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Alexander von Humboldt: „General Considerations on the Extent and Physical Aspect of the Kingdom of New Spain, from Baron de Humboldt’s Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain“, in: ders., Sämtliche Schriften digital, herausgegeben von Oliver Lubrich und Thomas Nehrlich, Universität Bern 2021. URL: <> [abgerufen am 17.04.2024].

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Titel General Considerations on the Extent and Physical Aspect of the Kingdom of New Spain, from Baron de Humboldt’s Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain
Jahr 1811
Ort Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
in: The American Register, or General Repository of History, Politics and Science 7:1 (1811), S. 268–339.
Sprache Englisch
Typografischer Befund Antiqua; Spaltensatz; Auszeichnung: Kursivierung; Fußnoten mit Asterisken und Kreuzen.
Textnummer Druckausgabe: II.76
Dateiname: 1809-Voyage_de_MM-17-neu
Seitenanzahl: 72
Spaltenanzahl: 148
Zeichenanzahl: 226746

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|268| |Spaltenumbruch|


Before entering on a politicalview of the kingdom of NewSpain, it may be of importanceto bestow a rapid glance on theextent and population of the Spa-nish possessions in the two A-mericas. We must generalizeour ideas, and consider each co-lony in its relations with theneighbouring colonies and withthe mother country, if we wouldobtain accurate results, and as-sign to the country described theplace to which it is entitled fromits territorial wealth. The Spanish possessions of thenew continent occupy the im-mense extent of territory com-prised between the 41° 43 mi-nutes of south latitude, and the37° 48 minutes of north latitude.This space of seventy-nine de-grees equals not only the lengthof all Africa, but it even muchsurpasses the breadth of theRussian empire, which includes |Spaltenumbruch|about a hundred and sixty-sevendegrees of longitude, under aparallel of which the degrees arenot more than half the degreesof the equator. The most southern point of the new continent inhabited bythe Spaniards is Fort Maullin,near the small village of Carel-mapu, on the coast of Chili, op-posite the northern extremity ofthe island of Chiloe. A road is o-pening from Valdivia to this fortof Maullin; a bold but useful un-dertaking, as a stormy sea pre-vents navigators for a great partof the year from landing on sodangerous a coast. On the southand south-east of Fort Maullin inthe gulfs of Ancud and Relonca-vi, by which we reach the greatlakes of Nahuelhapi and Todoslos Santos, there are no Spanishestablishments; but we meet withthem in the islands near the eas-tern coast of Chiloe, even in 43°34 minutes of south latitude,where the island Caylin (oppositethe lofty summit of the Corcoba-do) is inhabited by several fami-lies of Spanish origin. The most northern point ofthe Spanish colonies is the mis-sion of San Francisco, on thecoast of New California, sevenleagues to the north-west of San-ta Cruz. The Spanish languageis thus spread over an extent ofmore than one thousand ninehundred leagues in length. Un-der the wise administration ofcount Florida Blanca, a regularcommunication of posts was es-tablished from Paraguay to thenorth-west coast of North Ame-rica; and a monk in the missionof the Guaranis Indians can main-tain a correspondence with ano-ther missionary inhabiting NewMexico, or the countries in the |269| |Spaltenumbruch|neighbourhood of Cape Mendo-cin, without their letters everpassing at any great distance fromthe continent of Spanish America. The dominions of the king ofSpain in America exceed in ex-tent the vast regions possessed bythe Russian empire, or GreatBritain, in Asia. I thought,therefore, that a view of thesedifferences and of the strikingdisproportion between the areaand the population of the mothercountry, compared with those ofthe colonies, could hardly fail tobe interesting. To make thisdisproportion appear still morepalpable, I have formed, accord-ing to exact scales, the drawingsin the last plate. A red parallel-ogram which serves for the base,represents the surface of the mo-ther countries; and a blue paral-lelogram which reposes on thebase, indicates the area of theSpanish and English possessionsin America and Asia. Theseviews, similar to those of M.Playfair, have something fearfulin them, particularly when wefix our eyes on the grand catas-trophe represented in the fourthfigure, of which the memory isstill recent among us. Thisplate alone should suggest im-portant considerations to thosewho superintend the prosperityand tranquillity of the colonies.The dread of a future evil is un-doubtedly in itself a motive ofno great dignity; but it is a pow-erful motive of vigilance and ac-tivity for great political bodies aswell as for simple individuals. The Spanish possessions inAmerica are divided into ninegreat governments, which maybe regarded as independent of oneanother. Of these nine govern-ments, five, viz. the