6 leagues south of the left bank of the Lerma. It lies in a
beautiful mountain region at the foot of the _Cerro del Gallo_, 8,386
feet above the sea. Two leagues north of Tlalpujahua, is the _Hacienda
de Tepetongo_, remarkable for its warm springs, which rising amid
volcanic rocks, maintain a temperature of 27° Reaumeur; and are freely
resorted to by the neighboring Indians. Cuizco; Huaniqueo; Zamora;
Tancuancicuaro; Tarecuato; Tlazazalca, Tanguato, are the remaining towns
and villages in this part of the country deserving mention. In the
Department _del Norte_, we find Sirisicuaro; Santa Anna; Araron;
Copandaro; Teremendo; Pareachecuaro, and Tirepiteo. In the Department
_del Oriente_ lie San Felipé; Patambero; Enadio; Orocutui; Tusantla;
Clirangangueo; Tichiqueo; Huetano Pungarahuato; and Cayuca. In the
Department _del Sur_, are Ario; Tacambaro; Turicato; Churumuco; Santiago
Coalcoman; Uruapan and Tancitaro. In the Department _del Poinente_, we
find Chilchote, with about 4,700 inhabitants, and Tincuindui.

       *       *       *       *       *

The mining districts of Mechoacan are Tlalpujahua, Angangueo, and
Ozumatlan. Formerly, the mines of Zitacuaro, Ingnaran, and a few other
districts were somewhat renowned for their value; but, at present, they
are either entirely abandoned or only slightly worked.


The present State of JALISCO and former Intendency of Guadalajara,
formed together with Zacatecas, the old Spanish kingdom of New Galicia.
It is bounded on the north by Durango; on the north-west by Sinaloa; on
the north and east by Zacatecas and Guanajuato; on the south and
south-east by Mechoacan and the Territory of Colima; and on the west by
the Pacific coast, for a distance of 160 leagues. The State stretches
from 19° 5´ to 23° 55´ of north latitude; and from 103° 45´ to 108° 28´
30´´ west longitude from Paris. Its population is estimated at about

The greater part of Jalisco lies on the western slope of the Cordillera;
and its table lands, which resemble those of the great plateau of
Mexico, are somewhat cut up by mountain spurs. The upper regions
consequently are comparatively sterile, whilst the lowlands are rich and

The Sierras of Bayona, in the north-west end of Chalchihuitéc, in the
north-east of the State, are its most remarkable mountain ranges. The
Rio Grande de Santiago is the principal stream in Jalisco; but during
the six months of the dry season, its waters are either extremely
shallow or disappear altogether. The Bayona is a boundary between this
State and Sinaloa.

The LAKE OF CHAPALA, lies about fifteen leagues from the city of
Guadalajara, and forms a basin among the mountains of 36 to 40 leagues
in length by 5 to 8 in breadth. Its usual depth is about six and a half
fathoms. Its scenery is remarkably beautiful, and it supplies the
neighborhood plentifully with fish and water-fowl.

       *       *       *       *       *

Jalisco is divided into eight Cantons or Departments:--Guadalajara,
Lagos, La Barca, Sayula, Etzatlan, Autlan, Tepic and Colotlan;--containing
8 large cities and towns, 318 small villages, 387 haciendas or
plantations, and 2,534 ranchos or farms.

The agricultural productions of Jalisco combine those of the _tierras
calientas_ and the _tierras templadas_. On the upper plateaus, grain and
agaves are chiefly planted, and on the coast, sugar and cotton. A small
quantity of cochineal is also raised, and in the district of Autlan de
la Grana, plantations of the cacao-tree have been made. All the fruits
of the tropical and temperate zones are readily grown; sheep, mules,
horses, goats, neat-cattle, are raised in great abundance, and not less
than 10,000 head of cattle are found on many haciendas de Gañado.

The manufactures of Jalisco are chiefly confined to rude cotton fabrics
or some fanciful articles of dress. The people are celebrated for their
gold and silver embroidery upon leather which is used in the manufacture
of saddles and horse equipage.

Nearly all the importations into this State come either by land from San
Luis Potosi, the city of Mexico, or San Blas, which is the chief port of
Jalisco on the Pacific. A large portion of the foreign wares are
doubtless smuggled into the interior, or introduced through the corrupt
connivance of custom-house officers along the line of the west coast.


The city of GUADALAJARA, 150 leagues from Mexico, the capital of
Jalisco, is situated upon an extensive plain. Its handsome streets are
airy, and many of the houses well built. There are fourteen squares,
twelve fountains, and a number of convents and churches, the principal
of which is the magnificent Cathedral, whose towers were injured by an
earthquake in 1818. An Alameda is beautifully laid out with irregular
alleys, planted with trees, interspersed with flowers, while, in the
centre, a fountain throws up a constant stream of excellent water.

Within the town, the _Portales_ are the principal rendezvous, and
contain numerous shops and stalls filled with European and East India
fabrics, fruit of all kinds, earthenware from Tonala, shoes, mangas,
saddlery, birds, sweetmeats of Calabazato, and a thousand other
varieties to attract the passers by. Each of the stalls pays a small
ground rent to the convents of Guadalajara, and thus afford an ample
revenue to the brotherhoods.

The population of the town may be estimated at 50,000. Its air is mild
and wholesome, and during the season when the neighboring vegetation is
refreshed by rains, the scenery of Guadalajara is considered as
picturesque as that of the city of Mexico.

In the district of Lagos lies the town of SAN JUAN DE LOS LAGOS, in a
deep ravine, almost upon a level with the river of the same name, and
with its mud houses and wild scenery, offers no evidence of the gay and
festive appearance it presents during the famous annual fair which is
held in it, commencing the 5th of December, and lasting eight days. At
that period, San Juan is the resort of merchants, with their wares from
all parts of the Republic, and all the planters or wealthy rancheros
within an hundred leagues, resort thither with their families.

There is a beautiful church in this town, dedicated to Our Lady of the
Lake, and medals struck in honor of her are sold at the door of the

In the district of _la Barca_ are the towns of La Barca, Tlachichilco,
Chapala, Axixis, Ojotepec, Aranda and Atotomilco.

In the district of _Etzatlan_, we find the capital village of Etzatlan,
Cocula, San Martin, Améca, Tequila and Agualco.

In the district of _Sayula_, are Sayula, Zapotlan el grande, Zapotitli,
Tuspan and Zacualco.

In the district of _Autlan_, we find Autlan de la Grana, a town with
4,000 inhabitants, La Villa de la Purificacion, with 3,000, Mascota, San
Sebastian and Tecolotlan, which are large villages.

In the district of _Tepic_ lies the town of Tepic, a fine well built
town in the midst of a rich mountain plain, 2,963 feet above the level
of the sea, and next to the capital, the finest and most populous town
in the State. Besides this, there are Pochotitlan, Compostella,
Ahuacatlan, S. Maria del Oro, Santiago, Centispac, Acaponeta, and
Guajicoria. Three leagues north-east of the latter, a warm spring is
found in the neighborhood of the _Cerro de Huicalapa_.

The capital of the district of _Colotlan_, is San Antonio de Colotlan,
containing about 4,000 inhabitants. In this district we also find Santa
Maria, a large and populous village lying 5,659 feet above the sea,
Huejucar, Cartagena, Tlaltenango and Bolaños, a mining town.

The best sea-port of Jalisco is that of San Blas, whose town lies in 21°
32´ 24´´ north latitude and 107° 35´ 48," west longitude from Paris,
upon a rock of basaltic lava, 90 feet high, isolated entirely on three
sides, and reached by a bad road on the fourth. The haven is
land-locked, and the anchoring ground good and deep; but during the
rainy season the levels around the rock which is the foundation of the
town, become filled with stagnant pools until the whole adjacent country
is covered with water. The burning sun of the coast acts rapidly upon
these shallow marshes and fills them with insects and miasma. San Blas
soon becomes uninhabitable, and its population betake themselves either
to Tepic, Guadalajara, or the first elevations of the mountains in the

       *       *       *       *       *

The only mining region of any note in Jalisco is that of Bolaños. The
mines of Hostotipaquillo, near Tepic, are now abandoned; those of
Guichichila, Santa Maria del Oro, Santa Martin and Ameca, in the
district of Etzatlan, in the neighborhood of Cocula, are partially
wrought. Among the unexplored sites of base and spurious metals in this
State, we may mention those found in the vicinity of Compostella, those
near the ranchos of _Rosa Morada_ and _Buena Vista_, towards the coast,
between the villages of Santiago and Acaponeta, and those near
Guajicoria, north of the last named village.

The Islands of La Isabela, San Juanico and Marias, lie on the Pacific
coast of Jalisco.

       *       *       *       *       *

The aborigines of Jalisco, formerly warlike and devoted to a bloody
religion, belong to the tribes of Cazçanes, Guachichiles and Guamanes.
They are most generally tillers of the ground, adhering to the doctrines
of the Catholic church, and they have particular fondness for settling a
while in lonely and wild regions, and for changing their place of
residence frequently. The manners and customs of the Guachichiles are in
many respects peculiar. They still use the bow and arrow as weapons.
Their quivers are made of deer and shark skins, and the points of their
reed arrows are formed of a hard wood and rarely of copper. The garments
of the men consist of a kind of short tunic, roughly made by themselves
of blue or brown cotton material, with a girdle hanging down in front
and behind, to which is generally added a pair of trousers of tanned
goat or deer skin. Married persons, men as well as women, wear straw
hats with broad rims and high crowns, ornamented with a narrow ribbon of
bright colored wool and tassels. Their black bushy hair is worn very
long, bound with bright colored ribbons and tassels, or plaited in
queues. No unmarried person, male or female, dare wear a hat. The women
are clothed with an under garment of rough wool or cotton and a mantle
of the same material, which has an aperture on top through which they
pass their heads. When sober they are peaceable and easily controlled,
but when intoxicated violent and quarrelsome. At marriage the husband
has the right of taking his wife on trial and of sending her back to her
parents after some time if she should not please him, and this, even if
she should be pregnant by him. This, however, does not prevent such a
female marrying afterwards. If she gives satisfaction, the husband has
the ceremony performed by a priest or monk, who for this purpose makes a
yearly circuit, and often performs the marriage and a baptism at the
same time!

Church and school matters, particularly the latter, are provided for in
the State of Jalisco in an inferior manner to other parts of the Mexican
Republic. A few years ago, there were in the entire State only 113
elementary schools attended by not more than 6,167 children. The
instruction was limited almost exclusively to reading, for of this
entire number, according to official accounts, there were not more than
2,092 learning to write. For instruction in the higher branches there
were in the entire State only two indifferent institutions located in
the capital--one the Seminario Conciliar for instruction of the clergy,
with thirteen chairs and a species of academy, founded since the
revolution, called El Instituto, with chairs for anatomy, modern
languages, mineralogy, mathematics, &c. The seminary was attended by 120
boarders and 329 day scholars. The institution had one director, ten
professors, two assistant teachers, a secretary, etc.; the available
funds of the same consisted, independent of a fee paid by the wealthier
scholars, of scarcely any thing but an addition of two thousand and
seventy dollars granted by the State treasury. Jalisco felt deeply this
sad condition of public instruction, and numerous propositions for its
amelioration and thorough reformation were made, but money was wanting
and fit men for the professorships, and discretion and tact on the part
of the authorities, and it is scarcely to be expected that since that
time public instruction has been essentially bettered. The "Instituto"
since then has been made a university. The State forms a separate
bishopric. It was erected in the year 1548, and embraced at that time in
like manner the present States of Durango and New Leon. The bishop had
his seat first at Compostela; in 1569 it was transferred to Guadalajara.
In 1631 Durango was separated from Jalisco, and in 1777 both were made
distinct bishoprics. The episcopal chapter of Jalisco consisted of three
dignitaries, four canons and four prebendaries.


This territory is bounded north by Jalisco, south by Mechoacan, east by
both of these States, and west by the Pacific. It extends between the
degrees of 18° 18´ and 19° 10´ of north latitude, and 102° 51´ and 104°
2´ west longitude from Greenwich. Its surface is generally level, broken
by hills, from among which rises the mountain of Colima, the westernmost
of Mexican volcanoes. It lies in the north-eastern corner of the
Territory, and reaches a height of 9,200 feet above the level of the

The climate of Colima is warm--on the coast it is hot--but the territory
is generally considered healthy and fruitful in all portions. Its
population is estimated at about 45,000. Cotton, sugar, tobacco and
cacao are produced by its agriculturists, while on the coast large
quantities of salt are made from the waters of the sea. Rich iron
deposits have been recently found, and individuals have commenced
developing this important source of national wealth.

The chief town of the Territory is COLIMA, about two leagues south of
the volcano, containing between fifteen and twenty thousand inhabitants.
The other towns and villages are Almoloyan, with 4,000 people, Xala,
Ascatlan and Texupa. The haven of Manzanillo, or port of Colima, as it
is sometimes called, is seventeen leagues west of the capital; and with
but small expense to government might be made one of the best anchorages
in the Republic.

[Illustration: THROWING THE LAZO.]




Sinaloa is bounded on the south by Jalisco, on the east by Durango, on
the south-west by Chihuahua, on the north by Sonora and on the west by
the Pacific coast for a distance of 200 leagues along the Gulf of
California. It lies between 22° 35´ and 27° 45´ of north latitude and
107° and 113° west longitude from Paris. The river Cañas divides it from
Jalisco, and the Mayo from Sonora. Its length from south-east to
north-west is about 180 leagues, and its breadth in the centre 50 to 56
leagues. This State is partly mountainous and partly level coast land.
On the east it lies on the limits of the Cordilleras of Mexico. The
levels begin in the west near the boundaries of Jalisco, and stretch out
their broad sand-wastes to the town of Alamos and the river Mayo, until
they are lost in the State of Sonora. This region is scorched with a
blazing sun, and is of course but thinly peopled and little cultivated.
Near the city of Alamos a more genial country begins. The central and
eastern parts of Sinaloa are rich in table lands and values, while the
slopes of the mountains are thickly wooded. In the interior the rains
are not heavy nor the warmth intense. A mild and genial air prevails
during the whole year; but on the coast the heat is excessive, and all
who are able escape from it into the interior.

The State of Sinaloa is divided into three departments:--

1st. The department _del Fuerte_, with three cantons, viz: Fuerte,
Alamos and Sinaloa.

2d. The department of _Culiacan_, with two cantons, viz: Culiacan and

3d. The department of _San Sebastian_, with three cantons, viz:
Sebastian, Rosario and Piastla.

The principal streams and rivers of this State are those of las Cañas,
or Rio de Bayóna, the boundary line in the direction of Jalisco; the
Rosario, and the coast streams of Mazatlan, Piastla, Elota and Tavala.
There are besides these the Culiacan or Sacuda, Imaya, Mocorito, Ocroni,
del Fuerte and Mayo.

The Indians belong to various tribes. The Coras, Nayarites, and
Hueicolhues are found in the south; north of these dwell the Sinaloas,
Cochitas and Tubares; and still further north, on the streams of the
Ocroni, Ahomé, del Fuerte and Mayo, we find some tribes of Guasáres,
Ahomes and Ocronis. The Mayos inhabit chiefly the regions west and
north-west of the town of Alamos.

The white inhabitants of this State are chiefly descendants of emigrants
from Biscay and Catalonia in Spain.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sinaloa is regarded as a productive State, and yields good crops of
grain in the portions which are easily irrigated. Wheat, Indian corn and
barley, together with some cotton, sugar and tobacco, are cultivated
successfully; whilst all sorts of fruits and vegetables are found in

The principal towns are Mazatlan, a port with anchorage on the west
coast, which is much visited by European and American vessels, and has
been the seat of a very large smuggling trade in which the wares of
India and of northern nations were exchanged for the precious metals of
Mexico, her grain and skins.

Asilos del Rosario and the Villa de San Sebastian lie in the department
of San Sebastian. San Ignacio de Piastla is the capital of a canton.
Culiacan lies in the department of Culiacan. Sinaloa or Villa de San
Felipe y Santiago de Sinaloa, the Villa del Fuerte or Montesclaros, and
Alamos, are the other towns of note in this State.

Sinaloa is rich in metallic deposits of base and precious metals, the
chief of which are found at Asilos de Rosario, Cosala, Copala, Alamos,
and San José de los Mulatos.


Sonora bounds eastwardly on Chihuahua and New Mexico; southwardly on
Sinaloa; and westwardly on the Gulf of California for 238 leagues
between the mouths of the Mayo and the Colorado. Its northern boundary
is now the line which divides the Republic of Mexico from the
Californian possessions of the United States.

The western and southern portions of Sonora are generally flat. In the
south, between the rivers Mayo and Yaqui and the Presidio of Buena
Vista, there is a fruitful region, whose productiveness is enhanced by
a number of small lakes formed during the rainy season on the levels,
which are used by the careful agriculturists for the irrigation of their
farms. On the eastern boundary of the State, the ridges of the
Cordillera begin to rise, until they tower into the massive mountains
which form the Sierra Madre, among the spurs of which many valuable
metallic deposits have been discovered. The fine and productive vallies
of Bavispe, Oposura, Sonora and Dolores are found in the neighborhood of
this mountain country.

Sonora is divided into two Departments:

1st. The Department of Arispe, with three cantons, viz: Arispe, Oposura
and Altar.

2nd. The Department of Horcasitas, with three cantons, viz: Horcasitas,
Ostimuri, and Petic.

The chief rivers are the Mayo, the boundary in the direction of Sinaloa;
the Yaqui or Hiaqui; the Rio Grande de Bavispe; Oposura; Sonora;
Dolores; Guayamas; Rio de la Ascencion; San Ignacio; Gila; San Francisco
or Rio Azul; San Pedro; Santa Maria and the Rio Colorado.

The climate of Sonora is warm throughout the year; but the early spring
is subject to remarkable and rapid changes of temperature, and to sudden
variations of wind between the north and east. From April to the end of
September the thermometer ranges between 75° and 84° Fahrenheit.

A large portion of Sonora is occupied by Indian tribes, some of which
are partially agricultural where they have been brought into contact
with the whites; but the greater portion may be regarded as belonging to
the wild nomadic bands which have hitherto harassed the northern
settlements of Mexico. In the eastern part of the State, on the banks of
the Sonora and Oposura, and in the vicinity of the town of Arispe and
the mineral region of Nocasari, we find large numbers of the Opátas.
North of the Ascencion, and stretching far inland from the coast, are
the Pimos Altos, the most northerly bands that have submitted to the
influences of Christianity or of partial civilization. The nomadic
tribes in the north and north-east of the State are Papayos or
Papábi-Otawas, the Yumas, the Cucapas or Cupachas, the Cajuenches, the
Coanópas, the Apaches Tontos, the Cocomaricopas, the Pimo Galenos, the
Apaché Gilenos, Apaché Mimbreños, and Apaché Chiricaguis. Of all these
wild and savage tribes, the Apachés are the most uncontrollable.

The trade of Sonora is chiefly carried on at Guyamas, in latitude 27°
40´ N. and 114° W. longitude from Paris,--one of the best harbors in
West Mexico, in a healthy region, containing about 3,000
inhabitants;--and at Petic, forty leagues north north-east from
Guyamas, in about 29° 20´ of north latitude. The latter town, containing
about 8,000 inhabitants, is the depôt for goods imported through the
port of Guyamas which are designed for the northern districts of Mexico.
Besides these two important places, there are the towns of San Miguel
Horcasitas, with 2,500 inhabitants; Arispe, with 3,000; San José de
Guyamas 350 to 400; Bayoreca; Onabas; Presidio de Buena Vista; El
Aguáge; Ures; Babiacora; Banamitza; Batuc; Matape; Oposura; Presidio de
Bavispe; Presidio de Fronteras; San Ildefonso Cieneguilla; Presidio de
Santa Gertrudis del Altar; Oquitoa; Presidio de la Santa Cruz; Presidio
de Tuscon; and Presidio de Tubac.

The mineral characteristics are similar to those of Sinaloa.


The Territory of Lower California is comprehended in that long
peninsular strip of land which extends from the present southern
boundary of the United States to Cape St. Lucas, and which is washed on
the east by the Gulf of California from the point where the Rio Colorado
debouches into it, and on the west by the waves of the Pacific ocean. It
lies between 32° 31´ 59´´ 58´´´, and Cape St. Lucas, in about 22° 45´ of
north latitude.

The country, generally, is represented to be one of the most
unattractive in the warm or temperate regions. The peninsula, about 700
miles long, varies in breadth from thirty to one hundred miles, its mean
breadth being about fifty. The surface of this region is formed of an
irregular chain of rocks, hills and mountains, which run throughout the
central portion of its whole length, and some of which attain a height
of nearly five thousand feet. Amid these dreary ridges there are
occasionally found a few sheltered spots which, though deluged by the
torrents, have not been swept clear of productive earth, and in these
there is a fertile soil of small extent, yielding a thin but nutritious
grass. There are few streams or springs; trees of magnitude are scarce;
and the heavy showers falling on the central rocky peaks and eminences
are drained on the east and west into the Pacific and Gulf of California
by the sloping sides of the peninsula, so as to bear with them into the
sea a large portion of cultivable soil. In the plains and in most of the
dry beds of rivers, water can be obtained by digging wells only a few
feet deep, and wherever irrigation has been adopted by means of these
wells, the produce of the fields has abundantly rewarded the
agriculturist. Much of the soil is of volcanic origin, being washed from
the mountains, as we have already stated, and its yield, by aid of
irrigation, is alleged to be quite marvellous. It is probable therefore,
notwithstanding the unfavorable aspect of the country as seen by a
casual visiter, that its evil repute is chiefly owing to the indolent
and roving character of the inhabitants, and that in the hands of an
industrious and agricultural people, it would be capable of supporting a
population much more numerous than the present. At an earlier period of
the Territory's history, under the dominion of the missions, when very
small portions of the soil were cultivated, and even those but rudely by
the Indians, the four districts of San José, Santiago, San Antonio and
Todos Santos, contained 35,000 souls, whereas the present population of
the whole peninsula is probably not more than nine or ten thousand.

During the epoch when the missions of California still flourished the
general barrenness of this territory did not subdue the energy of the
priestly fathers, who in the sheltered vallies near the different
mission sites, which were carefully selected, produced Indian corn,
grapes, dates, figs, quinces, peaches, pears and olives. Much of these
fruits was preserved and exported to the opposite coast of Mexico. But
these articles, together with pearls, tortoise-shell, bullocks' hides,
dried beef, soap and cheese constituted the whole product and commerce
of the peninsula. The waters of the gulf were in former days more
valuable to the Californians than the shores. During the sixteenth
century the pearl fishery produced a valuable revenue, and towards its
close, six hundred and ninety-seven pounds of the precious article were
imported into Seville from America; but at the last authentic dates of
twenty years past, the fishery in lower California had dwindled into
utter insignificance. Four vessels and two boats were alone engaged in
it; and the two hundred divers who still searched the bottom of the
coasts in their perilous trade, obtained only eighty-eight ounces of
pearls valued at little more than thirteen thousand dollars.

The pearl fishery seems, however, to have revived somewhat, shortly
anterior to the war with the United States, and a report from one of our
most intelligent officers in the Pacific at that period, states that the
annual exportation of pearls amounted then to between forty and fifty
thousand dollars.

Valuable mines of gold, silver, copper and lead are known to exist in
the peninsula, and although only a few are rudely worked, the labor
expended on them is amply rewarded. The salt mines, on the island of
Carmen, in the Gulf of California, near Loreto, are capable of supplying
the whole coast of Mexico and California. The surface of the lake
producing this valuable mineral is covered with a solid crust several
feet in thickness, which is cut in blocks, like ice, and conveyed to the
beach by convicts under the order of the Governor of Lower California,
who has hitherto enjoyed a monopoly of the trade with Mazatlan and San

The country about La Paz, situated on the east coast, south of the bay
of La Paz, and near the Pichilingue cove, is represented to be valuable
for grazing. Some of the silver mines near San Antonio, about forty
miles south, are productively wrought. Gold dust and virgin gold are
brought to La Paz, and about one hundred thousand dollars of
_platapina_, are exported from it yearly. The whole coast abounds with
fish, clams and oysters. Among the islands of the gulf immense number of
seal are constantly found, and the whaling grounds on the Pacific coast
are of great value. Magdalena bay alone has, at one time, contained as
many as twenty-eight sail, all engaged in this fishery.

The coasts of Lower California are flat, sandy, irregular, and
frequently indented by coves, inlets and bays, while many islands lie
near and border them in the gulf. The climate is regarded as healthful;
the winter is short, and frost and ice are unknown. A pure air and a
deep blue sky surround and span the region; but the heat of summer is
intense, parching the thin soil, and rendering life almost insupportable
in the more exposed regions, or in the narrow and confined glens.

The principal ports visited by merchantmen or whalers on the west or
Pacific coast, are: 1st. That of San Quentin, in latitude 30° 23´, which
is said to afford a secure anchorage for vessels of every description,
and to be sufficient for the accommodation of a numerous fleet; and
2dly, the bay of Magdalena, which has acquired notoriety from being
resorted to every winter by numbers of whalers. It is protected by the
two large islands of San Lazaro and Margareta, and possesses many of the
characteristics of an inland sea, being navigable for the distance of
more than a hundred miles. It has several commodious anchorages. The bay
of San José, near Cape San Lucas, is ordinarily frequented by coasters,
and is sometimes visited by whalers and men-of-war, being the outlet of
a valley, unusually fertile for Lower California, which extends upwards
of forty miles inland, and affords probably the best watering and
provisioning place on the peninsula, though it is a mere roadstead
yielding no protection in the season of south-easters.

On the west coast of the Peninsula, north of Cape San Lucas, and between
that point and the 24th degree of N. latitude are the bays of San
Barnabé and De los Muertos. Between the 24th and 25th degrees is the bay
of La Paz, an extensive indenture, protected towards the gulf by
numerous isles and islets and affording excellent anchorages for vessels
of any draft or any number. In this vicinity are the principal pearl
fisheries as well as the most reputed mining districts. It is the outlet
of the cultivated valley of Todos Santos and of the produce of the whole
region lying between Santiago and Loreto. The cove or _estero_, opposite
the town of La Paz, furnishes spacious and secure anchorage, which may
be reached by vessels drawing not more than eighteen or twenty feet;
while the cove of Pichilingue, at the south-eastern extremity of the
bay, about six miles from the town, affords anchorage for vessels of any
size; but the inner bay can be reached only by merchantmen. The bar,
however, between the two is only a few yards in extent; and if the
importance of the place should ever justify it, the channel might be
deepened without much expensive labor. There is an anchorage at Loreto
at about 26° north, and there are several places of resort and anchorage
in the bay of Mulejé, between 26° and 27°, but none are deemed secure
for large or small craft at any season. Several other ports are found on
the gulf further north, which are visited occasionally by coasters, but
the region is as yet quite unexplored, and their commercial or military
value is of course unknown. Beyond the bay of Mulejé, which is nearly
opposite the Mexican port of Guyamas on the main continent, the gulf is
so much narrower than further south, that it becomes in a great degree a
harbor itself.

The only towns of any importance on the peninsula are those of Loreto,
and La Paz the capital and seat of government. The population is of
course chiefly an Indian and mixed race, for but few whites were ever
tempted to prolong their residence in this lonely and unattractive


This State was created by virtue of the fourth article of the Acta de
Reformas, passed on the 18th of May, 1847, amending the constitution of
1847. By this article it was agreed that the STATE OF GUERRERO should be
formed of the districts of Acapulco, Chilapa, Tasco and Tlapa, and the
municipality of Coyucan,--the three first of which belonged to the
State of Mexico, the fourth to Puebla, and the fifth to
Mechoacan--provided the legislatures of these three States gave their
consent, within three months.

It is understood that this consent was yielded, but as the organization
of the new State has not been received, no elucidation of the geography
of the region can be given except in the descriptions of the three
original States whose districts were surrendered, and to which the
reader is referred in the preceding pages.






The State of Queretaro, one of the smallest members of the Republic, is
situated between 19° 35´ 42´´ 7´´´ and 21° 17´ 16´´ 45´´´ of north
latitude. By trigonometrical surveys made in 1837, the State was found
to contain 869 square leagues, which were divided between the six
districts as follows:

  1 District of Querétaro           157 square leagues.
  2     "       San Juan del Rio    128       "
  3     "       Cadereyta           115-1/4   "
  4     "       Toliman             114-3/4   "
  5     "       Jalpam              203-1/4   "
  6     "       Amealco             150-3/4
                          Total     869

This State is bounded on the north by the State of San Luis Potosi, west
and south-west by Guanajuato and Mechoacan, south by Mexico, and east by
Mexico and Vera Cruz. It lies entirely on the central plateau of the
Cordillera, and is consequently intersected by numerous mountain spurs
and elevated hills, some of which are entirely bare, while others are
covered with forests of various kinds of wood. The plains are frequently
cut up by deep _barrancas_ or gullies, rivers and streamlets. The
agricultural portions of the State are consequently confined chiefly to
the vallies of San Juan del Rio, Querétaro, Cadereyta, Amealco, Toliman
and Jalpam, in which the soil, enriched by the vegetable products and
debris drained from the

[Illustration: QUERETARO.]

mountain sides, is usually found to be very productive. Querétaro is
generally remarked by travellers for the picturesque character of its
scenery and the beautiful site of its haciendas, cities and ranchos.
Mountainous as is this region, it has no single elevation of remarkable
character in the geography of the republic. In a country thus physically
formed and raised above the sea, important rivers are, of course, not
easily encountered, and although there are fifteen streams which are
dignified by the inhabitants with this title, the only two of importance
are the Tula or Rio de Montezuma, the boundary between the States of
Mexico and Vera Cruz, and the Rio Paté which has cut its deep and stony
bed in the porphyritic rock near San Juan del Rio. The temperature of
the whole region is exceedingly cool and the climate is agreeable and

The population assigned to the State in 1845 was 180,161, classified

  Spaniards, Creoles and Europeans,   36,032
  Indians,                            90,080
  Castes,                             54,049
              Total,                 180,161

Querétaro is divided into six districts, comprising eight _partidos_.

1st. The prefecture of Querétaro, with the _partidos_ of the capital and
of La Cañada; in these two are found the town of San Francisco Galileo,
the villages of Santa Rosa and Huimilpam, and the hamlets of Santa Maria
Magdalena and San Miguel Carillo. 46-1/3 inhabitants to each square

2d. The district of the municipality of San Juan del Rio contains the
village of Tequisquiapam, the hamlets of San Pedrito, San Sebastian, and
the _rancheria_ of La Barranca de los Cocheros. 71 inhabitants to each
square league.

3d. The district of the municipality of Cadeyreta which contains the
mining posts of El Doctor and Maconi, and the villages of San José
Vizarron, San Gaspar, San Sebastian de Brual, and San Miguel Tetillas.
183-2/3 inhabitants to each square league.

4. The district of Santa Maria Amealco, containing the village of
Huimalpam and the hamlets of San José de Ito, San Bartolo, San Miguel
Deti, San Juan de Güedó, San Miguel Tlaxcaltepec, San Pedro Tenango, San
Ildefonso, and Santiago Mexquitlan. 80 inhabitants to each square

5th. The district of San Pedro Tolimán, contains the villages of San
Francisco Tolimanejo, Santa Maria Peñamillera, San Miguel Tolimán, San
Miguel de las Palmas, a mission station, Santo Domingo de Soriano, San
Antonio de Bernal, and the mining post of Rio Blanco. 213 inhabitants to
the square league.

6th. The district of Jalpam, contains three _partidos_ and in these
there are two sub-prefectures, which are Landa and Aguacatlan a mining
post; besides these there are the villages of Concá, Sancillo, Bucareli,
Arroyoseco, Tancoyol and Xilapan; the mining posts of San José de los
Amoles and San Pedro Escanela; and the missions of Tilaco and Pacula. 64
inhabitants to the square league.

The whole State is calculated to contain 124 _haciendas_ or large
plantations, and 392 _ranchos_ or farms, while nearly 30,000 of its
inhabitants are engaged in agricultural pursuits.

The products of the soil are similar to those already described in the
other States on the central plateau. In the valleys some of the tropical
productions are found, but grain and cattle form the staples of the
farmer's care. Very thick forests are seldom found in any part of the
State, and many regions are almost entirely denuded. It will be seen
from our chapter upon the manufactures of Mexico, that Querétaro is
remarkable for the zeal and success with which it has applied itself to
this branch of industry. Most of the woollen fabrics of this State are
made of the Lana de Chinchorro which is produced within its limits, and
is commonly sold at $15 per 100 lbs. Besides this there is a species of
cotton, raised in some of the districts, used in the manufacture of a
favorite kind of mantas, shawls and rebozos. The trade of the State is
carried on chiefly with Mexico, Vera Cruz and San Luis Potosi.

The principal city is that of Querétaro, the capital and seat of
government, lying in 19° 58´ 2´´ 15´´´ N. latitude, and 1° 5´ W.
longitude from the meridian of Mexico, 6,365 feet above the sea. This
fine, picturesque and well built town, containing about 50,000
inhabitants, is situated on the sides and summit of converging hills,
and is divided into several parishes, or _curatos_, some of which are in
the body of the city and others in the suburbs, being separated from the
rest by a scant stream which has been dignified with the title of El
Rio--the river. Querétaro stands nearly 7,000 feet above the level of
the sea, and enjoys a delightful temperature. A noble aqueduct, two
miles in length, with arches ninety feet high, spanning a plain of
meadow land--joins a tunnel from the opposite hills, and supplies the
city with an abundance of excellent water from a distance of two
leagues. It is a magnificent and enduring structure, and the honor of
its erection is due to the taste and judgment of the Marquis de Valero
del Aguila, who caused it to be built at his own cost during his
viceroyal government of Mexico. Querétaro has become interesting in our
history, inasmuch as it was the city in which the treaty of peace
between Mexico and the United States was finally ratified by the Mexican
Congress in 1848.

The other important towns are those of San Juan del Rio, San Pedro de la
Cañada, and Cadereyta.

The chief mining district, and the only one of any note in the State, is
that of _El Doctor_, in the district of Cadereyta. Its principal veins
are those of El Doctor and San Cristoval; but famous as they once were,
they are now of but little importance. The quicksilver mine of San
Onófre, in the same region, is also failing.

The mining districts of El Doctor, Rio Blanco, Maconi and Escanelella,
contain 216 mines--divided as follows: five of gold; 193 of silver; 7 of
copper; 1 of lead; 1 of tin; 6 of quicksilver; 2 of antimony; 1 of


The State of Guanajuato is comprehended between 20° and 21° 49´ of north
latitude, and 0° 31´ 05´´ and 2° 51´ of longitude west from the meridian
of Mexico, and is situated upon the grand Mexican Cordillera. It is
bounded on the north by the State of San Luis Potosi, on the south by
Mechoacan, on the east by Querétaro, and on the west by Jalisco and
Zacatecas. Its superficial extent is 1,545 Mexican leagues of 26-1/2 to
the degree. With the exception of the State of Querétaro, Guanajuato is
the smallest of the Republic, yet it contains, comparatively, the
greatest number of inhabitants, as will be seen hereafter.

Large portions of the soil of Guanajuato are fertile; especially the
magnificent and productive plains of the Bajio, in the southern part of
the State, which extend for more than 34 leagues from Apasco to beyond
Leon;--and, in the north, where the splendid plains or Llanos of San
Félipe spread far and wide.

All the _Sierra_ of Santa Rosa forms a chain of porphyritic mountains
and elevations of greater or less elevation, which pass under the
general name of _Cerros_. The highest of these, two leagues, north of
the capital is known as the Cerro de los Llanitos. It rises to the
height of 3,359 _varas_ above the level of the sea, and is the loftiest
in the State. Besides these, there are the _Cerros_ del Gigante, El
Cubilete, La Bufa, La Garrida, La Beata and San Juan de Mendoza.

The river Lerma, anciently known as Tolotlan, and commonly designated in
Guanajuato as the _Rio Grande_, is the only one which really merits
this name in the State, and crosses the southern portion of it for near
35 leagues. The river Laja and the river Turbio are of less consequence;
and all the other streams, though generally known among the people of
these districts by the dignified title of _rivers_, scarcely merit a
higher position among the fluvial characteristics of the State than
brooks or mountain torrents, which only obtain real consideration when
they are swollen by heavy rains.

The lake of Yurirapúndaro, is the only one which belongs to this
State;--it is four leagues long by one and a half in width, and embosoms
several islands. Its sweet waters are filled with small fish, which are
taken daily by the Indians, for the markets of the neighborhood and the
capital, but its actual depth is unknown.

The climate of Guanajuato is genial, its sky nearly always clear, and
its atmosphere pure. Owing to its site, immediately north of the torrid
zone, the inhabitants do not suffer the extremes of heat or cold.
Elevated about 8,000 feet above the level of the sea, its rarefied
atmosphere counteracts the direct rays of the sun, so that its mean
temperature is 21° of the centigrade thermometer, whilst it never
exceeds 28° in the months between April and June, which are generally
reckoned the warmest in this part of the Republic. During this season
the rain usually begins to fall, and lowers the temperature agreeably.
The north wind prevails during the greater part of the year; yet near
the period of the annual rains it changes for a while to the south,
bringing with it an abundance of moist vapor to fertilize the soil.
Nothing is sadder for the people of Guanajuato and the adjacent States
than to find, as sometimes happens, the months passing without this
customary change of wind. In such years the crops fail; the prices of
grain consequently rise, and the poor classes suffer extremely. The year
1786, is known in the annals of this region, as one well remembered
still for the famine that prevailed in consequence of a severe frost
that occurred on the 28th of the preceding August, blighting the
prospects of the farmer, and carrying off 8,000 victims in the capital
and the adjacent mines alone. In the month of May agriculture often
suffers from violent hail storms that prostrate the young grain which at
this season of the year is usually extremely dry in consequence of the
early heats and the want of irrigation.

The mild and pure climate of Guanajuato renders it a healthy residence.
In its southern part, about Salvatierra and Yurirapúndaro, intermittent
fevers, called _los frios_, or agues, occasionally prevail. Dropsy,
rheumatism, common lever, and dysenteries, which usually sweep off large
numbers of Mexicans, are milder and more

[Illustration: GUANAJUATO.]

easily treated in this region than in other portions of the Republic.
The laborers in the mines formerly suffered from diseases of the chest,
arising probably from the mephitic vapors which were confined in the
badly ventilated galleries; but the Deputacion de la Mineria took this
subject into consideration, and have forced the owners of mines by
stringent laws to construct shafts and openings by which these buried
workmen may receive continual supplies of fresh air.

Maize, wheat, frijoles, beans, and the common cereal grains are produced
abundantly in the fertile plains of the Bajio and San Felipé. Corn,
though the chief product for consumption, not only for man but for
beasts, is often so abundant, that the farmers are obliged to export it
to other States. The quality of the wheat of this State is so excellent,
that when it will bear the cost of transportation, it is sent to the
national capital, where it commands a better price than even the grain
raised in the immediate vicinity of the city. The _frijol_,--a fine
dark, nutritious bean, which is commonly used throughout Mexico, by all
classes, from the highest to the lowest,--grows abundantly in
Guanajuato. The Chile pepper is used in Mexico, not only as a seasoning
for food as in other countries, but as an aliment of life, which is
placed on tables of all ranks at dinner. It is consumed both in its
green and dry states, and in the latter, it is exported from Guanajuato
to the capital, where the product of the haciendas or plantations at
Apaseo are preferred by the epicures as being of the best flavor in the
Republic. The vine, is also cultivated in various parts of this State,
especially at Dolores Hidalgo, Celaya, and Chamacuero, but as
manufactories of wine have not been established, its culture does not
extend beyond the quantity of grapes required for consumption in the
markets. The potato does not flourish in this State.

It is believed that the olive may be advantageously reared in
Guanajuato. At the beginning of the present century, Joaquin Gutierrez
de los Rios made the experiment at his _hacienda_ de Sarabia, within the
district of Salamanca. The scarcity and dearness of oil in Spain, at
that period, in consequence of the war, enabled the mill established by
this person to supply the neighborhood with the article at such prices,
that the lucky proprietor realized a large income from his enterprize.
But during the insurrection in 1810, his property was destroyed, and
with it, a large part of his olive plantation. At present, considerable
plantations are making at several haciendas, especially at that of
Mendoza, where 30,000 olive trees had been already planted in 1849.

The State of Guanajuato is divided into four departments or
prefectures:--1st. San Miguel de Allende; 2d. Leon; 3d. Guanajuato; 4th
Celaya; whose capitals or chief towns bear the same names. The
possession by this State of the great and celebrated _Veta Madre_ which
passes nearly through its centre, and of the wide and prolific plains of
the Bajio and of San Felipé renders it equally valuable as a mining and
agricultural region, and divides it fairly between the two branches of
industry. Its population may be estimated at about 560,000; twenty-five
per cent. of which comprises the whites, thirty-six per cent. the mixed
races, and thirty-nine per cent. the Indian. Guanajuato contains three
cities, four market-towns, thirty-seven villages, and four hundred and
fifty estates, plantations and farms.

The capital of the State is the city of GUANAJUATO, or Santa Fé de
Guanajuato, situated in 21° 0´ 15´´ north latitude and 103° 15´ west
longitude from Paris, about 6,869 feet above the level of the sea,
according to the measurement of Burkhart, and containing between 35,000
and 40,000 inhabitants. The town is perhaps the most curiously
picturesque and remarkable in the republic. "Entering a rocky Cañada,"
says a recent traveller, "the bottom of which barely affords room for a
road, you pass between high adobe walls, above which, up the steep, rise
tier above tier of blank, windowless, sun-dried houses, looking as if
they had grown out of the earth. You would take them to be a sort of
cubic crystallization of the soil. Every corner of the windings of the
road is filled with buildings of mining companies--huge fortresses of
stone, ramparted as if for defence. The scene varies with every
moment;--now you look up to a church with purple dome and painted
towers; now the blank adobe walls, with here and there a spiry cypress
or graceful palm between them, rise far above you, along the steep
ledges of the mountain; and again the mountain itself, with its waste of
rock and cactus, is all you see. The Cañada, finally seems to close. A
precipice of rock, out of a rift in which the stream flows, shuts the
passage. Ascending this by a twist in the road you are in the heart of
the city. Lying partly in the narrow bed of the ravine and partly on its
sides and in its lateral branches, it is only by mounting to some higher
eminence that one can realize its extent and position. At the further
end of the city the mountains form a _cul de sac_. The Cañada is a blind
passage which can only be left by the road you came. The streets are
narrow, crooked, and run up and down in all directions, and there is no
room for plazas or alamedas. A little triangular space in front of the
cathedral, however, aspires to the former title." Such is the aspect of
a city which is the focus of a mineral region surrounded by more than
one hundred mines, which are wrought by seventy-five thousand laborers.

In spite of all the natural difficulties and impediments for fine
architecture, Guanajuato contains some fine edifices, especially among
the private residences of the wealthy miners, such as the families of
Otero, Valenciana, Rhul and Perez Galvez. The church of the Jesuits was
built by the Marquis Rayas. Besides the cathedral, the town contains two
chapels, three monasteries, five convents, a college, a Bethlehemite
hospital, a theatre, a barrack, a mint, an university, and a gymnasium.

The VILLA DE LEON, is a market town west north-west from Guanajuato, in
21° 6´ 38´´ north latitude, and 103° 39´ west longitude, 6,004 feet
above the sea, in the productive plain of Leon.

SAN FELIPÉ is another market town, 32 leagues north of Guanajuato, on
the road to San Luis Potosi, 6,906 feet above the sea. Ten leagues
north-east from San Felipé is the valuable estate of Jaral, the property
of the Marquis del Jaral, the wealthiest and largest land owner in
Mexico. His stock of cattle, comprising horses, mules, horned-cattle,
sheep and goats amounts to nearly three million head![66] Thirty
thousand sheep alone, and as many goats, are annually slaughtered on
this estate for the markets of Guanajuato and Mexico, where the sheep
sell for from two and a half to three dollars a piece, and the goats
from seventy-five cents to one dollar each!

CELAYA is a city, and next in importance to Guanajuato in the State. It
lies in 20° 38´ north latitude, and 102° 52´ west longitude, near the
boundary of Querétaro, 6,020 feet above the sea, and contains about
15,000 inhabitants.

SALAMANCA is a market town in the Bajio, nine leagues west from Celaya,
and is the chief place of a region possessing twenty-nine haciendas, or
plantation estates, and sixty-nine valuable farms. Its population is
estimated at 15,000. Irapuato, lies about six leagues north-west from
Salamanca, and contains perhaps an equal number of inhabitants.

SAN MIGUEL ALLENDE, formerly _San Miguel el Grande_, is the capital of
the department of that name, lies directly north of Celaya, on the river
de la Laja, where it cuts the division between the two departments.
Dolores Hidalgo is on the same stream, north-west of the last town, and
is remarkable in the annals of the country as the residence of the
priest Hidalgo, under whose auspices the revolutionary movement against
Spain originated.

The mineral products of this State have been and still continue very
valuable. The chief silver mines are those of Guanajuato, Villalpando,
Monte de San Nicolas, Santa Rosa, Santa Anna, S. Antonio de las Minas,
Comanja, El Capulin, Comangilla, San Luis de la Paz, San Rafael de los
Lobos, El Duranzo, San Juan de la Chica, Rincon de Zenteno, San Pedro de
los Pozos, El Palmar de la Viga, San Miguel y San Felipé. All these
mines and mineral districts recognize the jurisdiction of the Deputacion
de Mineria de Guanajuato, although some of them lie out of the immediate
boundaries of the State.

Besides the silver yielded at these places, copper and iron are produced
by some of them; and at El Gigante cinnabar has been discovered
disseminated among other substances. Lead is taken abundantly from the
mine of La Targea; but the mining operations of the State are chiefly
confined to silver.

In the southern part of the State large quantities of soda are found
near Celaya, Salamanca and Valle de Santiago; and in the north, in the
vicinity of San Felipé, the earth is impregnated, in many places, with
nitrate of potash or nitre. Mineral waters and thermal springs exist on
the southern slope of the Cerro del Cubilete, near Silao, and are used
by invalids; while in the jurisdictions of Leon, near Irapuato or San
Miguel Allende and Celaya, other warm and sulphur springs are found
which are beneficially frequented by persons who suffer from rheumatism
and cutaneous diseases.


This rich metallic region and State lies between the 21st and 25th
degrees of north latitude and 102-1/2 and 105-1/2 west longitude from
Paris. It is bounded on the north by Durango and Nuevo Leon on the east
by San Luis Potosi; on the south-east by Guanajuato; and on the west and
south-west by Jalisco. Its greatest breadth, from Sombrereté to Real del
Ramos, in the State of San Luis, is fifty-seven leagues, and its extreme
length is 90. The superficial area of the State is reckoned at 2,355
square leagues.

Zacatécas is a mountain country of the high plateau of Mexico, cut up by
spurs of the Cordillera and inhospitably arid. The region between
Catorcé in San Luis Potosi, and Sombrereté and Mazapil in Zacatécas is a
broad plain, interspersed by a few

[Illustration: ZACATECAS.]

swelling knolls, and an occasional group of hills or small mountains.
The agricultural productions are of course suitable to such a geological
structure; but in the _Haciendas de Ganado_, or cattle farms, immense
herds are constantly raised by the thrifty vaqueros of this region. As
the country is unusually dry, water tanks, _algibes_, and _norias_ are
established on all the estates, and are watched with the greatest care.
There is no river of any note whatever in Zacatécas. The Arroyo de
Zacatécas, the Rio Xeres, the Rio Perfido, del Maguey, and Bañuelos, are
but slender streams.

Zacatécas is divided into eleven partidos or districts. 1st. Zacatécas,
2d Aguas Calientes, 3d Sombrereté, 4th Tlaltenango, 5th Villa Nueva, 6th
Fresnillo, 7th Xeres, 8th Mazapil, 9th Piños, 10th Nieves, and 11th
Juchipila; possessing in all 3 cities, 5 market towns, 34 villages and
mining works, 139 agricultural and cattle farms, 562 smaller similar
establishments, 683 ranchos, 11 convents for monks, 4 for nuns, and four
hospitals. The population has been calculated at about 350,000; and it
is remarkable that, according to reliable statistical data, 14,937 more
individuals were born than died in this State during the year 1830.

  Births,{males,   14,709 Deaths  {males,   7,012    Births, 28,795
         {females, 14,086         {females, 6,846    Deaths, 13,858
                   -----                   ------           -------
                   28,795                  13,858  Increase, 14,937

The most valuable agricultural district lies in the district of Aguas
Calientes. The best cultivation begins at the _hacienda_ of San Jacinto,
12 leagues from the town of Zacatécas, and in this region it is reckoned
that the farmers annually gather from their harvests, 140,952 fanegas of
Corn (of 150 lbs.); 4,719 cargas (of 300 lbs.) of wheat; 7,293 fanegas
of frijoles or beans, and 4,291 arróbas (of 25 lbs. each,) of chile.

The mainspring of the wealth of Zacatécas is its mineral production. The
vein of the Veta Negra of Sombrereté has been the most productive in the
new or old world. El Pavellon, La Veta Grande, San Bernabé, and the
isolated hill of Proaño at Fresnillo constantly yielded in former times
the most extraordinary results for the labor bestowed in working them.
Their present value may be estimated from the chapter on Mines in the
preceding book.

The chief cities, towns and villages of this State are the capital,
ZACATÉCAS, containing from 25,000 to 30,000 inhabitants. It lies in 22°
47´ 19´´ of north latitude and 164° 47´ 41´´ west longitude, at an
elevation of 7,976 feet.

The town itself is not visible until the traveller approaches within a
mile and a half, when it is seen below following the turns of a deep
barranca or ravine, of which the mountain of _la Bufa_, with a chapel on
its crest, forms one side. The streets are narrow and dirty, and swarm
with uncleanly children, whose appearance, like that of their squalid
parents, is by no means prepossessing. But the distant view of the city
is picturesque from the number of religious edifices which rise above
the roofs of the other buildings. In the vicinity of the _plaza_ there
are some fine houses, and the market place presents a curious and busy
provincial scene.

AGUAS CALIENTES is situated upon the banks of a stream of the same name,
in a broad and rich valley, at the distance of 25 leagues south of
Zacatécas. The neighborhood is famous for its warm thermal springs; the
chief of which, El Baño de la Cantera, lies a league south-west of the
town. Aguas Calientes contains several thousand inhabitants and is
celebrated for its woollen manufactories, among which the one belonging
to the family of Pimentel employed about 350 men and women at its looms.

FRESNILLO is a mining town, and capital of its district, 14 leagues
north-west from Zacatécas, in the wide plain which divides the mountains
of Santa Cruz and Organos from the mountain ranges about Zacatécas. It
lies at the foot of the isolated knoll of Proaño, in which its mines are
situated. The neighborhood of the town is pretty, but the region which
intervenes between it and Sombrereté is a waste and sterile moorland.

SOMBRERETÉ is a mining town, and capital of its district, 25 leagues
north-westward of Fresnillo, lying at the foot of the mountain of
Sombreretillo, or "little hat," whose name is derived from a singular
formation of rock on its summit which resembles that article of dress.
In its vicinity are the once renowned and rich mines of La Veta Negra
and El Pavellon.

Upon the table lands between Sombrereté, Fresnillo, and Catorcé, in the
State of San Luis, are several towns or villages deserving of notice,
and the _hacienda_ of Sierra Hermosa, a cattle estate, which is one of
the most remarkable in the Republic for its extent and production. It
covers an area of 262 _sitios_ or square leagues, and supports immense
herds of horned cattle, horses, mules, goats and sheep. The latter,
alone, are estimated at 200,000 head, about 30,000 of which are annually
disposed of. The wool yielded by these animals amounts to from 4,000 to
5,000 arrobas yearly.

The other towns and villages of note are ASIENTOS DE IBARRA, Xeres,
Villanueva, Mazapil.

[Illustration: RUINS OF QUEMADA.]

The Sierra de Piños, Chalchiguitéc, Los Angelos, Plateros, and other
metallic deposits were formerly celebrated for their productive value;
but they are now either partially or entirely abandoned.

We may deduce some interesting statistical information from the labors
of Berghes in regard to the mineral wealth of Zacatécas and the
productiveness of its mines. According to the tables of this writer,
published in 1834, it appears that from the year

  1548 to 1810 the mines of this region produced $588,041,956
  1810 to 1818       "             "        "      20,060,363
  1818 to 1825       "             "        "      17,912,475
  1825 to 1832       "             "        "      30,028,540

These rates gave an annual mean product, from

  1548 to 1810          "      "     "         of $2,244,434
  1810 to 1818          "      "     "         "   2,507,545
  1818 to 1825          "      "     "         "   2,558,925
  1825 to 1832          "      "     "         "   4,003,128

It will be seen by reference to our table on page 88 of this volume,
that the value of the products of Zacatécas in the ten years from 1835
to 1844, was $43,384,215; giving a mean annual rate of $4,338,421, and
exhibiting the important fact, in spite of revolutionary troubles and
consequent social, commercial and industrial disorganization, that the
mineral yield of this region, instead of diminishing, has steadily
_increased_ with every year. In 1845, the _Mint_ in Zacatécas issued

       *       *       *       *       *

The State of Zacatécas contains some remarkable remains of Indian
architecture on the CERRO DE LOS EDIFICIOS, situated two leagues
northerly from the village of Villanueva, twelve leagues south-west from
Zacatécas, and about one league north of La Quemada, at an elevation of
7,406 feet above the sea.


"We set out," says Captain Lyon, in a volume of his travels in Mexico,
"on our expedition to the Cerro de los Edificios under the guidance of
an old ranchero, and soon arrived at the foot of the abrupt and steep
rock on which the buildings are situated. Here we perceived two ruined
heaps of stones, flanking the entrance to the causeway, ninety-three
feet broad, commencing at four hundred feet from the cliff.

"A space of about six acres had been enclosed by a broad wall, the
foundations of which are still visible, running first to the south and
afterwards to the east. Off its south-western angle stands a high mass
of stones which flanks the causeway. In outward appearance it is of a
pyramidal form, owing to the quantities of stones piled against it
either by design or by its own ruin; but on close examination its figure
could be traced by the remains of solid walls to have been a square of
thirty-one feet by the same height: the heap immediately opposite is
lower and more scattered, but, in all probability, formerly resembled
it. Hence the grand causeway runs to the north-east till it reaches the
ascent of the cliff, which, as I have already observed, is about four
hundred yards distant. Here again are found two masses of ruins, in
which may be traced the same construction as that before described; and
it is not improbable that these two towers guarded the entrance to the
citadel. In the centre of the causeway, which is raised about a foot and
has its rough pavement uninjured, is a large heap of stones, as if the
remains of some altar, round which we can trace, notwithstanding the
accumulation of earth and vegetation, the paved border of flat slabs
arranged in the figure of a six rayed star.