viceroyalties |Spaltenumbruch|of Peru and of New Grenada, the capitanias generales of Guatima-la, of Portorico, and of Caraccas,are wholly comprised in the tor-rid zone; the four other divisi-ons, viz. the viceroyalties of Mex-ico and Buenos Ayres, the capi-tanias generales of Chili and Ha-vannah, including the Floridas,are composed of countries ofwhich a great part is situatedwithout the tropics, that is to say,in the temperate zone. We shallafterwards see that this positionalone does not determine the na-ture of the productions of thesefine regions. The union of se-veral physical causes, such as thegreat height of the Cordilleras,their enormous masses, the num-ber of plains, elevated more thanfrom two to three thousand me-tres* above the level of the ocean,give to a part of the equinoxialregions a temperature adapted tothe cultivation of the wheat andfruit tree of Europe. The geo-graphical latitude has small in-fluence on the fertility of a coun-try, where, on the ridge and de-clivity of the mountains, natureexhibits a union of every cli-mate. Among the colonies subject tothe king of Spain, Mexico occu-pies at present the first rank,both on account of its territorialwealth, and on account of its fa-vourable position for commercewith Europe and Asia. Wespeak here merely of the politi-cal value of the country, consi-dering it in its actual state of ci-vilization, which is very superiorto that of the other Spanish pos-sessions. Many branches of a-
* From 6,561 feet to 9,842 feet. Trans.
|270| |Spaltenumbruch|griculture have undoubtedly at-tained a higher degree of per-fection in the province of Carac-cas than in New Spain. Thefewer mines a colony has, themore the industry of the inhabi-tants is turned towards the pro-ductions of the vegetable king-dom. The fertility of the soil isgreater in the provinces of Cu-mana, of New Barcelona, andVenezuela; and it is greater onthe banks of the lower Orinoco,and in the northern part of NewGrenada, than in the kingdom ofMexico, of which several regionsare barren, destitute of water,and incapable of vegetation. Buton considering the greatness ofthe population of Mexico, thenumber of considerable cities inthe proximity of one another,the enormous value of the metal-lic produce, and its influence onthe commerce of Europe and Asia; in short, on examining theimperfect state of cultivation ob-servable in the rest of SpanishAmerica we are tempted to justi-fy the preference which the courtof Madrid has long manifestedfor Mexico above its other colo-nies.
The denomination of NewSpain designates, in general, thevast extent of country overwhich the viceroy of Mexico ex-ercises his power. Using theword in this sense, we are toconsider as northern and south-ern limits the parallels of the38th and 10th degrees of latitude.But the captain-general of Gua-timala, considered as administra-tor, depends very little on theviceroy of New Spain. Thekingdom of Guatimala contains,according to its political division,the governments of Costa Rica,and of Nicaragua. It is conter- |Spaltenumbruch|minous with the kingdom ofNew Grenada, to which Darienand the isthmus of Panama be-long. Whenever in the courseof this work we use the denomi-nations of New Spain and Mexi-co, we exclude the capitania-ge-neral of Guatimala, a countryextremely fertile, well peopled,compared with the rest of theSpanish possessions, and so muchthe better cultivated as the soil,convulsed by volcanoes, contains,almost no metallic mines. Weconsider the intendancies of Me-rida and Oaxaca as the mostsouthern, and at the same timethe most eastern parts of NewSpain. The confines which se-parate Mexico from the kingdomof Guatimala are washed by thegreat ocean to the east of theport of Tehuantepec, near laBarra de Tonala. They termi-nate on the shore of the Atlantic,near the bay of Honduras. The name of New Spain wasat first only given in the year1518 to the province of Yucatan,where the companions in armsof Grijalva were astonished atthe cultivation of the fields andthe beauty of the Indian edifices. Cortez, in his first letter to theemperor Charles V. in 1520, em-ploys the denomination of NewSpain for the whole empire of Montezuma. This empire, if wemay believe Solis, extended fromPanama to New California. Butwe learn from the diligent re-searches of a Mexican historian,the Abbe Clavigero,* that Mon-tezuma the sultan of Tenochtitlanhad a much smaller extent of
* Dissertazione sopra i confini di A-nahuac. See Storia antica del Messico. T. IV. p. 265.
|271| |Spaltenumbruch|country under his dominion. Hiskingdom was bounded towardsthe eastern coast by the rivers ofGuasacualco and Tuspan, and to-wards the western coast by theplains of Soconusco, and theport of Zacatula. On lookinginto my general map of NewSpain, divided into intendancies,it will be found, that accordingto these limits, the empire of Montezuma included only the in-tendancies of Vera Cruz, Oaxa-ca, la Puebla, Mexico, and Valla-dolid. I think its area may beestimated at fifteen thousandsquare leagues.