"We did not enter the city by the principal road, but led our horses
with some difficulty up the steep mass formed by the ruins of a
defensive wall, inclosing a quadrangle two hundred and forty feet by two
hundred, which to the east, is sheltered by a strong wall of unhewn
stones, eight feet in thickness and eighteen in height. A raised terrace
of twenty feet in width passes round the northern and eastern sides of
this space, and on its south-east corner is yet standing a round pillar
of rough stones, of the same height as the wall, and nineteen feet in

"There appear to have been five other pillars on the east, and four on
the northern terrace; and as the vein of the plain which lies to the
south and west is very extensive, I am inclined to believe that the
square has always been open in these directions. Adjoining to this we
entered by the eastern side to another quadrangle, surrounded by perfect
walls of the same height and thickness as the former one, and measuring
one hundred and thirty-four feet by one hundred and thirty-seven. In
this were yet standing fourteen very well constructed pillars, of equal
dimensions with that in the adjoining enclosure, and arranged four in
length and three in breadth of the quadrangle, from which, on every
side, they separated a space of twenty-three feet in width, probably a
pavement of a portico of which they once supported the roof. In their
construction, as well as that of all the walls which we saw, a common
clay having straw mixed with it has been used. Rich grass was growing
in the spacious court where Aztec monarchs may once have feasted; and
our cattle were so delighted with it that we left them to graze while we
walked about three hundred yards to the northward, over a very wide
parapet, and reached a perfect, square, flat-topped pyramid of large
unhewn stones. It was standing unattached to any other buildings, at the
foot of the eastern brow of the mountain which rises abruptly behind it.
On the eastern face is a platform of twenty-eight feet in width, faced
by a parapet wall of fifteen feet, and from the base of this extends a
second platform with a parapet like the former, and one hundred and
eighteen feet wide. These form the outer defensive boundary of the
mountain, which from its figure has materially favored its construction.
There is every reason to believe that this eastern face must have been
of great importance. A slightly raised and paved causeway descends
across the valley, in the direction of the rising sun, and being
continued on the opposite side of a stream which flows through it, can
be traced up the mountains at two miles distant, till it terminates at
the base of an immense stone edifice which probably may also have been a
pyramid. Although a stream (Rio del Partido) runs meandering through the
plain from the northward, about midway between the two elevated
buildings. I can scarcely imagine that the causeway should have been
formed for the purpose of bringing water to the city, which is far more
easy of access than in many other directions much nearer to the river,
but must have been constructed for important purposes between the two
places in question; and it is not improbable once formed the street
between the frail huts of the poorer inhabitants. The base of the large
pyramid measured fifty feet, and I ascertained by ascending with a line
that its height was precisely the same. Its flat top was covered with
earth and a little vegetation: and our guide asserted, although he knew
not where he obtained the information, that it was once surmounted by a
statue. Off the south-east corner of this building, and about fifteen
yards distant, is to be seen the edge of a circle of stones about eight
feet in diameter, enclosing as far as we could judge by scraping away
the soil, a bowl-shaped pit, in which the action of fire was plainly
observable; and the earth from which we picked some pieces of pottery,
was evidently darkened by an admixture of soot and ashes. At the
distance of one hundred yards south-west of the large pyramid is a small
one, twelve feet square, and much injured. This is situated on somewhat
higher ground, in the steep part of the ascent to the mountain's brow.
On its eastern face, which is towards the declivity, the height is
eighteen feet; and apparently there have been steps by which to ascend
to a quadrangular space, having a broad terrace around it, and extending
east one hundred feet by a width of fifty. In the centre of this
enclosure is another bowl-shaped pit, somewhat wider than the first.
Hence we began our ascent to the upper works, over a well buttressed yet
ruined wall built of the rock. Its height on the steepest side is
twenty-one feet, and the width on the summit, which is level, with an
extensive platform, is the same. This is a double wall of ten feet,
having been first constructed and then covered with a very smooth kind
of cement, after which the second has been built against it. The
platform, (which faces to the south, and may, to a certain extent, be
considered as a ledge from the cliff,) is eighty-nine feet by
seventy-two; and on its northern centre stand the ruins of a square
building, having within it an open space of ten feet by eight, and of
the same depth. In the middle of the quadrangle is to be seen a mound of
stones eight feet high. A little farther on we entered by a broad
opening between the perfect and massive walls, to a square of one
hundred and fifty feet. This space was surrounded on the south-east and
west by an elevated terrace of three feet by twelve in breadth, having
in the centre of each side steps by which to descend to the square. Each
terrace was backed by a wall of twenty-eight feet by eight or nine. From
the south are two broad entrances, and on the east is one of thirty
feet, communicating with a perfect enclosed square of one hundred feet,
while on the west is one small opening, leading to an artificial cave or
dungeon, of which I shall presently speak.

"To the north, the square is bounded by the steep mountain; and, in the
centre of that side, stands a pyramid of seven ledges or stages, which
in many places are quite perfect. It is flat topped, has four sides, and
measures at the base thirty-eight by thirty-five feet, while in height
it is nineteen. Immediately behind this, and on all that portion of the
hill that presents itself to the square, are numerous tiers of seats
either broken in the rock or built of rough stones. In the centre of the
square, and due south of the pyramid, is a small quadrangular building,
seven feet by five in height. The summit is imperfect, but has
unquestionably been an altar; and from the whole character of the space
in which it stands, the peculiar form of the pyramid, the surrounding
terrace, and the seats or steps on the mountain, there can be little
doubt that this has been the grand Hall of Sacrifice or Assembly, or
perhaps both.

"Passing to the westward, we next saw some narrow enclosed spaces,
apparently portions of an aqueduct leading from some tanks on the
summit of the mountain, and then we were shown to the mouth of the cave,
or subterraneous passage, of which so many suspicious stories are yet
told and believed. One of the principal objects of our expedition had
been to enter this place, which none of the natives had ever ventured to
do, and we came provided with torches accordingly: unfortunately
however, the mouth had very recently fallen in, and we could merely see
that it was a narrow, well built entrance, bearing in many places the
remains of good smooth plastering. A large beam of cedar once supported
the roof, but its removal by the country people had caused the
dilapidation which we now observed. Mr. Sindal, in knocking out some
pieces of regularly burnt brick, soon brought a ruin upon his head, but
escaped without injury; and this accident caused a thick cloud of yellow
dust to fall, which, on issuing from the cave, assumed a bright
appearance under the full glare of the sun;--an effect not lost on the
natives, who became more than ever persuaded that an immense treasure
lay hidden in that mysterious place. The general opinion of those who
remember the excavation is that it is very deep; and from many
circumstances there is a probability of its having been a place of
confinement for victims. Its vicinity to the great hall, in which there
can be little doubt that the sanguinary rites were held, is one argument
in favor of this supposition; but there is another equally
forcible;--its immediate proximity to a cliff of about one hundred and
fifty feet, down which the bodies of victims may have been precipitated,
as was the custom at the inhuman sacrifices of the Aztecs.[67] A road or
causeway to be noticed in another place, terminates at the foot of the
precipice, exactly beneath the cave and over-hanging rock, and
conjecture can form no other idea of its intended utility, unless as
being in some manner connected with the dungeon.

"Hence we ascend to a variety of buildings, all constructed with the
same regard to strength, and inclosing spaces on far too large a scale
for the abode of common people. On the extreme ridge of the mountain
were several tolerably perfect tanks.

"In a subsequent visit to this extraordinary place, I saw some buildings
which had at first escaped my notice. These were situated on the summit
of a rock terminating the ridge, and about a mile and a half north
north-west of the citadel.

"The first is a building originally eighteen feet square, but having
the addition of sloping walls to give it a pyramidal form. It is flat
topped, and on the centre of its southern face there appears to have
been steps to ascend to its summit. The second is a square altar, its
height and base being each about sixteen feet. These buildings are
surrounded at no great distance by a strong wall, and at a quarter of a
mile to the northward, advantage is taken of a precipice to construct
another wall of twelve feet in width from its brink. On a small flat
space between this and the pyramid are the remains of an open square
edifice, to the southward of which are two long mounds of stone, each
extending about thirty feet; and to the north-east is another ruin,
having large steps up its side. I should conceive the highest wall of
the citadel to be three hundred feet above the plain, and the base rock
surmounts it by about thirty feet more.

"The whole place in fact, from its isolated situation, the disposition
of its defensive walls, and the favorable figure of the rock must have
been impregnable to Indians; and even European troops would have found
great difficulty in ascending those works which we have ventured to name
the Citadel. There is no doubt that the greater mass of the nation who
once dwelt here must have been established on the plain beneath, since
from the summit of the rock we could distinctly trace three straight and
very extensive causeways diverging from that over which we first passed.
The most remarkable of these roads runs south-west for two miles, is
forty-six feet in width, and crossing the grand causeway is continued to
the foot of the cliff immediately beneath the cave which I have
described. Its more distant extreme is terminated by a high and long
artificial mound immediately beyond the river toward the hacienda of La
Quemada. We could trace the second road south and south-west to a small
rancho named Cayotl, about four miles distant, and the third ran
south-west by south still farther, ceasing, as the country people
informed us, at a mountain six miles distant. All these roads have been
slightly raised, were paved with rough stones, still visible in many
places above the grass, and were perfectly straight.

"From the flatness of the fine plain over which they extended, I cannot
conceive them to have been constructed as paths, since the people who
walked barefoot and used no beasts of burden, must naturally have
preferred the smooth earthen foot-ways which presented themselves on
every side, to these roughly paved roads. If this be admitted, it is not
difficult to suppose that they were the centres of streets whose huts
constructed of the same kind of frail materials as those of the present
day, must long since have disappeared. Many places on the plain are
thickly strewn with stones which may once have formed materials for the
town; and around the cattle farms there are extensive modern walls
which, not improbably, were constructed from the nearest street. At all
events, whatever end these causeways answered, the citadel itself still
remains, and by its size and strength confirms the accounts given by
Cortéz, Bernal Diaz, and others of the conquerors of the magnitude and
strength of the Mexican edifices, but which have been doubted by
Robertson, De Pau, and others. We observed also in some sheltered
places, the remains of good plaster, confirming the accounts above
alluded to; and there can be little doubt that the present rough, yet
magnificent buildings were once encased in wood, as ancient Mexico, the
towns of Yucatan, Tabasco, and many other places are described to have
been in the voyage of Juan De Grijalvis in 1518, and also in the
writings of Diaz, Cortéz and Clavigero.

"The Cerro de Edificios and the mountains of the surrounding range, are
all of gray porphyry, easily fractured into slabs, and this, with
comparatively little labor, has furnished materials for the edifices
which crown its summit. We saw no remains of obsidian among the ruins or
on the plain--which is remarkable, as it is the general substance of
which the knives and arrow-heads of the Mexicans were formed; but a few
pieces of very compact porphyry were lying about and some appeared to
have been chipped into a rude resemblance of arrow-heads.

"Not a trace of the ancient name of this interesting place, or that of
the nation which inhabited it, is now to be found among the neighboring
people, who merely distinguished the isolated rock and buildings by one
common name, 'Los Edificios.' I had inquired of the best instructed
people about these ruins; but all my researches were unavailing until I
fortunately met with a note in the Abbé Clavigero's history of Mexico
which appears to throw some light on the subject. 'The situation of
Chico-moztoc, where the Mexicans sojourned nine years is not known, but
it appears to be that place, twenty miles distant from Zacatécas,
towards the south, where there are still some remains of an immense
edifice, which, according to the tradition of the ancient inhabitants of
that district was the work of the Aztecs during their migration; and it
certainly cannot be ascribed to any other people, the Zacatecanos
themselves being so barbarous as neither to live in houses nor to know
how to build them.'"




[Illustration: CITY OF SAN LUIS POTOSI.]

The State of San Luis Potosi is bounded on the east by the State of
Tamaulipas; on the north by Nuevo Leon; on the west by Zacatécas; on the
south by Guanajuato and Querétaro, and on the south-east by Vera Crux.
The western portion of the State is quite mountainous; but towards
Tamaulipas, the Cordillera is somewhat broken, and a lower hilly
country stretches out towards the south-east. The Panuco and the
Santander are the only two rivers, and the lagunes of Chariel and Chila
the only two lakes of importance in the State.

The climate of the mountain region and table lands is cold, while that
of the lower elevations and flats towards the eastern boundary is much
warmer, and, at certain seasons, very unhealthy.

The State of San Luis Potosi is divided into four departments, ten
cantons, and fifty-two municipalities, with a population of over

1st. Department of SAN LUIS with the cantons San Luis, Santa Maria del
Rio and Guadalcazar.

2d. Department of RIO VERDE, with the cantons of Rio Verde and del Maiz.

3d. Department of TANCANHUITZ, with the cantons of Tancanhuitz and De

4th. Department of VENADO, with the cantons of Venado, Catorcé and

The agriculturists of San Luis are engaged chiefly in the production of
corn, wheat, barley and fodder; all of which are yielded plentifully by
the genial soil of the State. But the toils of the farmer and the
generosity of the ground are not always repaid by suitable prices or a
good market. Corn ranges from fifty cents to seventy-five the fanega;
and even at this rate often lacks purchasers. Cattle are raised in large
quantities, as in Zacatécas, Durango and Chihuahua. Manufactures are
progressive. Woollen and cotton fabrics are produced of excellent
quality and favor among the masses. Glass, leather, pottery and metallic
wares are also made in large quantities, and a busy traffic in foreign
goods is carried on with the port of Tampico, and the States of
Zacatécas, Durango, Sonora, New Leon, Guanajuato, Mechoacan and Jalisco.
The position of this State, and especially of its principal town,
naturally makes it an _entrepôt_ between the coast and the interior, for
imports from America and Europe. Nevertheless, a small trade, only,
exists in home products, and these are chiefly sent to New Leon and

The chief towns are SAN LUIS POTOSI, the capital of the State and seat
of government, lying on a level plain, among the steep declivities of
the Cordillera in the neighborhood of the sources of the Panuco, in 22°
4´ 58´´ north latitude, 103° 7´ west longitude from Paris, 5,959 feet
above the sea. It is a regular, well built city, with broad, paved
streets, a fine _plaza_ or public square, and six handsome churches,
three convents, and one hospital. Its population may be estimated at

GUADALCAZAR, is the capital of the _partido_ or district of that name,
18 leagues north-west of San Luis Potosi, in 22° 31´ 25´´ north latitude
and 102° 59´ 30´´ west longitude from Paris, 5,132 feet above the sea,
in a valley south of a mountain group which was once extremely
productive in mineral riches.

RIO VERDE is the capital of the Department of Rio Verde, 34 leagues east
of San Luis. The town of VALLES, with 3,500 inhabitants, lies on the
left bank of the Rio Montezuma, in the _tierra caliente_, on the
boundary of the State of Vera Cruz. Its neighborhood is rich in sugar
plantations and in tropical productions generally.

VENADO, 29 leagues north of San Luis, is the chief town of its
Department; it lies on the road from the capital of the State to
Catorcé, and contains about 8,000 inhabitants.

In the _partido_ OJOCALIENTE lies the town of that name, 28 leagues
north-west of the city of San Luis, and 10 leagues south-east of the
capital of Zacatécas, 6,714 feet above the sea.

CATORCÉ is a mining town, likewise in the department of Venado, and is
sometimes known by the sounding title of "REAL DE LA PURISIMA CONCEPCION
DE ALAMOS DE LOS CATORCÉ." The name is supposed to be derived from the
slaughter of fourteen Spanish soldiers who are said to have been killed
in its vicinity by a tribe of savages inhabiting these wild mountain
regions before the discovery of the adjacent mines.

Nothing can be more dreary, bleak and desolate than the aspect of the
Cordillera of Catorcé. A few narrow mule paths, or the worn bed of a
mountain torrent alone break the monotonous coloring of the mass; and
the town placed at the great height of 8,788 feet above the sea, is
completely hidden from below by the bold brow of the mountain.[68] There
is neither a tree nor a blade of grass on the steep and sterile flanks
of these rocky elevations, though seventy years ago the whole district
was covered with wood which might have endured for centuries had not the
improvident and wasteful spirit of the first adventurers wantonly
destroyed these valuable resources. Forests were burnt to clear the
ground, and the larger timber which was required for the mines when they
were wrought again after the revolution, was brought from a distance of
twenty-two leagues.

On reaching a high ridge above the adjacent valley, the town of Catorcé
is immediately perceived at the feet of the traveller, lying in a hollow
beyond which the mountain steeps again rise precipitously above a
thousand feet,--the course of the _Veta Madre_, or great "mother vein,"
being distinctly traced upon it by the buildings belonging to the mines
and miners. The site of the town is extremely singular, as it is
intersected by deep ravines, or _barrancas_, upon the ledges of which
many of the dwellings are erected. Some of these strange edifices, like
those of Edinburg, have one story on one side, and two or three on the
other; and most of them are surrounded by massive fragments of rock,
amongst which the laborers shelter themselves from inclement weather.

In this region the most valuable mines of the State of San Luis Potosi
have been found and wrought.

Within a few years past a profitable quicksilver mine was discovered,
south of the capital, in the jurisdiction of the Hacienda de Villela.
This mine, in the months of August and September, 1843, produced 1,068
pounds of the metal _en caldo_.


This fine portion of the present Mexican Confederacy was colonized at
the end of the sixteenth century by the Viceroy Monterey, and was then
known by the proud title of EL NUEVO REYNO DE LEON, or, the New Kingdom
of Leon. The modern State is bounded on the east by Tamaulipas; on the
north by Coahuila; on the west by that State and Durango; on the
south-west and south by Zacatécas and San Luis Potosi.

The geological formation of this State is generally mountainous. It lies
among the first spurs and ridges of the Sierra Madre, south of the Rio
Bravo, or Grande del Norte, and is interspersed with wide plains and
fruitful valleys which produce good crops under careful cultivation. The
rivers, all of which flow eastwardly towards the Gulf of Mexico, are the
Rio Tigre, the San Juan, the Rio Blanco or Borbón, and the Sabinas,
which passes into this State from Coahuila, and falls into the Rio Bravo
near Revilla. There are numerous other small streams and brooks, of no
geographical but of considerable agricultural importance. The climate is
generally warm, except among the higher ranges of mountains; and, in
summer, it is usually extremely hot, though healthy. The population is
estimated at about 130,000.

New Leon is divided into five Partidos or Departments, with 25

1st. Department of Monterey, with seven districts: Monterey, Salinas
Victorias, Absalo, San Nicolas Hidalgo, Pesqueria Grande, Santa
Catarina, and Guajuco.

2d. Department of Cadereyta Ximenes, with five districts: Cadereyta,
Santa Maria, Cerralvo, Agualequas, and Santa Maria de las Aldamas.

3d. Department of Monte Morélos, with three districts: Monte Morélos,
Mota and China.

4th. Department of Linares, with five districts: Linares, Galéana,
Hualahuises, Rio Blanco and Concepcion.

5th. Department of Aldáma, with five districts: Villa Aldáma,
Vallecillo, Sabinas, Lampazos and Tlascala.

The agriculture of New Leon has not been as carefully and successfully
pursued as it might have been, in the hands of a different population.
The annual product of the soil has been stated by the Mexican
authorities, to average 120,600 fanegas of corn; 5,700 fanegas of
frijoles or beans, and 46,500 hundred-weight of sugar;--the home market
affording one dollar per fanega for corn, three dollars per fanega for
frijoles, and three dollars per hundred weight for raw sugar.

The chief occupation of the landholders is the grazing of cattle, and
the yearly return of animals, shows that the State is quite productive
in this branch of rural labor. It is calculated by official reporters
that New Leon annually feeds and sends to market:--50,000 horses, 12,000
mules, 75,000 large horned cattle, and 850,000 sheep, goats, and hogs.
The local value of which is six dollars a head for horses, twelve for a
mule, four for neat cattle, and from fifty cents to a dollar, a piece,
for sheep, goats, and swine. The State is regarded as rich in minerals
of silver and lead, but the mining operations are almost abandoned,
except at Cerralvo and Vallecillo. Salt is made at the salt mines on the
banks of the Rio Tigre. The domestic trade is carried on in State
productions with Mexico and Querétaro, and North American or European
fabrics are imported through the port of Tampico de Tamaulipas.

The capital of the State is MONTEREY, in 25° 59´ north latitude and 102°
33´ west longitude from Paris, about 220 leagues north of the city of
Mexico, situated on the plain at the foot of the Sierra Madre on the
margin of one of the affluents of the Rio Tigre. Its population is
estimated at about 13,000, and its climate is considered agreeable and
healthy. Monterey is connected with the history of North American
victories, by the capitulation it made to General Taylor, September,

The other principal towns, villages and settlements in New Leon, are SAN
FELIPÉ DE LINARES, containing 6,000 inhabitants, 40 leagues south-east
of Monterey; Buena Vista, a village 7 leagues north-west of Linares;
Cadereyta Ximenes, a small town of 2,000 people, 10 leagues south-east
of Monterey; Salinas Victorias, 10 leagues north of Monterey; Pesqueria
Grande, a village north-west from Monterey, and formerly the site of
silver mines and salt works; Villa Aldama; San Carlos de Vallecillo;
Lampazos; Agualequas; China, and Galeana.


Coahuila was formerly united with the ancient Mexican province of Texas,
until the revolution, which resulted in the independence of the latter,
sundered the bond and added it to the United States of North America.
The present State of Coahuila is bounded on the east by New Leon and
Tamaulipas; on the south by Zacatécas; on the west by the Indian
territory known as the Bolson de Mapimi, Durango and Chihuahua; and on
the north by Texas.

The whole State lies on the first steps of the Sierra Madre; its
southern portion, beyond the Rio Sabinas, is extremely mountainous; but
from the northern bank of this stream, the land sinks gradually into
levels until it is lost in the well-watered and fruitful plains of
Texas. The principal rivers in this State are the Rio Grande del Norte
or Rio Bravo, the Sabinas and the Rio Tigre; and the chief lakes or
lagunes are those of Parras and Agua Verde.

The climate of Coahuila is equable and healthy. From the middle of May
to the middle of August the greatest heat is generally experienced, and,
during this season, the country is torn by high winds which nearly every
day begin to blow at sunset. The population of the State is estimated at
about 97,000. Large bodies of Indians inhabit the lonelier regions of
Coahuila; and, in the north, beyond the Rio Grande, the country swarms
with ferocious tribes of Lipans and Cumanches. Agriculture is not
flourishing though the soil of large portions of the State is good and
capable of production. The remote position of Coahuila, and the thinness
of its population, have probably obliged the inhabitants to congregate
in towns and villages where they might afford each other mutual
protection against the frontier savages; and thus they have been
induced to abandon agriculture for the wilder life of vaqueros or
herdsmen. Wheat, corn, beans and vegetables are easily raised in the
best parts of the State, and in the vicinity of Parras extensive
vineyards have been planted which produce an excellent wine. Horses,
mules, wine and corn form the home commerce of the State; while in the
neighborhood of Santa Rosa, and of two or three other villages, a small
number of persons are engaged in the exploration of mines.

The principal town of Coahuila is SALTILLO, or, as it is sometimes
called, _Léona-Vicario_, situated in the south near the boundary of
Nuevo Leon, twenty-five leagues westward of Monterey, at the foot of a
hill in the midst of a fruitful region. Its geographical position,
according to Wislizenius, is about 25° 25´ of north latitude, and 101°
west longitude from Greenwich. It is a well built town, whose straight
streets radiate at right angles from the public square, in the middle of
which a tasteful fountain constantly supplies the population with
excellent water. The population exceeds 20,000; and the town is
celebrated for the production of woollen blankets and _serapes_ or
_ponchos_, which are in demand all over the Republic.

SAN FERNANDO, or, _La Villa de Rosas_, is a town and military post in
the north of the State, south of the Rio Grande, containing about 3,000

MONCLOVA, is a town of 3,700 inhabitants on the Coahuila, an affluent of
the Rio Tigre.

PARRAS lies west of Saltillo, on the east bank of the lake of the same
name, and some years ago was estimated to contain nearly 17,000
inhabitants, including the adjacent farmers, planters and their
laborers. It is celebrated for its grapes and wine, as we have already

The other villages and settlements worthy of note are Villa Longia,
Viesca y Bustamante, Santa Rosa, Guerrero, Cienegas, Abasoto, Nadadores,
S. Buenaventura, San Francisco y San Miguel Aguayo, Capillania and


Durango is bounded on the north by Chihuahua; on the west by Sinaloa; on
the east by Coahuila, and on the south by Zacatécas and Jalisco.

This State is penetrated, from near its centre, in a north-westwardly
direction by the main artery of the great Cordillera; and whilst the
north-eastern section of Durango slopes gradually downward towards the
waters of the Rio Grande, its south-western part lies high up among the
table lands and mountain spurs that lean towards Sinaloa and the Pacific
coast. The climate of this mountainous State is healthy and cool, and
its agricultural productions are similar to those of other Mexican
States whose geological formation resembles it.

Durango is divided into twelve _partidos_ or departments:--Durango, San
Juan del Rio, Nombre de Dios, San Dimas, Mesquital Papasquiaro, Oro,
Indee, Tamasula, Cuencamé, Mapimi, and Nasas;--comprising 38
municipalities, 4 cities, 5 towns, 54 villages, 52 mineral works, 48
parishes, 111 haciendas, 48 estancias, and 521 ranchos. The population
is estimated at about 300,000.

The chief streams and bodies of waters in the State are the Rio Nasas,
Rio Guanábas, Rio Florida, and the lagunes of Cayman and Parras, the
latter of which, though lying in Coahuila, bounds upon the edge of

The wealth of Durango exists in its minerals and in its cattle estates.
Its _haciendas de cria_ produce immense quantities of horses, mules,
sheep and horned beasts which are readily sold in the various markets
and fairs of the republic. At the hacienda of La Sarca, a stock of
200,000 sheep and 40,000 mules and horses, is constantly kept on hand,
and at Ramos, which contains four hundred square leagues of land, 80,000
sheep are annually fed for their fleece, skins and carcasses. About
150,000 sheep are every year sent from Durango to the market of Mexico

In the valley of Poanas, fifteen leagues east from the capital, there
are fine corn lands; and in the deep valleys of the Sierra Madre even
sugar is raised wherever the exposure and the moisture of the situation
permits the successful cultivation of cane. Indigo and coffee grow wild
in the warm barrancas on the genial slopes of the Cordillera; but
neither of these articles is as yet cultivated by the planters. Cotton
is grown in the vicinity of the Rio Nasas, and the town of Cinco Señores
is the centre of a district covered with plantations which supply most
of the factories of San Luis Potosi, Zacatécas and Saltillo. Mescal, a
species of brandy is distilled in large quantities from the maguey which
grows abundantly in Durango.

The capital of the State, seat of government, and residence of the
bishop, is the city of DURANGO, sometimes known as _La Ciudad de
Victoria_, or, _Guadiana_. It lies under 24° 25´ north latitude and 105°
55´ west longitude, at an elevation of 6,847 feet above the level of the
sea, and sixty-five leagues north-westwardly from Zacatécas. It is in
the southern section of the State, and was originally founded, in 1559,
by the Viceroy Velasco, as a military post designed for the control of
the Chichimecas. Its population at present may be estimated at between
thirty and forty thousand.

This capital, and most of the other noted towns in Durango, owe their
existence to the mineral wealth of the neighborhood. Before the mines of
Guarisamey were discovered the city of Durango was a mere village, or
_pueblo ranchero_, containing, as late as 1783, no more than eight
thousand inhabitants. But the exploration of the mines infused life,
activity, and wealth into the population, and the State progressed
rapidly as its resources were developed. The fine streets of the
capital, its great _plaza_ or square, its theatre, and all its public
edifices were erected by Zambrano, who is said to have extracted upwards
of thirty millions of dollars from his mines at Guarisamey and San
Dimas. A mint has been established in the city, and, besides this, it
possesses factories of cotton, glass and tobacco.

The towns of VILLA DEL NOMBRE DE DIOS, with 7,000 inhabitants, SAN JUAN
DEL RIO with 12,000 and CINCO SEÑORES DE NASAS, are almost the only ones
in the State unconnected with mines. The two first are supported chiefly
by the sale of Mescal distilled from the maguey or aloe; and the last,
by the extensive cotton plantations which have been already mentioned.

Besides these towns there are the Villa FELIZ DE TAMASULA, north-west of
Durango on the boundary of Sinaloa; PAPASQUIARO with 6,000 inhabitants;
Guarisamey, a mining town, in a deep and warm valley, surrounded with
steep mountains near 9,000 feet high, and containing about 4,000 people;
La Villa de Mapimi, north of the Rio Nasas, on the borders of the Bolson
de Mapimi, and east of the Cerro de la Cadena, with about 3,000
inhabitants; Cuencame; El Oro; and many other villages and towns, too
numerous and too unimportant for separate notice, but which deserve
recollection as indicating the tendency of this region to aggregate
population. The State contained in 1833, 250,000 inhabitants, according
to good authority, and it is probable that at present it does not number
less than 300,000.

Durango is rich in mineral deposits. Iron abounds within a quarter of a
league of the gates of the capital. The Cerro del Mercado is entirely
composed of iron ores of two distinct qualities,--crystallized and
magnetic,--but almost equally rich, as they contain from sixty to
seventy-five per cent. of pure metal. Silver is also abundant in the
mountains; but the mines have been carelessly worked, and, in some
places, are abandoned for want of suitable machinery or enterprize. The
principal districts and places in which this precious deposit has been
found and profitably wrought, are at Gavalines, Guarisamey and San
Dimas, in the two last of which the fortunate adventurer Zambrano,
acquired, during twenty-five years, the extraordinary wealth he
possessed. These mines are divided into Tamasula, Canélas and Sianori,
lying on the western slope of the Cordillera; and Guanasevi, Indée, El
Oro, Cuencame and Mapimi, on the eastern declivities. They lie about
five days' journey west of the capital.

The following interesting sketch of Indian necrology is given in the
valuable and recent work of Mühlenpfordt upon the Mexican Republic.

In the State of Durango,--says this interesting German
author,--especially in the unexplored portion of the Bolson de Mapimi,
many relics of antiquity, important for the history of this country, are
probably hidden. In the summer of 1838, a remarkable old Indian cave of
sepulture was discovered in this singular region. Among the few
establishments which enterprizing settlers have founded in that lonely
territory which is overrun by wild Indians, one of the most important is
the estate of San Juan de Casta, on its western border, 86 leagues north
of the town of Durango. Don Juan Flores, its proprietor, rambling one
day with several companions in the eastern part of the Bolson, remarked
the entrance of a cavern on the side of a mountain. He went in, and
beheld, as he imagined, a great number of Indians sitting silently
around the walls of the cave. Flores immediately rushed forth in
affright, to communicate his remarkable discovery to his friends, who at
once supposed that the story of the adventurer was nothing but an affair
of fancy, as they no where found any trace or foot path to show that the
secluded spot had been hitherto visited. But, in order to satisfy
themselves, they entered the cavern with pine torches,--and their sight
was greeted by more than a thousand corpses in a state of perfect
preservation, their hands clasped beneath their knees, and sitting on
the ground. They were clad in mantles excellently woven and wrought of
the fibres of a bastard aloe, indigenous in these regions, which is
called _lechuguilla_, with bands and scarfs of variegated stuffs. Their
ornaments were strings of fruit-kernels, with beads formed of bone,
ear-rings, and thin cylindrical bones polished and gilt, and their
sandals were made of a species of _liana_.




The State of Chihuahua, containing an area of 17,151-1/2 square leagues,
or 119,169 English square miles, and reaching from 26° 53´ 36´´ to 32°
57´ 43´´ north latitude, is bounded on the north by New Mexico, east by
Coahuila and Texas, south by Durango, south-west by Sinaloa, and
north-west by Sonora. The great mountain chain of Mexico, which is the
connecting link between the Rocky Mountains of the north and the Andes
of the south, is here known as the Sierra Madre, and occupies chiefly
the western part of the State, where its elevations attain a vast
height, and at length, descend abruptly, cut by deep _barrancas_ or
ravines, until they are lost in the plains of Sonora and Sinaloa.
Mexican authorities state the highest point of the Sierra Madre, at the
Peaks of Jesus Maria, to be 8,441 feet above the level of the sea. The
greater portion of Chihuahua consequently lies, like Durango, upon the
_plateau_ of Mexico, and only a small part upon the western slope of the
Sierra Madre. The loftier elevations of the Cordillera, as it passes
upward from Durango, lean towards the west until they pass the centre of
Chihuahua, and then bending once more, nearly north, pursue their way
through New Mexico into the remote wilderness of our Union. Towards the
east these steeps become gradually depressed until they are lost in the
vast and uncultivated regions of the Bolson de Mapimi, whose elevation
above the sea is still 3,800 feet, according to the measurement of Dr.

Seventeen rivers and streams flow through the territory of this State.
The Rio Bravo, or Rio Grande del Norte; the Rio Conchas; Florida;
Chihuahua; Tonachi; Llanos; Casas Grandes; San Buenaventura; Carmen;
Santa Isabel; Pasesiochi; Mulatos; Chiñapas; Parral; San Pedro;
Batopilas; and Rio Grande de Bavispe. The lakes or lagunes are those of
San Martin; Guzman; Patos, or Candelaria; Encinillas; and Castilla. The
river Nasas, which rises in Durango debouches in the Lake of Cayman, in
the Bolson de Mapimi. The climate resembles that of the adjoining State
of Durango. In the year 1834, the population, according to official
statistics was 145,182; at present, it is estimated at from 150,000 to
160,000, which number would give about 1.3 for each English square mile.
This is probably the actual number of inhabitants within the State,
exclusive of Indians and some wild dwellers among the mountains who were
not comprised in the census of 1833. Large numbers of aborigines occupy
the lonelier portions of Chihuahua. Tribes of Tepehuanés, Llanos,
Acotlames, Cocoyames and a few remnants of the Aztecs are found within
its borders. In the Bolson de Mapimi, and on the borders of the mountain
ranges of the Chanáte, El Diabolo Puerco, and Pilares, swarm numbers of
the Apaches Mescaléros and Farones, who are often engaged in war with
the savage and robber tribes of Cumanches, whose constant inroads into
the Mexican territory are a source of incessant annoyance and insecurity
to the people of the frontier. In the ravines and valleys of the Sierra
de los Mimbres, in the north-west of the State, the Apache Mímbreños are
found, while further south, in the wild and deep dells of Tararécua and
Santa Sinforosa various bands of the Tarahuamares still pursue their
hunter-life in perfect freedom.

There is some doubt, in consequence of the conflict of authorities, as
to the divisions of the State of Chihuahua. According to the _Noticias
Estadisticas_ of Señor Escudero, published in 1834, it was composed of
four districts: Chihuahua, Hidalgo, Paso del Norte, and Guadalupe y
Calvo,--in the first of which are the _partidos_ of Aldama,
Cosihuiriachi, Papigochi, and Jesus Maria de Rosales;--in the second,
the _partidos_ of Allende and Jimenez;--in the third, the _partidos_ of
Galeanas and Janos;--and in the fourth, those of Batopilas and Balleza
or Tepehuanes. According to an article published by the same writer in
the fourth volume of the Museo Mexicano, in 1844, he apparently
entertains the opinion that the same divisions still continue; but, if
the authority of another and very positive correspondent of the same
work is to be relied on in reference to the last mentioned period,
Chihuahua was divided into the _partidos_ of Aldama, Allende, Balleza,
Batopilas, Concepcion, Cosihuiriachi, Galeana, Hidalgo, Jimenez, Paso,
and Rosales, formerly Tapacolmes.

Nature has endowed Chihuahua with a pleasant and temperate climate and a
fertile soil, which is said by those who are best acquainted with the
State to be capable of producing abundantly, if the county is ever freed
from savage inroads and filled with an industrious population of
agriculturists. The forests, the streams, the valleys and the plains,
all yield their tributes of valuable articles of trade. Vast herds of
cattle are fed upon the large _haciendas de ganado_; and the mountains
are veined with the precious deposits which form the wealth of so many
other Mexican States. The prompt settlement of the frontier, and the
security of its inhabitants against the Indians, under the protection of
armed forces by the conterminous Republics, seem to be all that is
requisite for the development of the fine natural resources of this
hitherto neglected State.

Field and garden cultivation is not much attended to by the present
inhabitants; but wherever farming operations are carried on in suitable
spots, corn, wheat, barley, frijoles, and all the finest fruits, plants
and vegetables, are found to repay bountifully the husbandman's labor.
Even indigo and cotton are found growing wild in some of the districts,
notwithstanding the proximity of the mountain region, and the bleaker
exposure of the soil.

At El Paso del Norte, the right bank of the Rio Grande, is covered for a
distance of seven leagues with excellent vineyards, whose capital fruit
produces an abundance of wine, which is greedily purchased in the
markets of the adjacent States. In the neighborhood of Aldama, Allende,
and of many other towns, the grape is also successfully cultivated, and
the liquor produced is highly esteemed by competent judges. But the
chief sources of the present prosperity of Chihuahua are its mines and
cattle. The best data in our possession assign to this State 56 large
estates, upon all of which about 70,000 horses, 190,000 horned cattle,
and 550,000 head of sheep, swine and goats are constantly fed. The
silver, gold and copper mines have been in former years exceedingly
productive, and even in 1844, the mint of Chihuahua, struck $61,632 in
gold, and 290,000 in silver. In 1814, the coinage of the same
institution reached the sum of $1,818,604 in silver, after which period
it ceased operating until 1832; but since then its annual emission has
never exceeded $544,244 in coins of both the precious metals. Gold was
first struck at this mint in 1841, and in 1842 it sent into circulation
$164,744, since which its issue has sensibly decreased. The best copper
mines at present known, are those of Santa Rita, near the union of the
Rio Florida with the Rio Conchas. Veins of iron, cinnabar, lead,
sulphur, coal, and nitre have been found and explored; but owing to the
disturbed and insecure condition of the State, are altogether abandoned.

The chief mining districts and mineral deposits are at Allende or San
Bartolomé; Santa Barbara; Chihuahua; Cosihuiriachi; Santa Eulalia; Jesus
Maria; Loreto; Moris; Mulatos; Minas Nuevas; Parral; San Pedro; El
Refugio; Santa Rita; Sierra Rica; Batopilas; Urique y Ximenes, or as it
is at present called, Guajuquilla. A considerable portion of the product
of these mines may have been extracted from the Mexican Republic, before
they were coined, by the inland trade with the United States, which has
been carried on extensively for many years. The gold dust, especially,
both of Chihuahua and New Mexico, has formed the principal return for
American merchandize; and thus the diminution of the Chihuahuan coinage
may be partially accounted for. Nevertheless we are informed by the best
authorities, as well as by the statistics of the mint, that the mines of
this State have been negligently wrought for some years past by the
unsettled inhabitants of the frontier.

The chief towns in the State are the capital, Chihuahua, situated 4,640
feet above the level of the sea, in 28° 38´ north latitude and 106° 30´
west longitude from Greenwich, containing a population of from 12,000 to
15,000. It lies in a beautiful valley opening towards the north, and
hemmed in, on the other sides, by the arms of the Sierra Madre. The city
is regularly built, on wide, clean streets, with many handsome and
convenient houses, plentifully supplied with water, which is brought to
the town by an aqueduct extending 6,533 _varas_. The plaza, or public
square, is quite imposing. Its spacious area is adorned with a fountain
and walks, with benches and pillars of white porphyry. Three sides of
this square are occupied with public edifices and stores, while on the
fourth is the cathedral.

The other towns are San Pedro de Batopilas, a mining post on the western
slope of the Cordillera, in a deep dell;--San José del Parral, at the
eastern foot of the Sierra Madre on the southern limit of Chihuahua,
about eighty leagues east of Batopilas, containing about 5,000
inhabitants; Valle de San Bartolomé, on the road from Chihuahua to
Durango; Allende, with 11,000 inhabitants; Santa Rosa de Cosihuiriachi,
with 3,000; and various other villages and Presidios of lesser note.

One of the most important towns in the State of Chihuahua, since the
annexation of a part of Mexico to the United Slates by the treaty of
1848, is El Paso del Norte. According to the observations of Dr.
Wislizenius, it lies in 31° 45´ 50´´ north latitude, 3,814 feet above
the level of the sea, on the Rio Grande, distant about 340 miles from
Santa Fé, and about 240 from the town of Chihuahua. The Rio Grande or
Rio del Norte, having escaped the mountain pass, runs here in an open
fertile field, at the beginning of which El Paso is situated. The town
is principally built on the right bank of the river while a few houses
are on the left. Stretched out along the stream for many miles, all its
dwellings are surrounded and embosomed in groves, gardens, orchards,
vineyards and cultivated fields as far as the eye can reach. The
position of this town is an important one, inasmuch as the road by it is
the only practicable one for wagons leading from Santa Fé to Chihuahua.
A circuitous road might, in case of necessity, be made from the right
bank of the river, on the northern end of the Jornado del Muerto, to the
copper mines near the sources of the Gila, and thence by Carmen to
Chihuahua; but it is by far more mountainous, winding and difficult than
the direct road through El Paso which has long been the only highway
between New Mexico and Chihuahua. Besides these advantages of commercial
intercourse, the point is deemed of the greatest value as a military
post, in which a well provided garrison could hold out against a
ten-fold stronger force.[69] The population of the town proper, and of
the line of settlements extending about twenty miles down the river is
estimated at from ten to twelve thousand.

Besides these important considerations, the valley of El Paso is
probably the most fertile country along the river. In addition to maize
and wheat the inhabitants raise a large quantity of fruits, such as
apples, pears, figs, quinces, peaches, &c., but especially an excellent
grape from which the celebrated El Paso wine is prepared, and a liquor
is made called by the Americans "Pass Whiskey." The grape which is so
extensively cultivated is of Spanish origin; it is blue, very rich and
juicy, and produces a strong, sweet, southern, straw-colored wine. For
want of barrels, the natives preserve the liquor in earthern jars or in
ox skins. The wine has a strong body, and when mellowed by age, has the
flavor of Malaga. Besides the blue grape, a white species is also
raised, having the flavor of the Muscadine, but it is believed that it
is not used for wine.

The mode of cultivating the vineyards in this region is simple. The
vines are covered in winter with earth, are kept clear from weeds, hoed
and pruned at the proper season, but they are not attached to stakes or
espaliers. The soil and climate are so genial that less labor is
required than in other countries; but a great deal of the fertility of
the beautiful valley must be ascribed to the ingenious system of
irrigation, which is produced by a dam constructed in the river above El
Paso, which turns a large body of water into a canal. This canal,
spreading into numerous branches and re-uniting again, provides all the
cultivated land with a sufficiency of moisture.

Some remains of antiquity are found in the north-western part of the
State, lying near the village and creek of the Casas Grandes, between
Janos and Galeana. Ruins of large houses, known as "Casas Grandes" in
the language of the country, exist in this neighborhood, built of
sun-dried bricks, or _adobes_, and squared timber. They are three
stories high with a gallery of wood and stairway from the exterior, with
very small rooms and narrow doors in the upper stories but without means
of entrance in the lower. Water was brought to the spot from a
neighboring spring by a canal; and a watch-tower, commanding an
extensive prospect, stands on an elevation two leagues south-west of it.
A series of mounds, containing earthen vessels, weapons, instruments of
stone, and fragments of white, blue and violet colored pottery, extends
along the banks of the Casas Grandes and Janos creeks.

       *       *       *       *       *

The State of Chihuahua has suffered and still suffers greatly and
constantly from the incursions of the barbarians who ravage her
frontiers and descend boldly into the very heart of the settlements. The
uncertainty of life and insecurity of property have, of course,
prevented the development of a region so valuable for its mineral and
agricultural resources; nor is it likely that any sensible progress will
be made until the four warring tribes of Gileños, Mesclaros, Mimbreños
and Lipanes, are destroyed by the advance of the civilized nations from
the north as well as from the south.

A recent Mexican author, in describing the condition of Chihuahua,
declares that at "present every hacienda must be converted into a castle
of the middle ages, every shepherd into a soldier:--proprietors of
estates enjoy no security of their possessions, and the common people
gather themselves into villages to escape from the exposed country in
which they must become the victims of the bloodthirsty savages and
robbers from the wilderness."

There is a singular geological formation in the northern part of Mexico,
lying on the road between the cities of Chihuahua and Monterey, and
extending northwardly from the towns and haciendas of Mapimi, San Juan,
San Lorenzo and San Sebastian towards the Rio Grande, called the Bolson
de Mapimi, or Pouch of Mapimi. Leaving Mapimi, the road continues about
three miles to the eastern mountain chain, and then winding nearly two
miles through a cañon, or gorge, it leads to a very open level valley,
which is the commencement of the Bolson. Towards the right of the road,
eastwardly, at the distance of from three to five miles, a steep, high
mountain chain of limestone, rises precipitously, while another chain
towers up to the left, at the distance of about twelve miles. Both
chains gradually diverge, but especially the eastern arm, which
stretches north-eastwardly and then bends to the south-west, at an
angle, leaving a deep _cul de sac_ or depression in the middle from
which the country has probably derived its name. All around is an
immense chapparal plain, while in the distance the Rio Nasas runs
towards the north into the immense basin, and forms the large Laguna de
Tlagualila, usually set down on maps and mentioned in geographical works
as Lake Cayman. The Nasas is said by Dr. Wislizenius to be the Nile of
the Bolson. Coming about 150 leagues from the western part of Durango,
from the Sianori mountains, it runs north-westwardly and northerly
towards this Pouch, and the wide and level country along the river is
yearly inundated by the floods, and owes its fertility to this
circumstance. The limits of the Bolson de Mapimi have never been clearly
defined either geographically or politically for its immense wilderness
has been neither fully explored or occupied in consequence of the danger
of encountering the robber hordes by whom its recesses are infested. The
northern portion is supposed to belong to the State of Chihuahua, and
the southern to Durango. Nor are its general physical properties clearly
known, though the common and perhaps erroneous impression in the country
is that it is a low, flat, swampy country and a mere desert. The two
terminating points of Dr. Wislizenius's transit through the Bolson are
Mapimi, where he entered it, and El Paso, or a point between Paso and
Parras, where he left it. At Mapimi, the elevation above the sea was
4,487 feet; in the valley of the Nasas, at San Sebastian, 3,785; at San
Lorenzo, 3,815; at San Juan, 3,775; and towards the eastern edge of the
Bolson, at El Paso, 3,990, and at Parras, 4,987. We perceive, therefore,
that the valley of the Nasas, which may be called the vein and centre of
the Bolson has a mean elevation of 3,800 feet; and though from 500 to
1,000 feet lower than the surrounding county, it nevertheless occupies a
considerable elevation above the sea.

The soil in the Bolson is less sandy and of a better quality than in the
higher country. Besides wheat and corn, a quantity of cotton is raised
in the valley of the river, and wine has been successfully tried. The
climate is represented to be so mild, that the root of the cotton plant
is seldom destroyed in winter, and thrives for many years.

We have dwelt upon the character and qualities of this extraordinary
depression among the mountain ridges of northern Mexico, because we
believe that when it is finally explored, the savages exterminated, and
the country opened to the advance of civilization, El Bolson de Mapimi
may become one of the most important and perhaps fruitful basins among
the temperate lands of Mexico.


We have completed the proposed task of sketching the history and
geography of Mexico, accompanied by notices of its social and political
condition, and of the remains of antiquity sprinkled over its territory.
We acknowledge the imperfection of the work, and its unsatisfactoriness
even to ourselves. But we have diligently searched the best authorities
that could be obtained at home and abroad, and, while we have omitted
nothing that might be relied on for the purpose of displaying the
physical and intellectual character of the country and people, we have
endeavored to indicate clearly those historical antecedents and
geographical peculiarities upon which the future progress or decline of
the nation is to be founded.

Perhaps no countries are more difficult for full and minute description,
in their present social state, than Mexico and the South American
nations. Mexico, as we have seen, is a mountain country, with very few
navigable streams opening the interior to travellers, and with badly
constructed roads, which were scarcely adequate for the most needful
transportation required for the subsistence of the people. As soon as
the way-farer left the coasts of the Gulf or of the Pacific he
penetrated the glens of lofty mountains, or slowly toiled along the
inclined plains of their precipitous sides. Wide levels opened in the
interior, at considerable distances, but these were separated by ridges
of the Cordillera which were, in fact, ramparts capable of defending a
warlike people almost without the aid of military improvement. Until
within a few years, the back of a horse or of a mule; an old fashioned
LITERA swung between two beasts


of burthen, or an antiquated clumsy Mexican coach, were the only means
of travelling. Of these, the litera, a species of palanquin in which the
traveller reclined at ease upon his mattress and cushions, was by far
the most comfortable, and the use of this convenient vehicle is still
continued especially in the warmer parts of the country where exposure
to the sun is dangerous, and into which the modern diligence or stage
coach has not been introduced from the factories of the United States.
In many portions of Mexico, where the transportation has been for
centuries carried on by ARRIEROS with their mules and jackasses,
scarcely any thing of the original road remains, while the path that has
been so long trodden by the single file _Atajos_ of these useful beasts
has been worn so deeply by their feet in the yielding soil or rock, that
the animals themselves are often concealed by the steep sides of the
gully. Thousands of sturdy Mexicans have for years been employed as
ARRIEROS in this business of mule-carriage. The "CONDUCTA" is recognized
as one of the traditionary, time honored, and almost constitutional
institutions of the Republic, and it may easily be conceived that with
so powerful a body of honest, industrious men opposed to any new scheme
of transportation, it will require a long time for the enlightened
requirements of extended commerce to displace it. The fidelity of this
class has been already, elsewhere, alluded to; and whilst it is
personally reliable and responsible, its members are scarcely ever
attacked by the bands of robbers infesting the recesses of the
mountains, and laying in wait for less numerous, resolute or organized
way-farers. Millions were, and still are, often entrusted to them with
perfect confidence by the government and the people.

Nevertheless, within the last fifteen years the growing manufactures of
Mexico required a stouter means of transportation of heavy machinery
than the limbs of a mule, and the consequence was that intelligent
foreigners availing themselves of this want in the first instance,
gradually introduced heavy wagons like those of the European _roulage_
system, into which, by degrees, they forced a large portion of the bulky
commercial freight which was to be borne from the coast into the
interior. Simultaneously with this encroachment on the mule, the
arriero, and the litera, appeared the American stage coach, built in New
York; and together with the coach and its spirited horses, came the
"Yankee driver," whose accommodating and daring character soon made him
a favorite with those whose trade he in some measure injured, though it
did not serve to protect him or his passengers from the attacks of
robbers. The line of diligences or coaches established from Vera Cruz to
the capital, passing through Jalapa, Peroté and Puebla, was gradually
extended northwards from the capital through the principal mining and
commercial cities of the north, and thus the means of swift and
comfortable travel was at length, though only recently, supplied to a
small part of Mexico.

The danger of robbers, the wretchedness of the roads, the discomfort of
inns and the old fashioned Mexican habit of staying at home, have,
therefore, hitherto prevented the masses of the people from going
abroad. A journey of two or three hundred miles, for any purpose but
business or emigration, is still regarded as an important undertaking.
When families depart on such an expedition the preparations embrace
almost every comfort and luxury required at home, except a cow and a
piano. Until very lately nothing but shelter or the commonest food was
to be had at the miserable _mesones_ or taverns along the roads. In most
of the less frequented regions this is still the case. It was necessary
therefore that travellers should be accompanied by a full complement of
servants, that they should carry with them an ample supply of bedding
and table furniture, that their long and numerous train should be fully
armed and equipped to fight its way if necessary, and that they should
be content to halt frequently, journey slowly, and linger on the road.
Inconveniences like these necessarily localized and confined all classes
of Mexicans except the very rich or those whose business imperatively
required them to encounter a life of expensive adventure. Nor was Mexico
a country of watering places and sea-side fashion, in which it was
customary, at certain seasons, for all whose means permitted, to fly
from the city to the fields or the shore for recreation and health.
Invalids, occasionally, under the stringent orders of physicians,
crawled to the warm baths or mineral waters which are abundant in a
volcanic country, but they were not followed by the idle crowds who
frequent similar places in Europe and the United States. Tens of
thousands are now living in the city of Mexico who have not even crossed
the lake to Tezcoco; while the fashionable or the wealthy are perfectly
satisfied if they make an annual peregrination in the month of May of
twelve miles to San Agustin de las Cuevas, where they spend three days
of frivolity, gambling, cockfighting, and dancing. The journeys of the
rest of the year are confined, as they are elsewhere in the Republic, to
an evening drive or ride on the Passeos and Alameda, or a more extended
excursion of a few miles to Tacubaya or San Angel. It was not the usage,
in the early days of Mexico or during the viceroyal government, to
travel for pleasure in a country conquered from the Indians, and still
ravaged by them or made insecure. The custom of the Spaniard has become
a habit of the Mexican. It may, in truth, be said that the spirit of
travel does not rule in Mexico, and that her people are stationary.
Railways do not traverse her valleys and plains, nor do electric
telegraphs convey the thoughts of her people thousands of miles in a
minute. Even the mail system is expensive, incomplete and inadequate.
Neither a steamboat nor a locomotive belongs to the nation.

In addition to all these habitual, accidental and geographical
difficulties of travelling over and exploring this mountain country, its
constant revolutionary state since the rebellion against Spain has
tended to retain people as much as possible either in the neighborhood
of their families or of their business and interests. Nor has scientific
education been extended sufficiently to form a large or enthusiastic
class of engineers who would have traversed the land and combined the
results of their observations. A few scattered students have, indeed,
published detached essays upon portions of the Republic, and the
_Comision de Estadistica Militar_ is now engaged in gathering
statistical and geographical reports of the several States. But the
elements from which these bulletins are constructed do not seem to be
collected upon any uniform system of very responsible scientific
inquiry. The local authorities from whom much of the numerical
information is necessarily obtained, if they are connected with any of
the branches of taxation, or revenue collection, are generally
unreliable or corrupt, for, in consequence of the system of peculation
which has been carried on during the late disorganized epoch of Mexican
history, it was their interest to conceal rather than to disclose facts,
especially when those facts manifested the great value or production of
the region over which they presided.

Nevertheless, amid all these sad excuses for insufficiency or
inaccuracy, we may congratulate Mexico upon the effort which she is now
making to redeem herself from the past opprobrium. The war with the
United States has taught her many things, social as well as political.
Education is beginning to be more valued and extended. Periodicals and
newspapers are more freely published and diffused. Their leading
articles and scientific communications show that new classes of writers
as well as politicians are coming readily into the field in a period of
assured peace and order. These two elements of national progress will
enable Mexico to become acquainted with herself, and when her students
disclose the result of their discoveries, we shall be glad to see our
imperfect but honest efforts superseded by a work that will confer honor
upon Spanish science and literature.



In order to afford the geographical student an idea of the central
configuration of Mexico, we annex the following tables of the lines of
levelling made by Baron Humboldt, Dr. Wislizenius, Oteiza, and Burkart,
northwardly from the city of Mexico to Santa Fé; and eastwardly from
Santa Fé to Reynosa near the Gulf of Mexico. From the first of these we
learn that the _plateau_ which forms the broad crest of the Mexican
Cordillera by no means sinks down to an inconsiderable height as was
long supposed to be the case but that it maintains, throughout, its
majestic elevation.

  1st. Elevation above the sea from the
       city of Mexico to Santa Fé.

  Mexico                   7,469   ft. above sea.
  Tula                     6,733    "    "    "
  San Juan del Ri          6,490    "    "    "
  Querétaro                6,362    "    "    "
  Celaya                   6,017    "    "    "
  Salamanca                5,761    "    "    "
  Guanajuato               6,836    "    "    "
  Silao                    5,911    "    "    "
  Villa de Leon            6,133    "    "    "
  Lagos                    6,376    "    "    "
  Aguas Calientes          6,261    "    "    "
  San Luis Potosi          6,090    "    "    "
  Zacatécas                8,038    "    "    "
  Fresnillo                7,244    "    "    "
  Durango                  6,848    "    "    "
  Parras                   4,985    "    "    "
  Saltillo,                5,240    "    "    "
  El Bolson de Mapimi      3,785    "    "    "
  Chihuahua                4,638    "    "    "
  Cosihuiriachi            6,273    "    "    "
  Paso del Norte on }
    the Rio Grande  }      3,810    "    "    "
  Santa Fé in New }
    Mexico        }        7,047    "    "    "

  2d. From Santa Fé in New Mexico
      to Reynosa on the Rio Grande.