Towards the beginning of the16th century, the river of Santia-go separated the agricultural na-tions of Mexico and Mechoacanfrom the barbarous and pastoralhordes called Otomites and Cici-mecs. These savages frequentlycarried their incursions as far asTula, a town situated near thenorthern bank of the valley ofTenochtitlan. They occupiedthe plains of Zelaya and Salaman-ca, now admired for their finecultivation, and the multitude offarms scattered over their sur-face. Neither should the denomina-tion of Anahuac be confoundedwith that of New Spain. Beforethe conquest, all the country be-tween the 14th and 21st degreesof latitude was included underthe name of Anahuac. Besidesthe Aztec empire of Montezu-ma, the small republics of Tlax-callan and Cholollan, the king-doms of Tezcuco (or Acolhoa-can) and Mechuacan, which com-prised part of the intendancy ofValladolid, belonged to the an-cient Anahuac. Even the name of Mexico isof Indian origin. It signifies in |Spaltenumbruch|the Aztec language the habita-tion of the God of War, calledMexitli or Huitzilopochtli. Itappears, however, that before theyear 1530 the city was morecommonly called Tenochtitlanthan Mexico. Cortez,* who hadmade very little progress in thelanguage of the country, calledthe capital, through corruption,Temixtitan. These etymologi-cal observations will not be foundtoo minute in a work whichtreats exclusively of the king-dom of Mexico. The audaciousman who overturned the Aztecmonarchy considered this king-dom sufficiently extensive to ad-vise Charles V. to unite the titleof emperor of New Spain to thatof Roman emperor. We are tempted to comparetogether the extent and popula-tion of Mexico, and that of twoempires with which this fine co-lony is in relations of union andrivalry. Spain is five timessmaller than Mexico. Should nounforeseen misfortunes occur,we may reckon that in less thana century the population of NewSpain will equal that of the mo-ther country. The United Statesof North America since the ces-sion of Louisiana, and since theyrecognise no other boundary thanthe Rio Bravo del Norte, con-tain 240,000 square leagues. Their
* Historia de Nueva Espana, porLorenzana, (Mexico, 1770 p. 1.) Cortez says, in his first letter,dated from Villa Segura de la Fron-tera, the 30th October, 1520: “Lascosas de esta terra son tantas y talesque Vuestra Alteza se puede entitularde nuevo Emperador de ella, y contitulo y non menos merito, que el deAlemana, que por la gracia de DiosVuestra Sacra Magestad possee.” (Lo-renzana, p. 38.)
|272| |Spaltenumbruch|population is not much greaterthan that of Mexico, as we shallafterwards see on examiningcarefully the population and thearea of New Spain.
If the political force of twostates depended solely on thespace which they occupy on theglobe, and on the number oftheir inhabitants; if the nature ofthe soil, the configuration of thecoast; and if the climate, the e-nergy of the nation, and above allthe degree of perfection of itssocial institutions, were not theprincipal elements of this granddynamical calculation, the king-dom of New Spain might, atpresent, be placed in oppositionto the confederation of the A-merican republics. Both labourunder the inconvenience of anunequally distributed population;but that of the United States,though in a soil and climate lessfavoured by nature, augmentswith an infinitely greater rapidi-ty. Neither does it comprehend,like the Mexican population,nearly two millions and a half ofaborigines. These Indians, de-graded by the despotism of theancient Aztec sovereigns, and bythe vexations of the first conque-rors, though protected by theSpanish laws, wise and humanein general, enjoy very little, how-ever, of this protection, from thegreat distance of the supremeauthority. The kingdom of NewSpain has one decided advantageover the United States. Thenumber of slaves there eitherAfricans or of mixed race, isalmost nothing; an advantagewhich the European colonistshave only begun rightly to appre-ciate since the tragical events ofthe revolution of St. Domingo.So true it is, that the fear of phy-sical evils acts more powerfully |Spaltenumbruch|than moral considerations on thetrue interests of society, or theprinciples of philanthropy, and ofjustice, so often the theme of theparliament, the constituent assem-bly, and the works of the philoso-phers. The number of African slavesin the United States amounts tomore than a million, and consti-tute a sixth part of the wholepopulation. The southern states,whose influence is increasedsince the acquisition of Louisia-na, very inconsiderately increasethe annual importation of thesenegroes. It is not yet in thepower of Congress, nor the chiefof the confederation, (a magis-trate* whose name is dear to thetrue friends of humanity,) to op-pose this augmentation, and tospare by that means much dis-tress to the generations to come. The Mexican population iscomposed of the same elementsas the other Spanish colonies.They reckon seven races: 1.The individuals born in Europe,vulgarly called Gachupines; 2.The Spanish Creoles, or whitesof European extraction born inAmerica; 3. The Mestizos, des-cendants of whites and Indians;4. The Mulattoes, descendants ofwhites and negroes; 5. TheZambos, descendants of negroesand Indians; 6. The Indians, orcopper-coloured indigenous race;and, 7. The African negroes. Ab-stracting the sub-divisions thereare four casts: the whites, com-prehended under the generalname of Spaniards, the negroes,the Indians, and the men of mix-
* The present president, Mr. Tho-mas Jefferson, author of the excellentEssay on Virginia.