  Santa Fé                    7,047 ft. above sea.
  3 miles N. of       }
    Alburquerque near }       4,813  "   "     "
    the Rio Grande    }
  Jornado del Muerto          4,452  "    "    "
  Brazito                     3,918  "    "    "
  Upon crossing of the }
    Rio Grande         }      3,797  "    "    "
  Paso del Norte              3,810  "    "    "
  S. of Rio Carmen            4,219  "    "    "
  S. of Gallego               5,317  "    "    "
  Rio Sacramento              4,940  "    "    "
  Chihuahua                   4,638  "    "    "
  Aguachi                     5,952  "    "    "
  Cosihuiriachi               6,273  "    "    "
  Bachimba                    3,956  "    "    "
  El Saucillo                 3,955  "    "    "
  Cadena                      5,056  "    "    "
  Mapimi                      4,487  "    "    "
  El Bolson de Mapimi         3,785  "    "    "
  Parras                      4,985  "    "    "
  La Encantada                6,104  "    "    "
  Saltillo                    5,240  "    "    "
  Rinconada                   3,381  "    "    "
  Monterey                    1,626  "    "    "
  Marin                       1,354  "    "    "
  Ceralvo                     1,006  "    "    "
  Mier                          417  "    "    "
  Camargo                       422  "    "    "[70]
   Reynosa                   104  "    "    "

"If we consider,"--says Humboldt in his Views of Nature,--"that in the
north and south direction the difference of latitude between Santa Fé
and the city of Mexico is more than sixteen degrees, and that
consequently the distance in a meridian direction, independently of
curvatures on the road is more than 960 miles, we are led to ask whether
in the whole world, there exists any similar formation of equal extent
and height, between 5,000 and 7,500 feet, above the level of the sea.
Four-wheeled wagons can travel from Mexico to Santa Fé. The plateau
whose levelling is here described is formed solely by the broad
undulating flattened crest of the chain of the Mexican Andes; it is not
the swelling of a valley between two mountain chains, such as the Great
Basin between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada of California in
the Northern Hemisphere; or the elevated plateau of the Lake of
Titicaca, between the eastern and northern chains of Bolivia; or the
plateau of Thibet between the Himilaya and Quenlun, in the Southern
Hemisphere."--Page 209, Humb. Views of Nature.



  1 onza--gold,         = 16 dollars.
  1 peso--silver,       =  1 dollar.
  1 real--silver,       = 12-1/2 cents.
  1 medio real--silver, =  6-1/4 cents.
  1 quartillo--copper,  =  3-1/8 cents.
  1 tlaco--copper,      =  1-9/16 cents.


  1 foot = 0.928 feet English.
  1 vara (three feet Mexican) = 2.784 feet English = 2 feet 9.3141 inches English.
  1 legua (26.63 to 1 meridian) = 5000 varas = 2.636 miles English.


  1 onza--(8 ochavos)    = 1 ounce.
  1 marco--(8 onzas)     = 1/2 pound.
  1 libra--(2 marcos)    = 1 pound.
  1 arroba--(25 libras)  = 25 pounds.
  1 quintal--(4 arrobas) = 100 pounds.
  1 carga--(3 quintals)  = 300 pounds.
  1 fanega--(140 pounds) = 2 bushels nearly.
  1 almuer--(almuerza)   = 1/12 of a fanega.
  1 frasco               = 5 pints nearly.[71]


  Key to column A, Names of Measures, below.

  A: Names of measures.
  B: Sitio de ganado mayor,
  C: Criadero de ganado mayor,
  D: Sitio de ganado _menor_,
  E: Criadero de ganado _menor_,
  F: Caballeria de  tierra,
  G: Media cabelleria,
  H: Cuarto cabelleria or suerte de  tierra,
  I: Fanega de sembradura de maiz,
  J: Solar para casa,
  K: Fundo legal para pueblos,

                       Length of
      Figures of       the fig.     Breadth     Areas in       Areas in
   A  measures.        in varas.    in varas.   sq. varas.     Cabellerias.

   B   Square           5,000       5,000       25,000,000       41.023
   C   Square           2,500       2,500        6,250,000       10.255
   D   Square           3,333-1/3   3,333-1/3   11,111,111-1/9   18.232
   E   Square           1,666-2/3   1,666-2/3    2,777,777-7/9    4.558
   F  { Right angled  }
      { parallelogram } 1,104         552          609,408        1
   G   Square             552         552          304,704         1/2
   H  { Right angled  }
      { parallelogram }   552         276          152,352         1/4
   I  { Right angled  }
      { parallelogram }   376         184           56,784         1/12
   J   Square              50          50            2,500        0.004
   K   Square           1,200       1,200        1,440,000        2.036

The Mexican _Vara_ is the unit of all measure of length, the pattern and
size of which are taken from the _Castilian Vara of the Mark of Burgos_,
which is the legal vara used in the Republic. Fifty Mexican varas make a
measure called _Cordel_, used in measuring lands.

The legal _league_ contains 900 _cordels_, or 5000 _varas_. The league
is divided into halves and quarters--this being the only division made
of it. Anciently the Mexican league was divided into three miles, the
mile into a thousand paces of Solomon, and one of these paces into
five-thirds of a Mexican vara--consequently the league had 3000 paces of
Solomon. This division is recognized in legal affairs, though it has
been long in disuse. The _mark_ was equivalent to two varas and
seven-eighths, that is, 8 marks contained 22 varas, and was used in land

See Appendix No. 9 to Captain Halleck's Report on Californian
affairs,--pages 119 and 145 of Executive Document No. 17, 31st Congress,
1st Session.








It was not until a few years ago that the people of the United States
generally began to turn their attention to the development of those vast
regions lying in the far west and along the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
An occasional adventurer or foreign traveller returned from the Rocky
Mountains after a pleasant but wild sojourn among the trappers and
Indians, and told his romantic stories to eager listeners. At length,
Major Long penetrated their recesses,--Nicollet sought the sources of
the Mississippi,--and Frémont not only pushed his way beyond them, but
traversed the majestic snow-buried summits of the Sierra Nevada and
explored the genial lands lying at their feet in California.

Meanwhile a trade had grown up, midway from the Atlantic to the Pacific,
between our western cities and the northern States of Mexico. But this,
too, was an intercourse of mingled adventure, romance and commerce. Its
objects and results were not generally known or recounted in the
gazettes. Its hardy pursuers who were equally ready for a bargain or a
battle, did not commonly amuse themselves either with correspondence or
authorship, and accordingly, "The Santa Fé Trade" remained as much a
matter of mystery to the mass of Americans as the marches of those great
caravans which in the east annually traverse the desert towards the tomb
of the Prophet.

       *       *       *       *       *

The origin of this trade is not definitely known. A certain James
Pursely, who wandered in the lonely regions west of the Mississippi
about the year 1805, and learned something respecting the settlements in
New Mexico from Indians near the sources of the Platte river, is
supposed to have been the first _American_ who visited Santa Fé in this
direction; though, in the previous year, a _French Creole_ named La
Lande, had been despatched by Mr. Morrison, a merchant of Kaskaskia,
with orders if possible to reach Santa Fé. It is known that this person
arrived at his destination, but was so delighted with the country and so
well entertained, that he never returned, and probably established
himself in successful trade upon the capital of his confiding employer.

From this period, and after the Southern Expedition of Captain Pike,
very little is heard of this distant region until a caravan was fitted
out under the auspices of Messrs. Knight, Beard, Chambers, and about
eight other persons, in the year 1812. They reached Santa Fé in an
unlucky hour. The revolutionary movements which had been disturbing
Mexico were just then checked by the successes of the royalists, and the
traders were siezed as spies, their goods confiscated, and themselves
confined in the prisons of Chihuahua for nine years, when McKnight and
his comrades were finally released. As soon as these luckless
adventurers reached the United States, their return, their narratives
and the probable settlement of the Mexican revolution by the successes
of Iturbidé, induced others to fit out expeditions at once. A merchant
of Ohio, named Glenn, and Captain Becknell, of Missouri, set out
forthwith; and in 1824, about eighty traders, accompanied by several
intelligent and cultivated Missourians, departed not only with
pack-mules, which had hitherto served for the transportation of goods,
but with twenty-five wheeled vehicles of which one or two were stout
road _wagons_, the whole conveying a freight of near thirty thousand
dollars in merchandise. The caravan crossed the desert-plains after an
eventful journey; and some years after--as the early adventurers had
experienced no serious molestations from the Indians,--a wealthier class
of traders, availed themselves of the opened commerce of the Prairies
and finally established the annual caravans which within recent years
have departed from the neighborhood of Independence, laden with most
valuable freights for the markets of Santa Fé, Chihuahua, and even the
distant Fair of San Juan de los Lagos.

In time, however, the caravans, the period of their passage, and their
value, became known to the savages through whose lonely territory they
passed, and so many cruel attacks were made, that the United States
resolved to protect them and established military convoys for the most
dangerous part of the route. But these were not always of sufficient
size, nor did they cover the road adequately; for the escort which
accompanied the caravan of 1829, and another composed of sixty dragoons
under Captain Wharton in 1834, constituted the only government
protection until the year 1843, when large escorts under Captain Cook
attended two different caravans as far as the Arkansas river. Since that
period, the war has slightly interfered with the trade; but the Treaty
of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, having given New Mexico to the United
States, and a territorial government having been formed for it during
the first session of the thirty-first Congress, a new and progressive
era is about to dawn upon the whole of the hitherto lonely waste between
the western settlements of Texas and the shores of the Pacific.

By an act approved on the 9th of September, 1850, it is provided: "That
all that portion of the territory of the United States bounded as
follows: beginning at a point in the Colorado river, where the boundary
line with the Republic of Mexico crosses the same; thence eastwardly
with the said boundary line to the Rio Grande; thence following the main
channel of said river to the parallel of the thirty-second degree of
north latitude; thence east with said degree to its intersection with
the one hundred and third degree of longitude west of Greenwich; thence
north with said degree of longitude to the parallel of the thirty-eighth
degree of north latitude; thence west with said parallel to the summit
of the Sierra Madre; thence south with the crest of said mountains to
the thirty-seventh parallel of north latitude; thence west with said
parallel to its intersection with the boundary line of the State of
California; thence with said boundary line to the place of
beginning,--be and the same is hereby erected into a temporary
government, by the name of the TERRITORY OF NEW MEXICO: _Provided_, That
nothing in this act contained shall be construed to inhibit the
Government of the United States from dividing said Territory into two or
more Territories, in such manner and at such times as Congress shall
deem convenient and proper, or from attaching any portion thereof to any
other Territory or State: _And provided, further_, That, when admitted
as a State, the said Territory, or any portion of the same, shall be
received into the Union with or without slavery, as their constitution
may prescribe at the time of their admission."

Under the old Spanish and Mexican governments, the boundaries of New
Mexico were exceedingly indefinite; but this act forever fixes the
territorial limits, and also settles the long vexed question of the
boundary of Texas.

"New Mexico," says Dr. Wislizenius, in his excellent memoir on the
northern part of the Republic; "is a very mountainous country, with a
large valley in the middle, running from north to south, and formed by
the Rio del Norte or Rio Grande. The valley is generally about twenty
miles wide, and bordered on the east and west by mountain chains,
continuations of the Rocky Mountains, which have received different
names, such as La Sierra Blanca; Los Organos, and Oscura, on the eastern
side of the stream; and the Sierra de las Grullas, De Acha, and De los
Mimbres, towards the west. The height of these mountains south of Santa
Fé, may be averaged between six and eight thousand feet, while near
Santa Fé and the more northern regions, some snow covered peaks are seen
rising probably ten or twelve thousand feet above the sea. The mountains
are principally composed of igneous rocks, as granite, sienite, diorite,
and basalt. On the higher mountains excellent pine timber grows; on the
lower, cedars and sometimes oak, and in the valley of the Rio Grande,
principally mezquite.

The main artery of New Mexico is the Rio del Norte or Rio Grande, the
longest and largest river ever possessed by Mexico. Its head waters were
explored in 1807 by Captain Pike, between 37° and 38° north latitude;
but its highest sources are supposed to be about two degrees further
north in the Rocky Mountains, near the head waters of the Arkansas and
the Rio Grande or Colorado of the west. Following a general southern
direction, it runs through New Mexico--where its principal affluent is
the Rio Chamas from the west--and then winds its way in a south-eastern
direction, through the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, and
Texas, to the Gulf of Mexico in 25° 56´ north latitude. Its tributaries
in the latter States are the Pecos, from the north; the Conchos, Salado,
Alamo, and San Juan, from the south. The whole course of the river, in a
straight line, would be near twelve hundred miles; but from the
meandering of its lower half, it runs at least about two thousand miles
from the region of eternal snow to the almost tropical climate of the
Gulf. The elevation of the stream above the sea at Alburquerque, in New
Mexico, is about forty-eight hundred feet; at El Paso del Norte, about
thirty-eight hundred; and at Reynosa,--between three and four hundred
miles from its mouth--about one hundred and seventy feet. The fall of
its water between Alburquerque and El Paso, appears to be from two to
three feet in a mile, and below Reynosa, one foot in two miles. This
fall of the river is seldom used as motive power, except for some flour
mills, which are oftener worked by mules than water. The principal
advantage at present derived from it is for agriculture, by a well
conducted system of irrigation. As to its navigation, it is very
doubtful if even canoes could be used _in New Mexico_, except, perhaps,
during May and June, when the stream, from the melting of the snow in
the mountains, is at its highest stage. It is entirely too shallow and
interrupted by too many sand bars, to promise any thing for
transportation; yet, on the southern portion, the recent exploration by
Captain Sterling, in the United States steamer Major Brown, has proved
that steamboats may ascend for a distance of seven hundred miles between
the Gulf and Laredo. This steamer, however, did not draw over two feet
of water, but the explorers are of opinion that by spending one hundred
thousand dollars in a proper improvement of the Rio Grande above the
town of Mier, boats drawing four feet could readily ply between the
mouth of the river and Laredo.

The soil in the valley of the Rio Grande, in New Mexico, is generally
sandy and appears to be poor; yet, by irrigation, it is made to produce
abundant crops. Though agriculture has been hitherto carried on in a
very primitive way, either with the hoe alone, or with a very rough
plough made entirely of wood, nevertheless the inhabitants raise large
quantities of the staple productions--such as Indian corn, wheat, beans,
onions, red peppers, and some fruits. The most fertile part of the
valley, begins below Santa Fé along the river, and is called the 'Rio
abajo,' or Country down the Stream. In that region it is not uncommon to
gather two annual harvests. The general dryness of the climate and
aridity of the soil will always confine agriculture to the valleys of
water courses, which rarely contain running water during the whole year.
But on several occasions it was remarked, in the high table land from
Santa Fé south, that at a certain depth layers of clay are found, that
may form reservoirs for the sunken water courses from the eastern and
western mountain chain, and consequently, by the improved method of
boring, or by Artesian wells, they might easily be made to yield their
water to the surface. If experiments to that effect should prove
successful, the progress of agriculture in New Mexico would be more
rapid, and, even many of the dreaded 'Jornadas' might be changed from
waterless deserts into cultivated plains.

The present system of irrigation is effected by daming the streams, and
throwing the water into larger and smaller ditches or _acequias_
surrounding and intersecting the whole cultivated land. The inhabitants
of towns and villages locate their farms together, and allot to each the
use of a part of the water at certain definite periods. These common
fields are generally left without fences, for the grazing cattle are
always guarded by _vaqueros_ or herdsmen. The finest cultivated fields
are generally seen on the _haciendas_, or large estates belonging to the
rich proprietors. These _haciendas_ are a remnant of the old Spanish
system by which large tracts, with the appurtenances of Indian
inhabitants or serfs were granted by the crown to its vassals. The great
number of human beings attached to such estates, are, in fact, nothing
more than slaves; they receive from their masters only food, lodging,
and raiment, or, perhaps a mere nominal pay, and are kept constantly in
debt and dependance on their landlords; so that if ancient custom and
natural indolence did not compel them to remain permanently with their
hereditary masters, the enforcement of Mexican laws against debtors
would be sufficient to prolong their servitude from generation to

Besides agriculture, the New Mexicans pay a great deal of attention to
the raising of cattle. Their stock is all of a small size, raised from
unimproved or exhausted breeds; but it increases rapidly, and as no
stable feeding is needed in winter, it exacts but little care from its
owners. There are large tracts of land in New Mexico, either too
mountainous or too distant from water to be cultivated, which,
nevertheless, afford excellent pasturage for innumerable herds during
the whole year; but, unfortunately, here as well as in the State of
Chihuahua, cattle raising has been crippled by the incursions of hostile
Indians, who consider themselves 'secret partners' in the business, and
annually carry off their share from the unprotected _vaqueros_.

A third much neglected branch of industry in New Mexico, is that of
mining. Numerous deserted mining places in this region prove that it was
pursued with much greater zeal in Spanish times than at present. This
may be accounted for by the actual want of capital and knowledge of
mining, but, especially, by the unsettled state of the country and the
arbitrary conduct of its rulers. The mountainous parts of New Mexico are
considered extremely rich in gold, copper, iron, and some silver. Gold
seems to be found to a large extent in all the mountains near Santa Fé;
south of it, at a distance of about one hundred miles as far as "Gran
Quivara," and north for about one hundred and twenty miles up to the
river Sangre de Christo. Throughout the whole of this region gold dust
has been abundantly found by the poorer classes of Mexicans, who occupy
themselves with washing it from the mountain streams. At present the Old
and New _Placeres_, or places where gold is obtained near Santa Fé, have
attracted most attention, and not only _gold washes_ but _gold mines_,
also, are worked there. Yet they are probably the _only_ gold mines at
present wrought in the territory. The _wash gold_ when examined was
found to contain:

  Native Gold,      92.5
  Silver,            3.5
  Iron and Silex,    4.0

while the total annual production of both _placeres_ seems to have
varied considerably;--in some years it was estimated at from thirty to
forty thousand dollars, in others from sixty to eighty thousand, and in
latter years, it is reputed to have ascended to even two hundred and
fifty thousand.

Several rich silver mines were, in Spanish times, worked at Avo, at
Cerillos, and in the Nambe mountains, but none are in operation at
present. Copper is found in _abundance_ throughout the country, but
principally at Las Tijeras, Jemas, Abiquia, and Gudalupita de Mora, but
until a recent period only one copper mine was wrought south of the
_placeres_. Iron, though also existing in very large quantities, has
been entirely overlooked. Coal is found in different localities--as in
the Raton mountains; in the vicinity of the village of Jimez, south-west
of Santa Fé; and in spots south of the _placeres_. Gypsum, common and
selenite, are discovered abundantly, and it is said that most extensive
layers exist in the mountains near Algodon, on the Rio Grande, and in
the neighborhood of the celebrated _Salinas_. It is used as common lime
for white-washing, while the crystalline or selenite is employed instead
of window glass. About one hundred miles, south south-east of Santa Fé,
on the high table land between the Rio Grande and Pecos, are some
extensive _salinas_ or salt lakes, from which all the salt used in New
Mexico is procured. Large caravans from Santa Fé visit this place every
year during the dry season, and return heavily laden with the precious
deposits. They either sell it for one and sometimes two dollars per
bushel, or exchange a bushel of salt for a bushel of Indian corn.

The climate of New Mexico differs of course in the higher mountainous
parts from the lower valley of the Rio Grande; but, generally, it is
temperate, constant and healthy. The summer heat in the valley of the
river sometimes rises to near 100° Farenheit; yet the nights are always
cool, pleasant, and refreshing. The winters are longer and severer than
in Chihuahua, for the higher mountains are always covered with snow,
while ice and snow are common in Santa Fé, though the Rio Grande is
never sufficiently frozen to admit the passage of horses and vehicles.
The sky is generally clear and the atmosphere dry. Between July and
October rain falls; but the wet season is not so constant or regular as
in the Southern States of the Mexican Republic. Disease seems to be very
little known except in the form of inflammations and typhoidal fevers
during the winter.


Between the Indians and the whites,--except perhaps on the
haciendas--there still continues the same old rancorous feeling which
generated the general insurrection narrated in the historical part of
this work. The PUEBLO Indians live always isolated in their villages,
cultivate the soil, raise some stock, and are generally poor, frugal,
and sober. These various tribes, of which a large number still exist,
are reduced to probably about seven thousand souls. They speak
different dialects and sometimes broken Spanish. For the government of
their communities they select a _Cacique_ and a council, and in war are
led by a Capitan. In religious rites they mingle Catholicism and
Paganism. Their villages are very regularly built; though sometimes,
there is but one large house of several stories, with a vast number of
small rooms, in which all the inhabitants of the _pueblo_ are quartered!
Instead of doors in front, traps are made on the roofs of their
dwellings to which they ascend by a ladder that is withdrawn during the
night so as to secure them, from surprise or attack. Their dress
consists of moccasins, short breeches and a woollen jacket or blanket;
their black hair is usually worn long, while bows and arrows together
with a lance and sometimes a gun compose their weapons.[72]

       *       *       *       *       *

The late Governor, Charles Bent, in a report to the United States
Government from Santa Fé in 1846, presents the following statement of
the tribes and numbers of the WILD INDIANS, who reside or roam in the
regions which were then supposed to be comprised in New Mexico. Bent's
perfect familiarity with a district in which he had so long dwelt or
traded, renders his enumeration of these savages an important historical
fact in the history of the newly acquired Territory.

  Apaches or Jicarillas,       100 lodges comprising 500 souls.
  Apaches proper,       800 or 900   "        "    5,500   "
  Utahs, Grande Unita rivers,  600   "        "    3,000   "
  Utahs, Southern,             200   "        "    1,400   "
  Navajos,                   1,000 families   "    7,000   "
  Moques,                      350   "        "    2,450   "
  Comanches,                 2,500 lodges     "   12,000   "
  Cayugas,                     400   "        "    2,000   "
  Cheyennes,                   300   "        "    1,500   "
  Arapahoes,                   400   "        "    1,600   "
              TOTAL,                              36,950   "

According to a report made in October, 1849, by Mr. James S. Calhoun,
Indian Agent at Santa Fé, the following summary of the _Pueblos_, and
_Pueblo Indians_ of New Mexico, is based on a census ordered by the
legislature of New Mexico, convened in December, 1847; but it includes
only individuals five years of age and upwards.


                                                PUEBLO INDIANS
    Counties.               PUEBLOS.             over 5 years

  County of Taos,         Taos, Picoris                283
      "     Rio Arriva,   San Juan, Santa Clara        500
      "     Santa Fé,   { San Ildefonso, Namba, }
                        { Pojoaque, Tezuque     }      590
                        { Cochiti,  Santo Domingo,}
      "     Santa Anna, { San Félipé, Santa Anna, }  1,918
                        { Ziá, Jemez,             }
      "     Bernalillo,   Sandia, Gleta,               833
      "     Valencia,     Laguna, Acoma, Zunia,      1,800
  Opposite El Paso,       Socoro, Islettas,            600
    Total of PUEBLOS 21.    Total of Pueblo Indians  6,524

These calculations will serve to aid in the estimates of present
population, for no accurate census has been prepared officially for many

In 1793, according to an enumeration then made, the _whole_ population
amounted to 30,953:--in 1833 it is estimated, in the statistics of
Galvan's Calendar, at 52,300 individuals, who were divided by
Mühlenpfordt and Dr. Wislizenius into 1/20 pure Spanish blood, 4/20
Creoles, 5/20 Mestizos, and 10/20 Pueblo Indians. These calculations,
according to the above census of _Pueblo Indians_, would make the whole
present population not more than thirteen or fourteen thousand, which is
obviously incorrect unless the census of 1847 was most inaccurately

In a letter from the Hon. Hugh N. Smith, delegate from New Mexico,
addressed to the National Intelligencer, Washington, and published on
the 25th of June, 1850, he desires to correct the mistakes which have
been made in regard to the number and character of the inhabitants of
New Mexico. The number, he says, has been variously stated in the
Congressional debates at from ten to seventy thousand; and generally
_one half_, and sometimes _all_ of them, are said to be _Indians_. "This
is a great error," continues the delegate, "we have a population of at
least ninety thousand, of whom from ten to twelve thousand only are
Pueblo Indians, and we do not estimate in our population any other kind
of Indians except Pueblos. They are a quiet, inoffensive, honest, and
industrious people; they own the best farming lands in the Territory,
and are engaged entirely in agricultural pursuits, and, as tax-paying
Indians, would be entitled to the privileges of citizens, and of the
elective franchise in Texas.

"The census taken in New Mexico the year before the entrance of General
Kearney into that Territory, showed the population to be one hundred
thousand and two or three hundred over. This may not have been taken
with great accuracy, but the best informed persons, and those who have
lived there longest agree with me that we have not less than ninety
thousand. Dr. Wislizenius, who is generally correct in his accounts of
travel, and who is relied upon as good authority, in his statistics of
that country, is certainly mistaken in saying that ten-twentieths, or
one-half of the population, are Pueblo Indians. I have travelled through
the settled parts of that country two or three times a year for the last
three years, and I know that not a fifth, or even one-sixth are Indians.

"There are in New Mexico from twelve to fifteen hundred resident
_American voters_, emigrants from the different States, principally from
the State of Missouri; the rest of the population is Mexican and

Upon these estimates and calculations it would perhaps be fair, in
arriving at a proximate enumeration of inhabitants, to give the
following ratios:--

  WILD INDIANS, according to Governor Charles Bent,   36,950
  PUEBLO INDIANS, according to enumeration,            6,524
  WHITE CREOLES, according to Dr. Gregg,               1,000
  MESTIZOS,          "        "    "                  59,000
  AMERICANS, according to Hon. Hugh N. Smith,          1,500
    _Deduct_ from this for _Wild Indians_,            36,950
    _Deduct_ from this for _Pueblo Indians_,           6,524

The more civilized inhabitants of New Mexico resemble their parent stock
in character and manners, save that they are somewhat tinctured with the
habits of the Indian race, whose blood is mingled more or less in the
veins of all classes. The men are homely, the women pretty, and while
the former are generally condemned for their indolence, insincerity and
treacherousness, the latter are praised by all travellers for their
frank, affectionate and gentle demeanor. Very little was ever done for
education in this remote Territory, which was almost cut-off from the
civilizing influences of the rest of the world. Its governors,--either
sent by the central authorities of the Mexican Republic, or chosen by
the people themselves,--were often overthrown by bloody revolutions;
but, while in power, they used their offices as a prolific means of
enriching themselves. Their intercourse with strangers from the north,
and their facilities in fraudulently collecting or compromising duties
upon the trade of the caravans, were constantly taken advantage of by
the rapacious chiefs; nor could the national authorities attempt to
control them, for the distance of Santa Fé from the capital always made
the loyalty of New Mexico loose and insecure.[74] The governors,
judiciary, and clergy of the Territory, naturally fostered this feeling
among the people, and in many instances it was beneficial to the north
of the Republic, especially in opposing the establishment of the tobacco
monopoly and in resisting the introduction of the copper currency which
elsewhere caused so much distress and ruin.

       *       *       *       *       *

The principal town in New Mexico is Santa Fé, or, as it is often written
by Spaniards and Mexicans, Santa Fé de San Francisco. It is one of the
oldest Spanish settlements in the north, and lies at an elevation of
7047 feet above the sea, in 35° 41´ 6´´, north latitude, and 106° 2´
30´´, longitude west from Greenwich, according to the observations of
Lieutenant Colonel Emory of the United States Topographical Engineers,
and of Doctors Gregg and Wislizenius. The town is situated in a wide
plain surrounded by mountains, about fifteen miles east of the Rio
Grande del Norte. Immediately west of the town a snow-capped mountain
rises up to a lofty height, and a beautiful stream of small mill power
size, ripples down its sides and joins the river about twenty miles to
the south-westward.

Santa Fé is an irregular, scattered town, built of _adobes_ or sun dried
bricks, while most of its streets are common highways traversing
settlements interspersed with extensive cornfields. The only attempt at
any thing like architectural compactness and precision, says Dr. Gregg,
consists in four tiers of buildings, whose fronts are shaded with a
fringe of rude _portales_ or corridors. They stand around the public
square, and comprise the _Palacio_ or Governor's house, the custom
house, barracks, calabozo, casa consistorial, the military chapel,
besides several private residences, as well as most of the shops of the
American traders.

[Illustration: PARROQUIA DE SANTA FÉ.]

ALBURQUERQUE is a town as large as Santa Fé, stretched for several miles
along the left bank of the Rio Grande, and if not a handsomer, is at
least not a worse looking place than the capital.

The population of New Mexico, owing to the insecure tenure of life on a
frontier which is constantly liable to the ravages of wild Indians, has
always clustered together in towns and villages. These are scattered
along the valley of the rivers, and are commonly known as the "rio
arriva" and "rio abajo" or "up stream" and "down stream" settlements.
Even individual _ranchos_ and _haciendas_ serve as the _nucleii_ of
large neighborhoods, and finally become important villages. All the
principal locations of this character lie in the valley between one
hundred miles north and one hundred and forty south of the capital. The
most important of these next to the capital, is EL VALLE DE TAOS, whose
name is derived from the Taosa tribe, a remnant of which still forms a
Pueblo in the north of the district. No part of New Mexico equals this
spot in productiveness; and although the bottom lands of the valleys
where irrigation may be easily obtained have often produced over a
hundred fold, yet the uplands throughout all these elevated plains
about the Rocky Mountains, must, in all probability, remain sterile in
consequence of the extraordinary dryness of the atmosphere. Indeed, New
Mexico possesses but few of those natural advantages which are necessary
to a rapid progress of civilization. It is a region without a single
communication by water with any other part of the world, and is
imprisoned by chains of mountains extending for more than five hundred
miles, except in the direction of Chihuahua from which, however, its
settlements are separated by a dreary desert of nearly two hundred

"Some general statistics of the Santa Fé trade," says Dr. Gregg, "may
prove not wholly without interest to the mercantile reader. With this
view I have prepared the following table of the probable amount of
merchandise invested in the Santa Fé trade, from 1822 to 1843 inclusive,
and about the portion of the same transferred to the Southern markets
(chiefly Chihuahua) during the same period; together with the
approximate number of wagons, men and proprietors engaged each year:

  | Years.|  Amount|Wagons.| Men. | Prop' | Train to |      Remarks.                       |
  |       |   Mdse.|       |      | ietors| Chihuahua|                                     |
  | 1822  |  15,000|       |   70 |     60|          | Pack-animals only used.             |
  | 1823  |  12,000|       |   50 |     30|          |     do.          do.                |
  | 1824  |  35,000|    26 |  100 |     80|    3,000 |     do. and wagons.                 |
  | 1825  |  65,000|    37 |  130 |     90|    5,000 |     do.       do.                   |
  | 1826  |  90,000|    60 |  100 |     70|    7,000 | Wagons only henceforth.             |
  | 1827  |  85,000|    55 |   90 |     50|    8,000 |                                     |
  | 1828  | 150,000|   100 |  200 |     80|   20,000 | Three men killed, being the first.  |
  | 1829  |  60,000|    30 |   50 |     20|    5,000 | 1st U. S. Escort--one trader killed.|
  | 1830  | 120,000|    70 |  140 |     60|   20,000 | First oxen used by traders.         |
  | 1831  | 250,000|   130 |  320 |     80|   80,000 | Two men killed.                     |
  | 1832  | 140,000|    70 |  150 |     40|   50,000 | {Party defeated on Canadian         |
  | 1833  | 180,000|   105 |  185 |     60|   80,000 | {2 men killed, 3 perished.          |
  | 1834  | 150,000|    80 |  160 |     50|   70,000 | 2d U. S. Escort                     |
  | 1835  | 140,000|    75 |  140 |     40|   70,000 |                                     |
  | 1836  | 130,000|    70 |  135 |     35|   60,000 |                                     |
  | 1837  | 150,000|    80 |  160 |     35|   80,000 |                                     |
  | 1838  |  90,000|    50 |  100 |     20|   40,000 |                                     |
  | 1839  | 250,000|   130 |  250 |     40|  100,000 | Arkansas Expedition.                |
  | 1840  |  50,000|    30 |   60 |      5|   10,000 | Chihuahua Expedition.               |
  | 1841  | 150,000|    60 |  100 |     12|   80,000 | Texan Santa Fé Expedition.          |
  | 1842  | 160,000|    70 |  120 |     15|   90,000 |                                     |
  | 1843  | 450,000|   230 |  350 |     30|  300,000 | 3d U. S. Escort--Ports closed."[76] |

The following valuable geographical information is derived from a
statement published by Major James Henry Carleton, United States Army,
in the National Intelligencer, and is founded on the measurements made
by Captain Alexander H. Dyer, with a viameter, during the march of
General Kearney against New Mexico.

[Illustration: SANTA FE.]


           Points.           Distance from     Distance from
                             place to place.   Fort Leavenworth.

    Fort Leavenworth to--        _Miles._             _Miles._
  Upper Ferry, Kansas river,       35                 35
  Willow Spring,                   17                 52
  110 Creek,                       24                 76
  Beaver Creek,                    12                 88
  Dragoon Creek,                    8                 96
  Bluff Creek,                     13                109
  Council Grove,                   12                121
  Diamond Spring,                  15                136
  Lost Spring,                     14                150
  Cotton Wood,                     15                165
  Main Turkey Creek,               18                183
  Little Arkansas,                 26                209
  Big Cow Creek,                   21                230
  Walnut Creek,                    25                255
  Pawnee Fork,                     25                280
  Cow Creek,                       12                292
  Fort Mann,                       55                347
  Crossing of Arkansas,            26                373
  Sand Creek,                      50                423
  Lower Spring on Cimerone,         8                431
  Middle Spring,                   34                465
  Crossing of Cimerone,            27                492
  Cold Spring,                     18                510
  Cedar Spring,                    14                524
  McNee's Creek,                   10                534
  Cotton Wood,                     10                544
  Rabbit-ear Spring,               14                558
  Whetstone,                       24                582
  Point-of-Rocks,                  15                597
  Red River,                       21                618
  Ocate,                            5                623
  Wagon Mound,                     20                643
  Rock Creek,                      16                659
  Mora River,                       8                667
  Las Vegas,                       19                686
  St  Miguel,                      23                709
  Old Peco Church,                 24                733

          Points.                    Distance from       Distance from
                                     place to place.   Fort Leavenworth.

    Old Pecos Church to--               _Miles._            _Miles._
  Santa Fé,                               24                  757
  Alburquerque,                           65                  822
  Peralto (The Oteros),                   45                  887
  La Joya,
  Socorro,                                18                  905
  Ford of Del Norte, above the ruins of
    Valverde,[77]                         25                  930
  Fra Christoval, entrance of Jornada
    de los Muertos,                       16                  946
  Doña Anna (Mexican town),               95                1,041
  Grove on river,                         15                1,056
  Brazito,                                16                1,072
  El Paso,                                32                1,104

NOTE.--The boundary line between the United States and Mexico, leaves
the Del Norte a few miles above the town of El Paso, running west
towards the Gila.



The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo confirmed the title to Upper California
which the United States had gained by war. Although the geographical
position of that region, the security of its harbors, and the supposed
value of its soil, had attracted the attention of our people at an early
day, it was not imagined, at the period of the cession, that the new
territory would so soon become the nucleus of the first Anglo-Saxon
empire on the shores of the Pacific. Its rapid development was owing
rather to circumstances of an extraordinary character, than to the
commercial and progressive spirit of our citizens; but the national
energy which is always alive to individual interests, was never more
completely illustrated than by the alacrity with which all classes
rushed to the new scenes of labor, and turned to gold the soils that
Indians and Mexicans had trodden for centuries as worthless sand.

Lower California was discovered, visited, and partly settled by the
Spanish adventurers soon after the Mexican conquest, and although the
coasts of Upper California had been explored in 1542, it was not until
the eighteenth century that the "spiritual conquest" of that distant
region was undertaken by the Roman clergy, under whose directions the
missions were founded upon a "pious fund," created by the zealous
Catholics of Mexico. At that time it was supposed that the civilizing
influences of religion would not only win thousands of savages to the
worship of God, but that by blending agriculture and trade under the
tutelage of the church, the Indians might be rendered valuable subjects
of the Spanish crown. The government well knew that the Spaniards were
neither sufficiently numerous nor adventurous in Mexico to throw large
bodies of hardy men into so remote a province on the shores of the
Pacific, and it was, therefore, imagined that the actual native
population of the district might be tamed by religion to supply the
place of Christian immigration.

All the explorers who visited Upper California reported favorably on the
character of the country. It was known to possess inducements to a
profitable trade. The golden east opened its gates in front of it; and
the country was supposed to contain valuable metallic deposits which
might be slowly and surely developed. But the labors of the clergy did
not respond to the expectations of the government. The priests were
contented with present comfort rather than anxious for future success.
The mass of the Indians were brought into a state of comparative
vassalage, as we have seen in the chapter on the church of Mexico, and
all the most valuable or accessible lands were rapidly absorbed, to the
exclusion of hardy, persevering, and thrifty white men.[78]

Although the clergy were the virtual proprietors of the agricultural and
cattle raising districts, the viceroyal government contrived to retain a
loose and limited control over this district, until the period of the
revolution. In 1824, on the adoption of the federal constitution, as the
Californias did not possess sufficient population to become States of
the federation, they were erected into Territories, with a right to send
a member to the general congress, who, though suffered to participate in
debate, was not allowed to vote in its decisions. As Territories they
were under the government of an agent styled the Commandant-General,
whose powers were very extensive.

After the revolution the first progressive step was made by the
secularization of the missions. In 1833, under the vigorous lead of
Gomez Farias, the salaries of the monks were suspended, the Indians were
released from servitude, the pious fund was confiscated, the division of
property among natives and settlers decreed, and an extensive plan
proposed to fill the country by immigration. These blows fell heavily
upon the monastic farmers and herdsmen of those trading churches. The
missions were speedily deserted, their edifices and establishments
decayed, and, near the period of their close, the whole result of this
abortive ecclesiastical civilization, was summed up in the paltry
numbers exhibited in the following statement:


  Names of the Jurisdictions,            PEOPLE OF ALL CLASSES AND AGES.
       Missions, and Towns.           Men.  Women.  Boys.  Girls.  Total.

  PRESIDIO OF S. FRANCISCO            124      85     89     73      371
  Town of San José de Guadalupe       166     145    103    110      524
  Mission of S. Francisco Solano      285     242     88     90      705
     id.  of S. Rafael                406     410    105    106     1027
     id.  of S. Francisco             146      65     13     13      237
     id.  of Santa Clara              752     491     68     60     1371
     id.  of S. José                  823     659    100    145     1727
     id.  of Santa Cruz               222      94     30     20      366

  PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY                311     190    110     97      708
  Village of Branciforte               52      34     27     17      130
  Mission of S. Juan Bautista         480     351     85     71      987
     id.  of S. Carlos                102      79     34     21      236
     id.  of Na. sa. de la Soledad    210      81     23     20      334
     id.  of S. Antonio               394     209     51     17      671
     id.  of S. Miguel                349     292     46     61      748
     id.  of S. Luis Obispo           211     103      8      7      329

  PRESIDIO OF STA. BARBARA            167     120    162    164      613
  Mission of La Purissima             151     218     47     34      450
     id.  of Sta. Ines                142     136     82     96      456
     id.  of Sta. Barbara             374     267     51     70      762
     id.  of Buenaventura             383     283     66     59      791
     id.  of S. Fernando              249     226    177    181      833
  Town of la Reyna de los Angelos     552     421    213    202     1388

  PRESIDIO OF S. DIEGO                295}
  Mission of S. Gabriel               574}
     id.  of S. Juan Capistrano       464}   1911    683    621     5686
     id.  of S. Luis Rey             1138}
     id.  of S. Diego                 750     520    162    146     1575
                                    ------   ----   ----   ----   ------
                        [79]Totals  10,272   7632   2623   2498   23,025

Agriculture had always been most carelessly conducted. The implements
used in the fields were nearly the same as those introduced by the
earliest settlers. The mills were few and primitive; and although the
same extent of ground yielded nearly three times as much wheat as in
England, and returned corn at the rate of one hundred and fifty fold,
yet nothing was cultivated that was not absolutely needed for the
maintenance of the missions and their immediate neighborhoods. There was
no commerce to carry off the excess of production, and no enterprise to
create a surplus for the purposes of trade.

At this epoch the whole cereal production of Upper California did not

  63,000 bushels of wheat.
  28,000    "    of corn.
   4,200    "    of frijoles or brown beans.
   2,800    "    of garabanzos or peas.
  18,500    "    barley.

The Californians, of that period, seem however, to have particularly
delighted in the care of cattle. The idle, roving life of herdsmen, who
might wander over the plains and mountains in search of their flocks,
was peculiarly suited to a population emerging from the nomadic state;
and accordingly we find that the region was well stocked, whilst the
missions and their dependencies flourished. In 1831, Mr. Forbes tells
us, that there were in this province,--

  216,727    Horned Cattle,
   32,100    Horses,
    2,844    Mules,
      177    Asses,
  153,455    Sheep,
    1,873    Goats,
      839    Swine.

In addition to these there were vast numbers, roaming at large, which
were not marked or _branded_, according to California laws, as belonging
to any of the jurisdictions, missions, haciendas or towns. These were
hunted and slain to prevent their interference with the pasturage of the
more useful and appropriated cattle; yet from all this multitude but
little profit was gained except for hides and tallow. Beef was not
salted and prepared for foreign markets, the dairy was altogether
neglected, and butter and cheese almost unknown. In the earlier days of
the settlement, many thousand cattle were annually driven either to the
city of Mexico or to the interior provinces from the large estates on
the Pacific; but that traffic was gradually abandoned under the habitual
sloth of the people, nor was it until many years after the trade of the
ports was opened by the war of independence, that a comparatively brisk
intercourse opened with the Sandwich Islands and our own people, who
were willing to exchange their manufactures for the hides and tallow of
the Californians.

       *       *       *       *       *

Such was the condition of affairs in this primitive pastoral region when
the war between Mexico and the United States broke out. For a long time
the natives and settlers had been discontented with their national
government that usurped the milder sway of the clergy; yet it is
probable that most of the revolutionary movements were founded on
personal ambition and avarice rather than patriotic impulses, nor is it
likely that the territory would have secured its independence without
the aid of a foreign power. British interests had undoubtedly counselled
the acquisition of California; but the fate of war suddenly threw it
into our hands, and probably at the very moment when English subjects
and the Mexican government were combining to exclude us from the
positions on the Pacific which were so necessary for our mercantile
progress as well as political and maritime convenience.

As soon as the country was quieted by the arrangement which Colonel
Frémont made with the Californian leaders at Couenga, the people who had
been engaged in the brief local war returned to their peaceful
avocations. Our forces were stationed in small detachments, from
Sutter's fort to San Diego, while our national vessels were anchored in
the different harbors throughout the whole coast. In the maritime towns
the supreme authorities collected a revenue from imports under the
Contribution tariff. Order was promptly restored every where; but the
only recognized control was that of the military government, which had
devolved upon Colonel Mason at the departure of General Kearney.

Meanwhile the emigration from the United States, which, amounted to
about five hundred individuals during the summer and fall of 1845, had
been considerably augmented by recruits and adventurers during the
continuance of the war. These men, as soon as hostilities ceased,
naturally turned their attention to the two most important subjects that
engage an American's attention wherever fortune may cast his lot. Their
future prospects of wealth, and the character of their government,
demanded immediate care; yet while they relied upon Congress for the
security of their political rights, they found, in spite of California's
renown for agricultural riches, that they could only establish
themselves successfully on the Pacific, or return with fortunes from its
shores, by a steady and thrifty devotion to labor.

Such was the condition of California in the spring of 1848, when the
accidental discovery of gold which might be rapidly and easily gathered
in apparently inexhaustible quantities, changed not only the condition
of the inhabitants, but affected the whole commerce of the world. "The
towns were forthwith deserted by their male population, and a complete
cessation of the whole industrial pursuits of the country was the
consequence. Commerce, agriculture, mechanical pursuits,
professions,--all were abandoned for the purpose of gathering the
glittering treasures which lay buried in the ravines, gorges and rivers
of the Sierra Nevada. The productive industry of the country was
annihilated in a day. In some instances the moral perceptions were
blunted, and men left their families unprovided, and soldiers deserted
their posts."[80]

But the greediness of the adventurers soon taught them that they could
not subsist on gold, and that after the first deposits were gathered in
the most accessible regions, it was necessary for them to wander farther
and farther from the coast settlements, until they were lost in the
lonely and barren glens of the mountains. There, at the approach of
winter, they found themselves without the means of comfort or support.
In the meanwhile, however, the news of the discovered El Dorado crossed
the continent, and although its marvels were regarded by many as
fabulous, there were others who resolved at once either to abandon their
homes for the wilderness or to despatch valuable cargoes whose enormous
profits would absorb the miner's wealth.

Under these mingled temptations of trade and discovery, an immense
immigration, chiefly of males, poured into California, not only from the
United States but from Oregon, Mexico, Chili, Peru, China and the
Sandwich Islands, all of whom soon saw the necessity of once more
subdividing human labors into their ordinary channels as well as
proportions; and thus, while commerce took the lead in the ports and
warehouses, mechanical and professional pursuits equally assumed their
relative importance, and partly restored the endangered balance of

       *       *       *       *       *

Within a year after this wonderful discovery, the Californians felt that
they were no longer outlying colonists of the American Union, requiring
pecuniary support from the mother State and military protection against
savages. Their lot was strangely reversed in the history of distant
settlements, for wealth had been secured _in advance_ of inhabitants and
trade. Gold, a large population, and reconstructed social relations,
brought with them the necessity for firm, fixed constitutional
government. The fermenting elements of a motly society were
effervescing, and the substratum of order and civilization was rapidly
chrystallizing. The dollar dulled the bowie knife. Immense fleets,
arriving from all parts of the world, poured large revenues into the
national coffers. Intelligent and industrious men thronged the towns
that sprang up, as if by enchantment, at every advantageous point. All
the great mercantile interests were rapidly developed. Property in land
and moveables become suddenly valuable beyond the hopes or dreams of the
early settlers. Discussions arose as to titles and rights. Spanish laws,
uncertain in their character or sanction, and American laws of doubtful
application, were hastily enforced by judges whom the wants of time
summoned to the bench from uncongenial pursuits to administer justice in
courts which were quite us incongruously constructed.

In such a state of society, men were naturally anxious to know their
relations to the Federal Government whose Congress adjourned two
sessions after the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo without legislating for
the ceded territories. It might almost have been pardoned, had
California, feeling her power, position and self-reliant resources,
asserted her independence after so much neglect. Yet, in the midst of
all these temptations, and in spite of our people's abhorrence of a
military government, there never was a more beautiful demonstration of
national loyalty and affinity than in the regular assemblage, in that
remote quarter of the world, of citizens from all our States, and of all
classes, characters, tempers, professions and avocations, to form a
republican constitution which would ensure admission into our Union.
Their military governor, it is true, had set the example of submission
to the civil power, by directing the election of delegates; but _the
people_ asserted their inherent right, independently of the military
authority; and, although they acted in harmony with their estimable
ruler, the constitution was emphatically the result of popular impulse
and judgment alone. The convention, thus assembled, met at Monterey on
the 1st of September, 1849, and closed its work on the 13th of October
by submitting an excellent constitution to the people for their
adoption. The document was forthwith disseminated in Spanish and
English, and no attempt was made to mislead or control public opinion in
relation to it. The people gave it their sanction by an overwhelming
majority, and the legislature which was elected under it, assembled at
San José, the capital of the State, on the 15th of December, 1849. Peter
H. Burnett, who had been chosen first governor of the Pacific Empire
State, was duly inaugurated, and on the 20th of the same month, the
military governor, General Riley, resigned his power into the hands of
the civil agents of the organized State. After a warm and embittered
discussion in Congress at Washington, California, with all her sovereign
rights, was finally admitted into the North American Union, on the 9th
day of September, 1850.

The treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, by the transfer of Upper California as
it existed and was bounded in May 1848, conferred a magnificent domain
upon the United States. This, however, has been subdivided by the action
of Congress and the California Convention, and the new Territory or Utah
formed out of a portion of it. The original grant comprises the region
between the parallels of 32° 50´ and 40° of north latitude, and 106° and
124° west longitude, containing an area of four hundred and forty-eight
thousand six hundred and ninety one square miles, or, two hundred and
eighty seven million, one hundred and sixty two thousand two hundred and
forty acres of land. "In other words, our _original_ territory of Upper
California, embraced twelve hundred and two square miles more than the
States of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island,
Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan,
Iowa and Wisconsin, combined!"[81]

The California Convention, in shaping their new State, thought it
advisable to diminish this unwieldy empire, a large portion of which
was, in truth, divided by the evident decree of nature from the Pacific
region. Between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, at an
elevation of between four thousand and five thousand feet above the sea
lies that singular geographical formation which was first explored by
Colonel Frémont, and is known as the Great Basin. This is now
comprehended in the Territory of Utah. It is about five-hundred miles in
diameter, counting either from north to south or east to west; and,
imprisoned on all sides by mountains, it has its own complete system of
rivers and lakes, all of which _have no outlet to the_ Oceans on either
side of the continent. Its steep interior hills and mountains are
covered with forests, and rise abruptly from a base of ten or twenty
miles to a height of seven or ten thousand feet above the level of the
sea. Many large bodies of water are confined in its capacious bosom, and
among them are the Utah and Great Salt Lakes. The shores of the latter,
extending in length about seventy miles, have been seized and occupied
by the Mormons as the seat and centre of their future State. Immense
quantities of salt are gathered from its banks when the waters of this
inland sea recede during the dry seasons of these lofty plains and table
lands. The waters of the Utah, however, are perfectly fresh; and, near
the western edge of the Basin, is found the picturesque Pyramid Lake
which is also shut in by mountains, and is remarkable for its depth and
transparent purity.

To the southward of this, bordering the base of the Sierra Nevada,
within the Basin, is a long range of lakes; while many copious rivers
disperse their water throughout its ungenial expanse. The chief of these
streams is Humboldt River, which rises in the mountains west of the
Great Salt Lake, and runs westwardly along the northern side of the
Basin towards the Sierra Nevada of California. It courses onward for
three hundred miles, without affluents, through a sterile plain, though
the valley of its own creation is richly covered with grasses and
bordered with willows and cotton wood. This remarkable stream will
become of vast importance in the travel towards California, for, rising
towards the Salt Lake, it pursues nearly the direct route towards the
Pass of the Salmon Trout river through the gorges of the Sierra Nevada,
where at an elevation of less than three thousand six hundred feet above
the level of the Basin, the pathway descends into the Valley of the
Sacramento, and penetrates the State of California only forty miles
north of Sutler's original settlement.

The other known rivers of this strange and partially explored region,
are the Carson, Bear, Utah, Nicollet and Salmon Trout, most of whose
streams, furnished by the snowy peaks of the Sierra, are absorbed in
marshes and lakes, or return by evaporation to the icy sources whence
they sprang.

[Illustration: PYRAMID LAKE.]

Such are the prominent features of this vast Basin or Table-land, in the
interior of our continent, but as it is now separated by legislation
from its former territorial adjunct, we shall pass at once to the
consideration of the present boundary of California. This, according to
the XIIth article of the State Constitution, sanctioned by the act of
Congress, commences at the point of intersection of the 42nd degree of
north latitude with the 120th degree of longitude west from Greenwich,
and runs south, on the line of the 120th degree of longitude until it
intersects the 39th degree of north latitude; thence a straight line
pursues a south-easterly direction to the River Colorado, at a point
where it intersects the 35th degree of north latitude; thence, the
boundary runs down the middle of the channel of that river, to the
boundary line between the United States and Mexico, as established by
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo; thence, west and along said boundary
line to the Pacific Ocean and extending therein three miles; thence,
north-westwardly, following the direction of the Pacific coast, to the
42nd degree of north latitude; thence, on the line of the 42nd degree to
the place of begining,--including all the islands, harbors, and bays
along and adjacent to the Pacific coast.

The superficial area of the State is reduced, according to these
boundaries, from the former enormous size, to one hundred and fifty-five
thousand five hundred and fifty square miles, or ninety-nine millions
five hundred and fifty-two thousand square acres, exclusive of the
islands adjacent to the coast.

The noble Empire State thus constructed lies west of the Sierra Nevada,
and was wisely fashioned to avoid jurisdiction beyond the mountains. It
is strongly contrasted in appearance with the sterility of the Great
Basin. Crossing the SIERRA NEVADA at the PASS traversed by Frémont in
February 1844, the traveller finds himself about four degrees south of
the northern boundary of the State, and, as he looks westward down the
slope of the mountains, the whole of California lies at his feet. The
declivities of the Sierra, with a breadth of from forty to seventy
miles, and a length from north to south of about five hundred, are
heavily wooded with oak, pine, cypress and cedar, while innumerable
small streams, rising in the melted snows of the lofty peaks, traverse
their rugged sides. These rivulets descend through glens and
gorges,--sometimes barren, sometimes luxuriant,--until they disgorge
themselves into the Sacramento and San Joaquin. The first of
these,--rising in the north at the base of the gigantic Shastl which
lifts its snowy diadem fourteen thousand feet above the sea,--sweeps
southward towards the thirty-eighth degree of latitude; while the
second, oozing from the fens and marshes of lake Tulares, runs northward
until it mingles with the Sacramento,--when both, swollen by their
tributaries from

[Illustration: SIERRA NEVADA PASS.]

the Sierra Nevada, are finally discharged into the Pacific by the bay of
San Francisco which bursts through a gap in a lower chain of mountains
bordering the coast. This western Coast Range, averaging about two
thousand feet in height, forms, with the Eastern Sierra Nevada, the
intermediate sloping plain or valley which is completely drained by the
Sacramento and San Joaquin.

[Illustration: SHASTL PEAK.]




The State of California, as at present formed by its constitution, lies
chiefly between the Sierra Nevada and the sea. North and south, it
embraces about ten degrees of latitude, from 32°, where it touches the
peninsula of Lower California, to 42°, where it bounds on Oregon. East
and west, from the Sierra Nevada to the sea, it will average, in the
central parts, one hundred and fifty miles, and in the northern, two
hundred. The whole State is thus, in truth, a single geographical
formation or great valley, though commonly divided into the valleys of
San Joaquin and Sacramento--the two great streams which flow from the
north and south until they meet near the centre of the State and wend
their way to the ocean through the bay of San Francisco.