|273| |Spaltenumbruch|ed extraction, from Europeans,Africans, American Indians, andMalays; for from the frequentcommunication between Acapul-co and the Philippine islands,many individuals of Asiatic ori-gin, both Chinese and Malays,have settled in New Spain.
A very general prejudice ex-ists in Europe that an exceedingsmall number of the copper-co-loured race, or descendants of theancient Mexicans, remain at thisday. The cruelty of the Euro-peans has entirely extirpated theold inhabitants of the West In-dies. The continent of Ameri-ca, however, has witnessed nosuch horrible result. The num-ber of Indians in New Spain ex- |Spaltenumbruch|ceeds two millions and a half, in-cluding only those who have nomixture of European or Africanblood. What is still more con-solatory, and we repeat it, is, thatthe indigenous population farfrom declining, has been consi-derably on the increase for thelast fifty years, as is proved bythe registers of capitation or tri-bute. In general the Indians appear toform two-fifths of the whole popu-lation of Mexico. In the four inten-dancies of Guanaxuato, Valladolid,Oaxaca, and la Puebla, this po-pulation amounts even to threefifths. The enumeration of 1793gave the following result.
Names of intendancies. Total population. Number of Indians.
Guanaxuato 398,000 175,000
Valladolid 290,000 119,000
Puebla 638,000 416,000
Oaxaca 411,000 363,000
|Spaltenumbruch| From this table it appears thatin the intendancy of Oaxaca, of100 individuals 88 were Indians.So great a number of indigenousinhabitants undoubtedly provesthe antiquity of the cultivation ofthis country. Accordingly, wefind near Oaxaca remaining mo-numents of Mexican architecture,which prove a singularly advanc-ed state of civilization. The Indians, or copper-colour-ed race, are rarely to be found inthe north of New Spain, and arehardly to be met with in the pro-vincias internas. History givesus several causes for this pheno-menon. When the Spaniardsmade the conquest of Mexi-co, they found very few inhabit-ants in the countries situated be-yond the parallel of 20°. These |Spaltenumbruch|provinces were the abode of theChichimecks and Otomites, twopastoral nations, of whom thinhordes were scattered over a vastterritory. Agriculture and civi-lization, as we have already ob-served, were concentrated in theplains south of the river of San-tiago, especially between the val-ley of Mexico and the province ofOaxaca. From the 7th to the 13th cen-tury, population seems in generalto have continually flowed to-wards the south. From the re-gions situated to the north of theRio Gila issued forth those war-like nations who successivelyinundated the country of Ana-huac. We are ignorant whetherthat was their primitive country,or whether they came originally |274| |Spaltenumbruch|from Asia or the north-west coastof America, and traversed thesavannas of Nabajoa and Moqui,to arrive at the Rio Gila. Thehieroglyphical tables of the Az-tecs have transmitted to us thememory of the principal epochsof the great migrations amongthe Americans. This migrationbears some analogy to that which,in the fifth century, plunged Eu-rope in a state of barbarism, ofwhich we yet feel the fatal effectsin many of our social institutions.However, the people who travers-ed Mexico left behind themtraces of cultivation and civiliza-tion. The Toultecs appeared,first, in the year 648, the Chichi-mecks in 1170, the Nahualtecs in1178, the Acolhues and Aztecsin 1196. The Toultecs intro-duced the cultivation of maizeand cotton; they built cities,made roads, and constructed thosegreat pyramids which are yet ad-mired, and of which the facesare very accurately laid out.They knew the use of hierogly-phical paintings; they couldfound metals, and cut the hardeststones; and they had a solar yearmore perfect than that of theGreeks and Romans. The formof their government indicatedthat they were the descendants ofa people who had experiencedgreat vicissitudes in their socialstate. But where is the sourceof that cultivation? where is thecountry from which the Toultecsand Mexicans issued? Tradition and historical hiero-glyphics name Huehuetlapallan,Tollan, and Aztlan, as the firstresidence of these wandering na-tions. There are no remains atthis day of any ancient civiliza-tion of the human species to thenorth of the Rio Gila, or in the |Spaltenumbruch|northern regions travelled throughby Hearne, Fiedler, and Macken-zie. But on the north-west coast,between Nootka and Cook river,especially under the 57° of northlatitude, in Norfolk Bay and CoxCanal, the natives display a decid-ed taste for hieroglyphical paint-ings.