This beautiful arm of the ocean, which is pronounced by all geographers
to be one of the most wonderful harbors in the world, was discovered
about 1768 by a party of Franciscan friars, who bestowed upon it the
name of their patron Saint. Completely land-locked, it is capable of
sheltering the most extended commerce. Approached from the sea, a bold
outline of coast scenery is presented to the observer. On the south, the
bordering mountains descend in narrow ranges, lashed by the surf of the
Pacific. On the north, a bluff promontory rises full three thousand feet
above the sea, while, betwixt these points, walled in by lofty cliffs
on either side, a narrow strait, about a mile in width and five in
length, with a depth in mid channel of forty and forty-five fathoms,
forms the Chrysopolæ or Golden Gate. Beyond this, the wonderful bay of
San Francisco opens like an inland sea to the right and left, extending
in each direction about thirty-four miles, with a length of more than
seventy and a coast of two hundred and seventy-five. The interior view
of this lake-like estuary is broken in parts by islands, some of which
are mere rocky masses, while others, green with vegetation, protrude
from the water for three hundred or four hundred feet. The bay is
divided by promontories and straits into three portions. At its northern
extremity is Whaler's harbor, which communicates by a strait two miles
long with San Pablo bay, a circular basin ten miles in diameter; at the
northern extremity of this a strait of greater length, called Carquinez,
connects with Suissun bay, which is nearly equal in size and shape to
San Pablo, and into this bay the confluent waters of the Sacramento and
San Joaquin are emptied. A _delta_ of twenty-five miles in length,
divided into islands by deep channels, connects the Suissun bay with the
valley of these rivers, into whose mouths the tide flows regularly.

On the bay of San Francisco is situated the marvellous city of the same
name, which sprang up, almost "in a night," and was constructed of
materials quite as frail as those of "the gourd." The town lies about
four miles from the narrows or straits by which the bay is entered, on
its west side, and on the northern point of the peninsula between the
southern portion of the estuary and the Pacific. Its site is in a cove,
faced and protected at the distance of two miles by the large island of
Yerba Buena. The land rises gradually for more than half a mile from the
water's edge, towards the west and south-west, until it terminates in a
range of hills five hundred feet above the sea. North of the town is a
large bluff, plunging precipitously into the bay, in front of which is
the best anchorage.

The most important rivers of California are, of course, the San Joaquin
and Sacramento. The San Joaquin, running from south to north, is
represented to be navigable in some seasons for a greater part of its
length, during eight months of the year. Its chief affluents, lying
altogether on its eastern side, and pouring down from the Sierra Nevada,
are the Lake Fork, Acumnes, Tuolumne, Stanislaus, Calaveras, Mukelumne,
Mariposa and Cosumnes. The Rio Colorado of the West forms part of the
eastern State boundary, from the 35th degree of north latitude to the
Mexican line, but it flows through a region at present very little
known or valued, yet future explorations may show it to be valuable. Its
deep colored waters, similar to those of the Missouri and Red rivers
east of the mountains, indicate that it probably has not passed through
an entirely ungenerous soil. The valley of the Gila, whose waters are
clear, is known to be barren.

[Illustration: SCENERY ON THE GILA.]

The Sacramento runs from north to south through an inclined alluvial
prairie, and is described as a deep, broad and beautiful stream. It
flows through a fine region, and is navigable for vessels of
considerable draught as high as the settlements in the neighborhood of
Sutter's original location. The principal tributaries of this river,
also, originate in the melting snows of the Eastern Sierra, and are
known as the Antelope, Deer, Mill and Chico creeks, and the Butte,
Dorado, Plumas or Feather, Yuba, Bear and American rivers. Cottonwood
creek and some other smaller streams are disgorged into it from the
slopes of the Western or Coast Range. The Trinity and a few at the
north, run into the Pacific.

In order to comprehend the agricultural and mineral value of California,
it is necessary to glance at the structure of the region. Upon the
forty-first parallel of latitude, in a fork of the Sierra

[Illustration: BAY OF SAN FRANCISCO.]

Nevada, is a tract of high table land, about one hundred miles in
length, surrounded on all sides by mountains, and called by Frémont the
UPPER VALLEY of the Sacramento. Here the growth of timber is vigorous
and immense, for the climate and productions are modified by altitude as
well as latitude. The Sacramento river, rising in the mountains at its
northern extremity, reaches the Lower Valley through a gorge or cañon on
the line of Shastl Peak, falling two thousand feet in twenty miles.

The LOWER VALLEY is subdivided, as we have stated, into the valleys of
the two great rivers, both of which are, at most, only a few hundred
feet above the level of the sea, and gradually slope towards the bay.
The _foot hills_ of the Sierra Nevada limiting the valleys, make a
woodland country diversified with undulating grounds and pretty vales or
glens watered by numerous small streams. These afford many advantageous
spots for farms, occasionally forming large bottoms of rich, moist land.
Below 39° of latitude, and _west_ of the _foot hills_, the forests are
limited to scattering groves of _oak_ in the valleys and on the borders
of streams; or, of _red wood_ on the ridges and in the gorges. With
these exceptions, the whole region presents a surface without shrubbery
or trees, though a few hills are shaded by dwarfed and stunted groves
which may be used as fuel. California is covered, however, with various
kinds of grasses and with wild oats, which grow luxuriantly in the
valleys for many miles from the coast, but, ripening early in the
season, they soon cease to protect the soil from the sun's scorching
rays. As summer advances, the moisture in the atmosphere, and to a
considerable depth in the earth, is completely exhausted, and the
radiation of heat from the parched plains and naked hill sides becomes
insufferable. North of the Bay of San Francisco, between the Sacramento
and Joaquin valley and the coast, the country is cut up by mountain
ridges and rolling hills, with many fertile, watered valleys.
Immediately along the coast, lie open prairies, belted or broken by
occasional forests, and interspersed with extensive fields of wild
grain. Around the southern arm of the bay, a low, alluvial bottom land,
sometimes overgrown by oaks, borders the western foot of the Coast
Range, terminating, on a breadth of thirty miles, in the valley of San
José. In this neighborhood, too, is the lovely valley of San Juan, which
is probably the garden of the new State. These two valleys form a
continuous plain of fifty-five miles in length, and from one to twenty
miles in breadth, opening with smaller valleys among the hills. The
balmy region, enclosed between the coast range and the lower hills upon
the ocean, is blessed with a soil of singular fertility, a fine, dry
atmosphere, and a soft, delicious climate. It is wooded with majestic
trees, covered with rich grasses, brilliant with an endless variety of
flowers, and produces profusely the fruits of the temperate and tropical

South of Point Concepcion the climate and general appearance of the
country are changed. From that point the coast bends almost directly
east; the face of the country obtains a more southern exposure, and is
sheltered by ranges of low mountains or hills from the bleak violence of
north-west storms. The climate accordingly is more genial, and fosters a
richer variety of productions than is found on the northern coasts.

The valleys parallel with the coast range, as well as those which extend
eastwardly in all directions among the hills towards the great plain of
the Sacramento, are of unsurpassed fertility. Their soil is a deep,
black alluvian, and so porous that it remains perfectly unbroken by
gullies, notwithstanding the great quantity of water which falls into it
during the wet season. The productiveness of "California," says Frémont
in his Memoir on that region, published in 1848, "is greatly modified by
the structure of the country, and under this aspect may be considered in
three divisions--the _southern_, below Point Concepcion and the Santa
Barbara mountain, about latitude 35°; the _northern_, from Cape
Mendocino, latitude 41°, to the Oregon boundary; and the _middle_,
including the bay and basin of San Francisco and the coast between Point
Concepcion and Cape Mendocino. Of these three divisions the rainy season
is longest and heaviest in the north, and lightest in the south.
Vegetation is governed accordingly--coming with the rains--decaying
where they fail. Summer and winter, in our sense of the terms, are not
applicable to this part of the country. It is not heat and cold, but wet
and dry, which mark the seasons, and the winter months, instead of
killing vegetation, revive it. The dry season makes a period of
consecutive drought, the only winter in the vegetation of this country,
which can hardly be said at any time to cease. In forests, where the
soil is sheltered, in low lands of streams and hilly country, where the
ground remains moist, grass continues constantly green and flowers bloom
in all months of the year.

"In the southern half of the country the long summer drought has
rendered irrigation necessary, and the experience of the missions, in
their prosperous day, has shown that, in California, as elsewhere, the
dryest plains are made productive, and the heaviest crops yielded by
that mode of cultivation. With irrigation a succession of crops may be
produced throughout the year."

       *       *       *       *       *

The peculiarities of the climate of California are so well explained in
a letter from the Honorable T. Butler King, that we extract his
observations thereon as the most valuable portion of the report made by
him to the United States Government in March, 1850.[82]

"The north-east winds, in their progress across the continent, towards
the Pacific ocean, pass over the snow-capped ridges of the Rocky
Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, and are of course deprived of all the
moisture which can be extracted from them by the low temperature of that
region of eternal snow; consequently no moisture can be precipitated
from them, in the form of dew or rain, in a higher temperature than that
to which they have been subjected. They pass therefore over the hills
and plains of California, where the temperature is very high in summer,
in a very dry state; and so far from being charged with moisture, they
absorb, like a sponge, all that the atmosphere and surface of the earth
can yield, until both become, apparently, perfectly dry.

"This process commences when the line of the sun's greatest attraction
comes north in summer, bringing with it vast atmospheric movements.
Their approach produces the dry season in California, which, governed by
these laws, continues until some time after the sun repasses the equator
in September, when, about the middle of November, the climate being
relieved from these north-east currents of air, the south-west winds set
in from the ocean, charged with moisture--the rains commence, and
continue to fall, not constantly, as some persons have represented, but
with sufficient frequency to designate the period of their continuance,
as the _wet season_, from about the middle of November until the middle
of May, in the latitude of San Francisco.

       *       *       *       *       *

"It follows, as a matter of course, that the _dry season_ commences
first, and continues longest in the southern portions of the Territory,
and that the climate of the northern part is influenced in a much less
degree by the causes which I have mentioned than any other section of
the country. Consequently, we find that as low down as latitude 39°
rains are sufficiently frequent in summer to render irrigation quite
unnecessary to the perfect maturity of any crop which is suited to the
soil and climate.

"There is an extensive ocean current of cold water, which coming from
the northern regions of the Pacific, or, perhaps, from the Arctic, flows
along the coast of California. It arrives charged with, and in its
progress, emits air, which appears in the form of fog when it comes in
contact with a higher temperature of the American coast, as the
Gulf-stream of the Atlantic exhales vapor when it meets, in any part of
its progress, a lower temperature. This current has not been surveyed,
and, therefore, its source, temperature, velocity, width, and course,
have not been accurately ascertained.

"It is believed by Lieut. Maury, on what he considers sufficient
evidence--and no higher authority can be cited--that this current comes
from the coasts of China and Japan, flows northwardly to the peninsula
of Kamptschatka, and, making a circuit to the eastward, strikes the
American coast in about latitude 41° or 42°. It passes thence,
southwardly, and finally loses itself in the tropics. * *

"As the summer advances in California, the moisture in the atmosphere
and the earth, to a considerable depth, soon becomes exhausted; and the
radiation of heat, from the extensive naked plains and hill-sides, is
very great.

"The cold, dry currents of air from the north-east, after passing the
Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, descend to the Pacific and absorb
the moisture of the atmosphere to a great distance from the land. The
cold air from the mountains, and that which accompanies the great ocean
current from the north-west, thus become united, and vast banks of fog
are generated, which, when driven by the wind, has a penetrating or
_cutting_ effect on the human skin, much more uncomfortable than would
be felt in the humid atmosphere of the Atlantic at a much lower

"As the sun rises from day to day, week after week, and month after
month, in unclouded brightness during the dry season, and pours down his
unbroken rays on the dry, unprotected surface of the country, the heat
becomes so much greater inland than it is on the ocean, that an
under-current of cold air, bringing the fog with it, rushes over the
coast-range of hills, and through their numerous passes, towards the

"Every day as the heat, inland, attains a sufficient temperature, the
cold, dry wind from the ocean commences to blow. This is usually from
eleven to one o'clock; and as the day advances the wind increases and
continues to blow till late at night. When the vacuum is filled, or the
equilibrium of the atmosphere restored, the wind ceases: a perfect calm
prevails until about the same hour the following day, when the process
re-commences and progresses as before, and these phenomena are of daily
occurrence, with few exceptions, throughout the dry season.

"The cold winds and fogs render the climate at San Francisco, and all
along the coast of California, except the extreme southern portion of
it, probably more uncomfortable, to those not accustomed to it, in
summer than in winter.

"A few miles inland, where the heat of the sun modifies and softens the
wind from the ocean, the climate is moderate and delightful. The heat in
the middle of the day is not so great as to retard labor, or to render
exercise in the open air uncomfortable. The nights are cool and
pleasant. This description of climate prevails in all the valleys along
the coast-range, and extends throughout the country, north and south, as
far eastward as the valley of the Sacramento and San Joaquin. In this
vast plain the sea breeze loses its influence, and the degree of heat in
the middle of the day, during the summer months, is much greater than is
known on the Atlantic coast in the same latitudes. It is dry, however,
and probably not more oppressive. On the foot-hills of the Sierra
Nevada, and especially in the deep ravines of the streams, the
thermometer frequently ranges from 110° to 115° in the shade, during
three or four hours of the day, from eleven until three o'clock. In the
evening, as the sun declines, the radiation of heat ceases. The cool,
dry atmosphere from the mountains spreads over the whole country, and
renders the nights fresh and invigorating. * * * * * * * * * * *

"These variations in the climate of California account for the different
conflicting opinions and statements respecting it. A stranger arriving
at San Francisco in summer, is annoyed by the cold winds and fogs, and
pronounces the climate intolerable. A few months will modify if not
banish his dislike, and he will not fail to appreciate the beneficial
effects of a cool, bracing atmosphere. Those who approach California
overland, through the passes of the mountains, find the heat of summer,
in the middle of the day, greater than they have been accustomed to, and
therefore many complain of it.

"Those who take up their residence in the valleys which are situated
between the great plain of the Sacramento and San Joaquin and the coast
range of hills, find the climate, especially in the dry season, as
healthful and pleasant as it is possible for any climate to be which
possesses sufficient heat to mature the cereal grains and edible roots
of the temperate zone."[83]

We have thus obtained from reliable sources, a fair account of the soil,
situation and climate of California, with the exception of that portion
of the new State lying to the southward and eastward of the Sierra
Nevada and the Coast Range, and between those mountains and the
Colorado. This district is believed by experienced Californians to be
mostly desert; at least, so much of it as lies upon the usual emigrant
trail from the Colorado to San Diego, and that which is further north,
in the neighborhood of Frémont's explorations, is known to be of such a
character. Elsewhere, however, in the large valley between the two great
ranges of the coast and the Sierra Nevada, and in the small lateral
valleys that pierce their rugged sides in every direction, are the
_arable_ lands of California. In a previous part of this notice we have
shown that the present boundaries of the State give to her 155,550
square miles of superficial area, or 99,552,000 square acres, exclusive
of islands adjacent to the coast. If it be granted that one half of
California is covered with mountains and that one fourth is a desert
waste, we have still one fourth, or 24,888,000 square acres of arable
land left for productive purposes. Messieurs Gwin, Frémont, Wright and
Gilbert, in their Memorial already cited, do not hesitate to assert,
that, after all due allowances, _three-fifths_ of the whole territory,
embraced in the State of California, will never be susceptible of
cultivation or useful to man. This would leave, as the remaining
two-fifths, 62,220 square miles, or 39,820,000 square acres,
constituting the total valuable _agricultural and grazing_ district, and
distributed at intervals over the whole surface within the actual

       *       *       *       *       *

Such are some of the substantial elements of self-reliance and
independence possessed by the new State, exclusive of her precious
metallic deposits. The genial soil is well adapted for the growth of
those grains which are suitable for European or North American
emigrants. Wheat, barley, rye and oats grow abundantly, as well as
potatoes, turnips, onions, and all the roots known to our gardeners and
farmers. Oats, of the species cultivated in the Atlantic States, are
annually _self-sown_ on all the plains and hills along the coast, and as
far inland as the sea-breeze has a marked influence on the climate. This
fact indicates that similar grains may be raised in the same region
without resorting to _irrigation_. Apples, pears and peaches may be
brought to great perfection under skilful culture. The grape, too,
received much attention in former days at the missions and among the
villagers, who produced an excellent fruit, the wine of which was
abundant and delicious. The fine natural grasses and oats of California,
aided greatly in satisfying and perpetuating the nomadic _vaquero_ or
herdsman, who was the type of the region before the cession to the
United States; and it is calculated that the _grazing_ grounds in the
State are extensive enough to produce many thousand more cattle than
will be required annually, for the vast increase of population.

       *       *       *       *       *

Notwithstanding the union of California with her sister States, and her
favorable position for commercial purposes, it is scarcely probable that
she would so soon have assumed almost a national rank, had not a
mechanic, named James W. Marshall, who was employed during the latter
part of February, 1848, in building a saw mill for Captain John A.
Sutter on the south branch of the American Fork or Rio de los
Americanos, discovered certain pieces of gold glistening at the bottom
of the sluice. In a few days fragments to the amount of one hundred and
fifty dollars were removed from the water; and as the news spread among
the settlers all over the region, farms, workshops, professions and
homes were deserted to explore the promised Dorado.

The results of this accidental discovery are already known all over the
world. California has become a centre of attraction for population,
wealth and trade. The grand auriferous region which has thus far been
examined and partially drained of its deposits, is between four and five
hundred miles long, and from forty to fifty broad, following the
windings of the Sierra Nevada. New discoveries will doubtless enlarge
this area, but the present recognized limits are the hills and lesser
ranges rising from the eastern border of the Sacramento and San Joaquin
plain, and extending fifty or sixty miles eastward, until they reach an
elevation of nearly four thousand feet, where they mingle with the main
ridge of the Sierra Nevada. The numerous springs, originating in the
snows and rains of the mountain summits, pour down their rugged sides,
cutting deep channels or _barrancas_ through the _talcose slate_, and
even down to the _quartz_ of which the _foot hills_ are formed. The
streams, in creating these gorge-like channels, have come in contact
with the quartz containing gold, and, by constant attrition, have cut or
ground the metal into fine flakes, scales and dust. The precious deposit
is, accordingly, found among the sand and gravel of the river beds at
those places where the swiftness of the current reduces it in the dry
season to narrow limits, or when the streams may be damed and turned. In
other places auriferous quartz has cropped out on the surface of the
hills, mountains or gorges, and been worn and smoothed by the action of
water. In these positions the gold still remains entire in pieces of all
shapes and sizes, from a single grain to lumps weighing several pounds.
_Placeres_, or gold locations of this latter character, are styled "the
dry diggings," in contradistinction to the "washings" of the streams,
and are spread over large valleys which appear to have been subjected to
the violent action of water. In the dry diggings the operation of
extracting metal is performed by the hand alone or with a pick-axe,
hammer and knife; but the fine dust or scale-gold of the river bottoms
is rescued from the earth by washing the whole mass in common tin pans,
or vessels of every kind that can be substituted. The gyratory motion
given to these primitive implements, removes the finest portions of
soil; gravel is taken out by the hand, and the gold is left in the
vessel united with a black ferruginous sand not unlike that used at the
writing desk. This residuum is left on a board or cloth to dry, when the
sand is blown off either by the mouth or a common bellows, leaving the
gold whose gravity retains it on the board. Much of the very finest gold
is, however, lost with the sand in this rude process. Vast numbers of
rough machines resembling cradles, are also used in the business. The
rocking of the cradle answers to the gyration of the pan, and as the
mud, water and sand escape from one end of the machine through a series
of small cross-bars, the coarser particles of gold are retained in the
instrument. On the head of the cradle is a common sieve, upon which the
auriferous earth is placed; water is then poured on it, and as soon as
the machine is set in motion, the gold, sand and dust are carried into
the body of the cradle, while the gravel is rejected.

But many experienced Californians do not look to the _placeres_ or
common gold diggings and washings for the continuation of that
prosperity to which they gave birth. For its permanence they rely on the
_mines_, whose development has but just commenced. This species of
mineral riches lies in that region where the _auriferous quartz_ has
been discovered of nearly uniform richness, from the 40th to the 35th
degree of latitude, upon the waters of the Feather river, and on the
American, the Mokelumne, the Mariposa, and the desert upon the
south-eastern borders of California, _east_ of the Sierra Nevada. In all
these localities, within a range of three hundred and fifty miles, it is
already known to exist, and the strongest analogy would carry it through
the remaining distance. An assay of the _ore_ of the Mariposa _mines_,
now worked with a Chilian mill, afforded an average yield from washing,
of forty cents per pound avoirdupois; and afterwards, by the fine
process, produced eighty cents to the pound additional; making one
dollar and twenty cents per pound as the average. Other assays exhibit
results from _ores_ in various sections of California, ranging from
twenty-five cents to five dollars per pound, and that, too, in specimens
where no gold is visible to the naked eye. Rocks examined even within
two miles of San Francisco, have yielded gold to the amount of ten cents
per pound. The result at the Mariposa mine has been at the rate of two
thousand five hundred dollars for every ton!

These facts, stated upon grave authority, may be regarded as positive
information applicable to the whole extent of the _gold producing
quartz_. If we apply the results of the working of a British mining
company,--The San Juan del Rey,--in Brazil, to these assays and
conclusions, we may estimate the consequences upon the destiny of
California and of the world. The work of this British company has
increased annually for twenty years, and its last report dates on the
1st of March, 1850. In this it is stated that 69,000 tons of _ore_ were
_crushed_ and the gold extracted therefrom;--applying this to the
average yield of the _mines_ in California, the result would be _over
one hundred and seventy millions of dollars_![85]

       *       *       *       *       *

Various speculations have been made as to the gross numerical summary of
all these discoveries and labors in a broiling sun, in icy streams and
under all kinds of privations; yet no definite accuracy can be attained.
During the earlier enterprises, California was a country without law or
restraint, for, all men, bent upon the single selfish task of greedily
gathering gold, resolved society completely into its original elements.
Out of the municipalities and villages there were no associations except
in small bodies for mutual labor and protection. Severe and certain
punishment secured the latter; but it may be reasonably supposed that
the collection of statistics was not a duty willingly undertaken by such
absorbed individuals. Accordingly, we are not enabled to present more
than proximate calculations of the wealth given and promised by
California to the human race.

Mr. King supposes, in his report, that during the first season there
were not more than 5,000 employed in collecting gold, and that their
average gain was one thousand dollars each, or an aggregate of five
millions. But, in the season of 1849, the number of explorers increased
by the vast influx from every quarter of the world. In July, it was
judged that 15,000 foreigners were in the _placeres_; and, by the labors
of all classes united, the report calculates that the round sum of forty
millions was realized during 1848 and 1849, of which _one-half was
probably taken from the country by foreign adventurers_. Of the forty
millions, twenty are estimated to have been gathered from the northern
rivers principally, or from those emptying into the Sacramento. The
southern rivers, or those voided into the San Joaquin, were, up to that
period, comparatively unvisited, and continued so until towards the
season's close. There is one river which, from reported discoveries,
though not flowing into the great valley west of the Sierra Nevada, is
as rich in gold as any other. This is the Trinity, which rises west of
the Sacramento's sources, and discharges into the Pacific not far from
the fortieth degree of latitude.

As commerce began to reassert her orderly sway in the ports of
California, and as gold became again subservient to the true wants of
man, more attention was paid to the collection of statistics relative to
production and export. The mint of the United States has also enabled us
to reach accurate partial results within a more recent period. By a
table furnished to Mr. Hunt for publication in his Merchants' Magazine,
of November, 1850, it appears that the gold dust shipped on the Pacific
Mail Steamers, from 11th April, 1849, to June 1st, 1850, was
$13,329,388; while the following were the receipts at our mints:


       Year, &c.            At N. Orleans.  At Philadelphia.    Total.
  In 1848                                       $44,177         $44,177
  Jan. 1st to Aug. 31st 1849   175,918        1,740,620       1,916,538
  Aug. 31st to Jan. 1st 1850   489,162        3,740,810       4,229,972
  Jan. 1st to Feb. 28th  "     938,050        2,974,393       3,912,443
  To March 31st          "     365,869        1,296,321       1,662,190
  March 31st to May 1st  "     298,130        1,813,002       2,111,132
  May 1st to July 31st   "     317,181        6,740,677       7,157,858
                           -----------      -----------     -----------
     Total,                 $2,584,310      $18,350,000     $20,934,310

Of this vast total receipt at the two great mints of the country
$17,000,000 were delivered in ten months, being at the rate of more than
$20,000,000 yearly. Since January last, the receipts have been at the
rate of $26,000,000, per annum, and for the last quarter, at the rate of
$32,000,000 per annum, showing a constantly augmenting ratio. Mr.
Edelman, accountant of the Philadelphia mint, has prepared an essay to
answer the repeated enquiries respecting the general character of
California gold and its value by the ounce troy. It appears from his
calculations that seven-eighths of all the deposits made at his mint
from the commencement of the business until April 1850, exhibit a
variation in quality of only fifty-cents per ounce troy, the fineness
averaging between 873-1/2 thousandths and 898-1/2 thousandths. The
general fineness of nearly all the gold brought to the mint is 886
thousandths; the flat spangles of the rivers, which bear a small
proportion to the mass, averaging 895 thousandths. The alloy detected in
this gold is wholly silver tinged with a small quantity of iron, and the
removal of the iron, dirt or sand in melting occasions usually a loss in
weight of about 3-1/4 per cent. If the grains have been cleansed by the
magnet the loss is reduced to about 2-1/2 per cent., but if they are wet
or dampened the loss may raise to even higher than 4 per cent.
California gold is regarded as consisting of 995 parts gold and silver
in every 1000 parts by weight, which renders it necessary to separate
these metals before converting them into coin, for, according to law,
the standard national gold is so constituted, that, in 1000 parts by
weight, 900 shall be pure gold, and 100 an alloy, compounded of copper
and silver.

       *       *       *       *       *

If the confident representations of travellers, miners, laborers and
scientific men are to be heeded, the California _placeres_ and mines
will continue to yield an increasing ratio of precious metal; but time
alone can disclose the degree in which their products will be
multiplied. Should they reach $100,000,000 annually--and they may
surpass that amount--the yearly addition to the gold of Europe and
America, will be 6-2/3 per cent. on $1,800,000,000, which is the
estimated amount of that metal in those two quarters of the globe. This
vast sum more than doubles the past contributions of American mines
during the period of their greatest productiveness.[86]

Gold, however, is not the only important mineral element of California's
wealth. Her _quicksilver_ mines are believed to be numerous, extensive
and valuable. The _cinnabar ore_ which produces the quicksilver, lies
near the surface, is easily procured and is represented to be remarkably
productive. The mine of New Almaden is a few miles from the coast,
midway between San Francisco and Monterey, and in one of the ridges of
the Sierra Azul. The mouth of this mine is a few yards from the summit
of the highest hill that has been found to contain quicksilver, and is
about 1,200 feet above the neighboring plain and not much more above the
ocean. Its ore-bed seems to be embraced in a greenish talcose rock. By a
very rude apparatus the yield on the spot was found to be over fifty
per cent. Mr. Charles M. Wetherill of Philadelphia, an accomplished
chemist, found the percentage of mercury to be 60, in 123 grains which
were submitted to him; and 45 in another parcel containing 61-1/2
grains. Cinnabar ore has been found in about twenty other places within
a few miles of this valuable location.

It is asserted that there are extensive veins of silver, iron and copper
in California; but there is no information sufficiently accurate to
justify a statement of their existence or value.

       *       *       *       *       *

The commerce of California has of course flourished in proportion to her
population and wealth. The aggregate of duties paid on foreign
merchandize at San Francisco from the 12th of November 1849 to the 31st
of May 1850, was $755,974. At the date of the information there were in
the harbor 623 sailing vessels, 12 steamers; and 140 sail vessels and 8
steamers at Sacramento City, Stockton and other places up the rivers. Of
this total of 783 vessels, 120 were foreign and 663 American. The amount
of tonnage at San Francisco, was 1,020,476, and 100,000 in towns and
cities on the Sacramento and San Joaquin; but of this large sum 800,000
tons at least were unemployed.

The singular history of the unprecedented rise in the value of
merchandize or the necessaries of life in California after the discovery
of gold, is a chapter full of surprising and fantastical incidents, but
our narrowing space denies us the tempting privilege of recounting it in
this volume.

In all these calculations and estimates we must occasionally approach
the dangerous domain of speculation, and in this category must we also
place most of our information respecting the population and towns of
California. Population is of course constantly augmenting under these
great temptations for the rapid accumulation of fortune; yet with
society in such a transition state, the true ratios or numbers of actual
increase cannot be accurately obtained.

According to Baron Humboldt the population of Upper California consisted
in 1802, of 7,945 males and 7,617 females, or, 15,562 individuals
attached to the eighteen missions. All other classes whether whites,
mestizos, or mixed castes, either in the Presidios or in the service of
the Monks, were estimated at 1,300. This calculation would make the
whole population, at that time, exclusive of wild Indians, 16,862. In
1831, the number of missions had increased to twenty-one, and their
Indian neophytes were 18,683; all other classes in the garrisons and
among the free settlers amounted to 4,342, making a total of 23,045;
nor is it probable that this number was much augmented until after the
cession and subsequent discoveries. At present it is quite impossible to
calculate closely the wild Indians of miserable, debased tribes found in
the mountains, whose numbers are variously stated by travellers and
writers at 100,000, and 300,000. In the memorial of the California
Representatives, already cited, the population on the 1st of January,
1849 is stated at 13,000 Californians, (which is probably too low a
number,) 8,000 Americans, and 5,000 foreigners, or 26,000, in all. From
that date to the 11th April, the arrivals from sea and by land were
judged to be 8,000, while, according to the Harbor Masters' Record at
San Francisco, 22,069 Americans and 7,000 foreigners arrived there from
sea, between the 12th of April and the 31st of December 1849. Of these
28,269 were males, and only 800 _women_! In addition to the immigration
by sea at this single port, it may be presumed that not less than 1,000
individuals landed elsewhere in California during the same period. By
Santa Fé and the Gila nearly 8,000 entered the country. From Mexico
6,000 or 8,000 were supposed to have come, though only about 2,000
remained in the territory. Adding to these amounts 3,000 deserting
sailors, and computing the overland immigration at 25,000, we have
107,000 inhabitants in California on the 1st of January 1850. It would
probably not be unsafe to add fifty thousand for the immigration of the
current year, so as to give the new State at least 150,000 citizens in
January 1851.

       *       *       *       *       *

As gold and people increased so miraculously, the tents and encampments
of the adventurers gave place to houses and towns whose materials and
construction were almost as frail. When the precious metal became
abundant, _land_ of course quickly grew into speculative importance and
value. Men who disliked the toil of draining gold from the rivers or
digging it among rocks, resorted to the _easier mines_ of their own
ingenuity, and, obtaining titles to advantageous locations near the
great rivers, or, on important bays and straits, laid out magnificent
plans for the gorgeous cities of the Pacific Empire. The list of some of
these "Cities," given in a note at the bottom of the page, comprises the
leading locations north of San Francisco and on the routes to the
principal _placeres_.[87] Some of these towns, and probably many more,
will prosper permanently because they are admirably situated to aid in
the development of the interior of the great valley of the Sacramento
and San Joaquin. If this valley is to be annually deluged and converted
into a lake, as it was last year during the rainy season, the
_agricultural_ prosperity of California must be seriously affected, and
the rising cities will probably suffer with it, unless the _placeres_
and the _mines_ shall continue to pour their bountiful supplies into the
hands of all who seek them.

The old Spanish and Mexican towns and villages, will in all likelihood
continue to assert their importance. The chief of these are the ancient
Presidences or Presidios of San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara and
San Diego. In all of these, Europeans and Americans are already
establishing themselves as residents who desire to make California their
permanent home. The old _pueblos_ of Los Angeles, situated about eight
miles from the mission site of San Gabriel;--of San José about fifteen
or twenty leagues from the bay of San Francisco, near Santa Clara;--and
of Branciforte about a mile from the mission of Santa Cruz, and a mile
and a half from the bay of Monterey,--are still in existence, and having
been built on well selected sites, may flourish long after the fragile
castles erected in the golden region have passed away like the scenery
of a drama. The Monks, every where, possessed an instinctive sagacity
for nestling in the best locations, and time will doubtless do justice
to their discretion in California.

       *       *       *       *       *

The increased value of land of course indicated to our government the
necessity of promptly examining the titles of property in California;
and accordingly, Mr. W. Carey Jones, a lawyer accomplished in the Civil
and Spanish laws, was despatched thither by the authorities in
Washington, to examine the grants from the Spanish and Mexican
governments. His full, learned, and satisfactory report has been
published by congress, and declares that these grants are mostly
perfect titles, or have unquestionably the same _equity_ as those that
are perfect.[88]

All the grants of land in California, except _pueblo_ or village lots
and some grants north of the bay of San Francisco, subsequent to the
independence of Mexico, and after the establishment of that government
in California, were made by the different political governors. These
personages possessed the exclusive faculty of making grants of eleven
leagues or _sitios_ to _individuals_, which were valid when sanctioned
by the Territorial Deputation; but colonization grants to _Empresarios_
or contractors, required the sanction of the Supreme National

The supposition, usually entertained, that the mission lands were grants
held as the actual fee-simple property of the church, or of the mission
establishments as corporations, is entirely erroneous. All the missions
in Upper California, established under the direction of the Spanish
Viceroyal Government and partly at its expense, never had any other
right than that of occupation and use, the whole property being either
resumable or otherwise disposable, at the will of the crown or its
representatives. The right of the Supreme Powers to remodel these
establishments at pleasure, and convert them into towns and villages,
subject to the known policy and law which governed settlements of that
kind, was a fundamental principle controling them from the beginning.

After the secularization of the missions the principal part of the
church lands were cut off by private grants. Some of them still retain a
portion of their original territory, but others have been converted
either into villages and subsequently granted in the usual form in lots
to individuals and heads of families, or have become private property. A
few are either absolutely at our government's disposal now, or, being
rented at present for a term of years, will become so when the tenant's
contracts expire.

       *       *       *       *       *

The gold of California is a modern disclosure, though, probably, it is
not altogether a modern discovery. There are documents in existence
which show that it was known to the Mexican government; and, as far back
as 1790, a certain Captain Shelvocke obtained in one of the ports, a
black mould which appeared to be mingled with golden dust. Specimens of
California gold were exhibited privately by the authorities in the city
of Mexico not long before the late war; and a memoir prepared by the
congressional representative, imparts the fact that it had been taken in
considerable quantities from _placeres_ in the neighborhood of Los
Angeles. It is very likely that the rulers of the Mexican Republic were
not anxious to add to the allurements which were already enticing our
people to her distant province, and silence was therefore preserved in
relation to its mineral wealth.

California has, at least, illustrated one great moral truth which the
avaricious world required to be taught. When men were starving though
weighed down with gold,--when all the necessaries of life rose to twice,
thrice, tenfold, and even fifty or a hundred times their value in the
Atlantic States,--that distant province demonstrated the intrinsic
worthlessness of the coveted ore, and the permanent value of every thing
produced by genuine industry and labor. It is to be hoped, therefore,
that the new State will not degenerate into a mere mining country, or be
forever a prey to that feverish excitement in the pursuit of sudden
wealth which is fed or frustrated by the contemptible accidents of luck.

The rapid development of the country is almost unparalleled in national
history; and now that a substantial government and union with our
confederacy are secured, it remains to be seen how the social problem of
California will be solved, and whether it possesses any other elements
than those of gold and men for the creation of a great maritime State on
the shores of the Pacific. Wonderful order has been preserved in spite
of the anomalous condition of the immigrants; yet refined woman must be
content to cast her lot in that remote but romantic region, and, by her
benign influence, soften, enlighten, and regulate a society which is
formed almost exclusively of men. In the course of time steam will open
rapid communications with the east, and travellers will not be compelled
to pass either the desert or those more southern regions where the
mouldering ruins of Casas Grandes denote the ancient seat of Indian
civilization. The iron bands of railways, the metallic wires of the
telegraph, and the gold of California will then bind the whole grand
empire of the west in a union, which social sympathies, commercial
interests, national policy, and a glorious history will make


[Illustration: RUINS OF A CASA GRANDE.]



Mr. T. Butler King was furnished by Surgeon General Lawson, United
States Army, with the following thermometrical observations:

At San Francisco, by Assistant Surgeon W. C. Parker, for six months,
embracing the last quarter of 1847, and the first quarter of 1848. The
monthly mean temperature was as follows: October, 57°; November, 49°;
December, 50°; January, 49°; February, 50°; March, 51°.

At Monterey, in latitude 36° 38´ north, and longitude 121° west, on the
coast, about one degree and a half south of San Francisco, by Assistant
Surgeon W. S. King, for seven months, from May to November inclusive.
The monthly mean temperature was: May, 56°; June, 59°; July, 62°;
August, 59°; September, 58°; October, 60°; November, 56°.

At Los Angeles, latitude 34° 7´, longitude west 118° 7´, by Assistant
Surgeon John S. Griffin, for ten months, from June, 1847, to March,
1848, inclusive. The monthly mean temperature was: June, 73°; July, 74°;
August, 75°; September, 75°; October, 69°; November, 59°; December 60°;
January, 58°; February, 55°; March, 58°. This place is about forty miles
from the coast.

At San Diego, latitude 32° 45´, longitude west 117° 11´, by Assistant
Surgeon J. D. Summers, for the following three months of 1849, viz:
July, monthly mean temperature, 71°; August, 75°; September, 70°.

At Suttersville, on the Sacramento river, latitude 38° 32´ north,
longitude west 121° 34´, by Assistant Surgeon R. Murray, for the
following months of 1849. July, monthly mean temperature 73°; August,
70°; September, 65°; October, 65°.

These observations show a remarkably high temperature at San Francisco
during the six months from October to March, inclusive; a variation of
only eight degrees in the monthly mean, and a mean temperature for the
six months of fifty-one degrees.

At Monterey we find the mean monthly temperature from May to November,
inclusive, varying only six degrees, and the mean temperature of the
seven months to have been 58°. If we take the three summer months the
mean heat was 60°. The mean of the three winter months was a little over
49°; showing a mean difference, on that part of the coast, of only 11°
between summer and winter.

The mean temperature of San Francisco, for the three winter months, was
precisely the same as at Monterey--a little over 49°.

As these cities are only about one degree and a half distant from each
other, and both situated near the ocean, the temperature at both, in
summer, may very reasonably be supposed to be as nearly similar as the
thermometer shows it to be in winter.

The mean temperature of July, August, and September, at San Diego, only
3° 53´ south of Monterey, was 72°. The mean temperature of the same
months at Monterey was a little over 59°; showing a mean difference of

At Los Angeles, 40 miles distant from the coast, mean temperature for
the three summer months was 74°; of the three autumn months, 67°; and
three winter months, 57°. At Suttersville, 130 miles from the sea, and
4° north of Los Angeles, mean temperature of August, September and
October, was 67°. Mean temperature of same months at Monterey, 59°;
making a difference of 8° between the coast and the interior, on nearly
the same parallel of latitude.


The following statement of the amount of California gold deposited at
all the United States Mints, comprising those of Philadelphia, New
Orleans, Charlotte, and Dahlonega, from the opening of the mines, or
discovery of the metal, until the 30th of the month of September, 1851,
is taken from the memoranda of Robt. Patterson, Esq., of Philadelphia,
son of the late Director of the Mint.

  |                  |Philadelphia.|New Orleans.|Charlotte.|Dahlonega.|      Total|
  |For the year 1848 |       44,177|       1,124|          |          |     45,301|
  | "   "   "   1849 |    5,481,439|     669,921|          |          |  6,151,360|
  | "   "   "   1850 |   31,667,505|   4,575,567|          |    30,025| 36,273,097|
  | 9 months of 1851 |   31,300,105|   6,310,462|    12,805|    70,925| 37,694,297|
  |                  +-------------+------------+----------+----------+-----------+
  |            Totals|  $68,493,226| $11,557,074|   $12,805|  $100,950|$80,164,055|

The total production of California gold since its discovery is doubtless
over one hundred millions of dollars in value, which, according to
official data in my possession, is equal to nearly one half the total
coinage of this country in gold, silver, and copper, since its
separation from Great Britain. To the $80,164,055 received at the U. S.
Mints, as shown above, must be added large amounts received here, and
consumed by jewellers, dentists, &c.; considerable amounts shipped from
San Francisco directly to other countries; the gold coinage and
circulation in California itself, including the $50 pieces stamped by
the U. S. Assayer; the shipments received here since the 1st of October,
amounting, in New York alone, to about $5,000,000, and all the gold dust
now in the hands of miners and merchants on the Pacific side. It will be
a fair estimate, therefore, to set down the entire production, up to the
close of 1851, at $120,000,000, at least.


 [1] Mühlenpfordt--Die Republik Mexico: Hanover, 1844, 2 vols.

 [2] Ward, vol. 1, p. 7.

 [3] Folsom's Mexico in 1842, p. 29.

 [4] See maps and tables of areas of the several states of our Union
 accompanying the President's message of December, 1848.

 [5] The high table land of Mexico which we have described, is said
 to owe its present form to the circumstance that an ancient system
 of valleys in a chain of granitic mountains, has been filled up to
 the height of many thousand feet with various volcanic products.
 Five active volcanos traverse Mexico from _west_ to _east_,--Tuxtla,
 Orizaba, Popocatepetl, Jorullo, and Colima. Jorulla which is in the
 centre of the great platform is no less than one hundred and twenty
 miles from the nearest ocean, which is an important circumstance,
 showing that proximity to the sea is not a necessary condition
 although certainly a very general characteristic of the position of
 active volcanos. If the line which connects these five volcanic vents
 in Mexico be prolonged westerly, it cuts the volcanic group in the
 Pacific called the group of Revilla-Gigedo.--Lyell's Geology, American
 edition, vol. I, p. 294.

 [6] See Tschudi's Peru--American Edition, p. 80, and Mühlenpfordt--Die
 Republik Mejico, vol. 1;--Indians.

 [7] It is just to Mexico to state that Cortina, in the article
 previously referred to, estimates the number of persons able to read
 and write, to be much larger; but his calculations are doubtless
 made with the partiality of a native, and are based on a limited
 observation of city life, the army and municipal prisons.

 [8] The cholera ravaged Mexico this year, and consequently it would be
 unfair to use the deaths as a basis of calculation at that period.

 [9] See Boletin No. 1, del Instituto Nacional de Geografia y
 Estadistica, Mejico, 1839.

 [10] Ward's Mexico in 1827, vol. 1, p. 55.

 [11] "_La propriété c'est le vol._" Prudhon.

 [12] Humboldt, Essai Politique, Book iv., chap. ii.--Paris, 1811.

 [13] See Humboldt's essay on the production of gold and silver in the
 Journal des Economistes for March, April and May, 1838.

 [14] See Humboldt's Essay on Precious Metals, _ut antea_--in note--in
 the American translation, given in vol. iii., of the Banker's
 Magazine, p. 509.

 [15] See Ranke: Fursten and Volker, vol. i., pp. 347, 355.

 [16] Pet. Mart. Epist. lib. xxix., No. 556, 23d January, 1516.

 [17] See M. Ternaux-Compans' Original Memoirs of the discovery of
 America--(Conquest of Mexico, p. 451)--Compans publishes in this, for
 the first time, an official list sent between 1522 and 1587 by the
 viceroys of New Spain to the mother country. The PESOS
 _of gold_, must be multiplied by a mean of eleven dollars and
 sixty-five cents in order to give their value in dollars. See Banker's
 Magazine, ut antea, p. 594, in note. See Prescott's History of the
 Conquest of Mexico, vol. i., 320. Raminez, in his notes on the Spanish
 translation of Prescott's History of the Conquest rates the _peso de
 oro_ at two dollars and ninety-three cents. This result is reached by
 a long financial calculation and course of reasoning. See La Conquista
 de Mejico, vol. ii., at p. 89 _of the notes_ at the end of the volume.

 [18] This is Humboldt's estimate in the essay cited in this section.
 We think it rather too large, yet give it upon such high authority.
 See our general table of Mexican coinage.

 [19] Ward's Mexico in 1827, vol. ii, p. 151.

 [20] Ward, ut antea.

 [21] See report of the Mexican Minister of Foreign Relations for 1846,
 at page 139, of _Documentos Justificativos_.

 [22] These calculations are made in dollars, _reales_, or pieces of
 the value of 12-1/2 cents, and _medios_, or pieces of the value of
 6-1/4 cents.

 [23] The actual coinage of all the mints in the republic in 1844
 amounted, in fact, to the sum of $13,732,861; but we assume
 $14,000,000 as a fair annual average for a period of several years.

 [24] Zavala's Historia de las Revoluciones de Mejico. Tomo 1.

 [25] The cultivation of cotton is a branch of agriculture of almost
 marvellous increase. Mr. Burke, a member of our congress, from South
 Carolina, in 1789, when speaking of southern agriculture, remarked
 that "cotton was likewise in _contemplation_." During the last quarter
 of the eighteenth century, when 7012 bags of the article were imported
 into Liverpool a perfect panic was produced by so unusual a supply, at
 present 150,000 bags may reach a single port without greatly affecting
 the price. In 1791 the whole United States produced only two millions
 of pounds, whilst in 1848, the Commissioner of Patents calculated the
 whole crop at 1,066,000,000 lbs.

 [26] Whilst these pages are passing through the press information
 has been received from the Mexican gazettes that in 1846 there were
 sixty-two cotton factories for spinning and weaving, and five for
 manufacturing woollens;--that the first mentioned have been greatly
 improved by the introduction of the best kinds of machinery, and
 that two _new_ factories for woollens have been set in operation in
 the state of Mexico, which produce cloths and cassimeres that are
 eagerly purchased by the best classes. The cost of these fabrics is
 not mentioned, but it is probably fifty per cent. higher than if
 manufactured in the United States.

 [27] Mejico in 1842 by del Rivero. Madrid, 1844.

 [28] See Otero Cuestion Social y Politica de Mejico, pp. 38, 39, 43.

 [29] Mexico as it Was and Is, p. 329.

 [30] Rivero, Mejico in 1842, p. 130.

 [31] Norman's Rambles in Yucatan, p. 32.

 [32] ib. p. 91.

 [33] Stephens' Travels in Yucatan, vol. 2, page 115.

 [34] Forbes's California, p. 215.

 [35] Zavala, Rev. de Mejico, vol. 1, pp. 14, 25.

 [36] See Mayer's Mexico as it Was and as it Is, 1844; and the review
 of it by the Rev. Mr. Verot, in the United States Catholic Magazine
 for March, 1844: See also the reply entitled Romanism in Mexico,
 published in Baltimore in the same year.

 [37] We trust that it will not be regarded as levity if we relate an
 anecdote which shows that the church _has_ contributed to the money if
 not to the wealth of the country, in years past, in a most unexampled
 manner. It will be recollected that in the historical part of this
 work there is an account of the mode in which a large revenue was
 derived by the government from the sale of Bulls issued by the church
 permitting the people a variety of indulgences and acts which, without
 the possession of such a document, were not allowed by the spiritual
 laws of Rome, or the temporal laws of Spain. Immense packages of
 these Bulls were found in the treasury after the revolution, and,
 when it became necessary for the government to issue a temporary
 _paper money_, the financiers of the nation thought it a wise stroke
 to make these Bulls at once a license of indulgence to the holder,
 and a security against counterfeiters. Accordingly they printed the
 government notes on the blank back of the Bulls, which had been sent
 from Spain to supply her revenue. One of these treasury notes, now
 before us, measures twelve inches in length by nine in breadth, and
 promises to pay two dollars. The Bull upon which it is printed is
 an indulgence, valued at "two coined silver reals," or, twenty-five
 cents, allowing the possessor to eat "wholesome meat, eggs and milk,"
 during lent and on fast days.

 [38] Mexico as it was and as it is, p. 269.

 [39] See vol. 1, pages

 [40] Lerdo, Consideraciones, &c., &c., p. 42.

 [41] Lerdo, Consideraciones, p. 46, 47.

 [42] Lerdo 43.--Cuevas's memoir of 1849, as Mexican Minister of
 Foreign and Domestic relations, p. 29 of American translation.

 [43] It will scarcely be credited, but such is nevertheless the fact,
 that it was once seriously contemplated in Mexico to deny the right
 of sepulture to all strangers who were not Catholics, and that the
 point was only overruled by an ingenious liberalist, who contended
 that it was certainly healthier for the living Catholics that the dead
 _heretic_ should rot beneath the ground, than taint the atmosphere by
 decaying above it! The priests have constantly and violently opposed
 marriages between Mexicans and foreigners, unless they were Catholics.

 [44] Bacalar, Campeché, Ichmul or Izamal, Isla de Carmen,
 Jequetchacan, Junoma, Lerma, Mama, Merida, Oxhuscab, Seyba, Playa,
 Sotula, Tizizimin, and Valladolid. These are the names of the
 Departments given by Mühlenpfordt: the first table is taken from

 [45] Our table of population on page 43 of this volume, adds about 10
 per cent to this number to give the population estimated in 1850.

 [46] See Senator Cass' speech, on the proposed occupation of Yucatan,
 in the Senate, May 10th, 1848, p. 7.

 [47] See Stephens's Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas
 and Yucatan, vol. 2, chapter xxvi; and his Incidents of Travel in
 Yucatan, vol. 2, page 444.

 [48] Transactions American Ethnological Society, vol. 1, page 104, and
 Stephens's Yucatan, vol. 1, page 434.

 [49] This year was remarkable for its dryness and the loss of cattle
 on the coasts in consequence.

 [50] In this year the observations include only ten months.

 [51] It will be seen hereafter that expeditions subsequent to
 Humboldt's calculation give Popocatepetl a height of 17,884 feet.

 [52] See Mosaico Mejicano.

 [53] See Museo Mejicano, vol. 2, p. 465, for a plate of this temple.

 [54] See Museo Mejicano, vol. 3d, p. 329, for lithographic sketches
 of the palace and temple, and their monuments. See also vol. 1st of
 the same work, p. 401; and vol. 3d id., p. 135, for descriptions of
 Zapotec remains; and vol. 1st id., p. 246, for an imperfect account
 of military remains, fortifications, &c. &c., near Guiengola, near

 [55] This peak which is visible from Mexico, has been thus denominated
 in honor of Mr. William Glennie, who was the chief promoter of the

 [56] See page 179, vol. I

 [57] See chapter on the agriculture of Mexico for more extended
 notices of the character of the valley of Cuernavaca.

 [58] Muhlenpfordt, vol. 2, p. 294.

 [59] See also, "Mexico as it was and as it is"--p. 63, for a full
 account of the ceremonies of the Collegiate church, and of Archbishop
 Lorenzano's sermon, preached in 1760, confirming the miraculous

 [60] The Indian not being able to point out the precise spot, a
 fountain gushed from the ground and indicated it.

 [61] This armor and patent of nobility, were offered to the author of
 this work in 1842, before they were purchased by the government, for
 one hundred and forty dollars, and, at his recommendation, they were
 tendered, as a first choice, to the national authorities who bought

 [62] The waters of the lake, it will be recollected, have fallen
 greatly since the conquest.

 [63] The reader will find an interesting account in Spanish, of
 the residence of Nezahualcoyotl at Tescocingo, extracted from
 Ixtlilxochitl's history of the Chichimecas, in the third volume of
 Prescott's History of the Conquest of Mexico, page 430. The hill or
 mountain described in this section, is doubtless the same one referred
 to by the Indian historian; and it is to the Vandalism of Fray
 Zumarraga, the archbishop, that we are indebted for the destruction of
 one of the most graceful and elegant monuments of Indian civilization.

 [64] See Scrope on Volcanoes, p. 267.

 [65] Leonhard and Brown's Neues Jarbuch, 1835, p. 36. See Lyell's
 Geol., Am. Ed., 1 vol., p. 345.

 [66] Mühlenpfordt.

 [67] The writings of Clavigero, Solis, Bernal Dias, and others
 describe this mode of disposing of the bodies of those whose hearts
 had been torn out and offered to the idol.

 [68] Ward assigns Catorcé an elevation of _over_ 7,760 feet. The
 statement given in the present work is on the more recent authority of

 [69] Dr. Wislizenius's Memoir, &c., &c., 1848, p. 41.

 [70] See Humboldt's Views of Nature, London edition, 1850, p. 208, and
 Dr. Wislizenius's Profiles of the country in his Memoir on New Mexico,
 &c., &c.

 [71] See Dr. Wislizenius's Memoir, &c., &c. p. 141.

 [72] We have used the full account given by Dr. Wislizenius, with
 but slight alterations of his language, because it is the most
 complete, consistent and satisfactory that we have encountered in
 our researches. We could neither improve its method or condense its
 matter. He is a close observer; an accurate thinker; an industrious
 traveller, and relates always from his personal observation.

 [73] There are no negroes in New Mexico, and consequently neither
 _mulattos_ nor _zambos_. The fatal epidemic fever of a typhoid
 character that ravaged the whole province from 1837 to 1839, and the
 small pox in 1840, carried off nearly ten per cent. of the population.

 [74] See Gregg's Commerce of the Prairies, vol. i., p. 113.

 [75] See Gregg, vol. i., chapter vii.

 [76] Gregg, vol. ii., p. 160.

 [77] The roads by Gen. Kearney's and by Brevet Lieut. Col. Cooke's
 routes leave the Rio Grande for California some fifteen or twenty
 miles below the ford at Valverde; the former just opposite, and the
 latter below a point on the left bank of the river known as San Diego.

 [78] See vol. ii., page 137.

 [79] Forbes's California, p. 202.

 [80] Gwin, Frémont, Wright and Gilbert: Memorial to Congress
 accompanying the Constitution of California, 12 March, 1850.

 [81] See the admirable "Paper upon California" read by that
 accomplished scholar J. Morrison Harris, before the Maryland
 Historical Society in March 1849. It has been published and forms,
 in the estimation of competant judges, the best resumé and most
 philosophical disquisition upon California that has been hitherto
 issued from the press.

 [82] See T. B. King's Report on California, Ex. Doc. No. 59, 31 Cong.
 1st sess.

 [83] See appendix at end of vol. for Meteorological Observations in

 [84] See Debates on the California Convention: Appendix p. xx.

 [85] See Senator Frémont's speech. Debates in Senate of U. States on
 Friday, 20th September, 1850.

 [86] Article by the Hon. Professor Tucker, Hunt's Magazine, July,
 1850, p. 25:--See Appendix No. 2.

 [87] Fremont, a town laid out by Jonas Spect, on the west bank of the
 Sacramento river, opposite the mouth of Feather river; Vernon, east
 bank of the Feather river, at its confluence with the Sacramento;
 Boston, on the north bank of the Rio Americano, a few miles above
 its confluence with the Sacramento; Sacramento City, on the site of
 the celebrated Sutter's Fort; Sutter City, on the east bank of the
 Sacramento, a few miles below Sacramento City; Webster, on the east
 bank of Sacramento river, nine miles below Sacramento City; Suisun,
 on the west bank of the Rio Sacramento, 80 miles from San Francisco;
 Tuolumne City, at the head of navigation of the Tuolumne river;
 Stanislaus, on the north bank of the Stanislaus river; Stockton,
 situated on a slough, or sloughs, which contain the back waters formed
 by the junction of the Sacramento and San Joaquin; New York upon the
 Pacific, located at the mouth of the San Joaquin; Benecia, on the
 Straits of Carquinez, 35 miles from the ocean; Martinez, opposite
 Benecia; Napa, on the banks of the Napa creek, 40 miles north of San
 Francisco; Sonoma, in the valley of the same name, three miles from
 the Sonoma creek; St. Louis, on the Sonoma creek; San Rafael, on the
 north side of the Bay of San Francisco; Saucelito, on the Bay of San
 Francisco, at the entrance of the harbor.

 [88] Report upon the land titles of California by W. Carey
 Jones--Washington 1850.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mexico, Aztec, Spanish and Republican, v. 2-2 - A Historical, Geographical, Political, Statistical and - Social Account of that Country from the Period of the - Invasion by the Spaniards to the Present Time." ***

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