* M. Fleurieu, a man ofdistinguished learning, supposesthat these people might be thedescendants of some Mexicancolony, which, at the period ofthe conquest, took refuge in thosenorthern regions. This ingeni-ous opinion will appear less pro-bable if we consider the greatdistance which these colonistswould have to travel, and reflectthat the Mexican, cultivation didnot extend beyond the 20° of la-titude. I am rather inclined tobelieve, that, on the migration ofthe Toultecs and Aztecs to thesouth, some tribes remained onthe coasts of New Norfolk andNew Cornwall, while the restcontinued their course south-wards. We can conceive howpeople, travelling en masse, forexample, the Ostrogoths and Ala-ni, were able to pass from theBlack Sea into Spain; but howcould we believe that a portion ofthese people were able to returnfrom west to east, at an epoquawhen other hordes had alreadyoccupied their first abodes onthe banks of the Don or the Bo-risthenes? This is not the place to discuss
* Voyage de Marchand, tom. I. p. 258,261, 375. Dixon, p. 332. A harp re-presented in the hieroglyphical paint-ings of the inhabitants of the north-west coast of America, is an object atleast as remarkable as the famousharp on the tombs of the kings ofThebes.
|275| |Spaltenumbruch|the great problem of the Asiaticorigin of the Toultecs or Aztecs.The general question of the firstorigin of the inhabitants of thecontinent is beyond the limitsprescribed to history; and is not,perhaps, even a philosophicalquestion. There undoubtedlyexisted other people in Mexicoat the time when the Toultecsarrived there in the course oftheir migration, and therefore toassert that the Toultecs are an Asi-atic race is not maintaining that allthe Americans came originallyfrom Thibet or oriental Siberia.De Guignes attempted to proveby the Chinese annals that theyvisited America posterior to458; and Horn, in his ingeniouswork de Originibus Americanis, published in 1699, M. Scherer,in his historical researches res-pecting the new world, and morerecent writers, have made it ap-pear extremely probable that oldrelations existed between Asia and America.
I have elsewhere advanced* that the Toultecs, or Aztecs,might be a part of those Hiong-noux, who, according to the Chi-nese historians, emigrated undertheir leader Punon, and were lostin the north parts of Siberia.This nation of warrior-shepherdshas more than once changed theface of oriental Asia, and deso-lated, under the name of Huns,the finest parts of civilized Eu-rope. All these conjectureswill acquire more probabilitywhen a marked analogy shall bediscovered between the languagesof Tartary and those of the new |Spaltenumbruch|continent; an analogy, which,according to the latest researchesof M. Barton Smith, extends on-ly to a very small number ofwords. The want of wheat, oats,barley, rye, and all those nutritivegramina which go under the ge-neral name of cereal, seems toprove, that if Asiatic tribes pas-sed into America, they musthave descended from pastoralpeople. We see in the old con-tinent that the cultivation of ce-real gramina, and the use of milk,were introduced as far back aswe have any historical records.The inhabitants of the new con-tinent cultivated no other grami-na than maize, (Zea.) Theyfed on no species of milk, thoughthe lamas, alpacas, and in thenorth of Mexico and Canadatwo kinds of indigenous oxen,would have afforded them milk inabundance. These are strikingcontrasts between the Mongoland American race. Without losing ourselves insuppositions as to the first coun-try of the Toultecs and the Az-tecs, and without attempting tofix the geographical position ofthose ancient kingdoms of Hue-huetlapallan and Aztlan, we shallconfine ourselves to the accountsof the Spanish historians. Thenorthern provinces, New Biscay,Sonora, and New Mexico, werevery thinly inhabited in the 16thcentury. The natives were hun-ters and shepherds; and theywithdrew as the European con-querors advanced towards thenorth. Agriculture alone at-taches man to the soil, and deve-lopes the love of country. Thuswe see that in the southern partsof Anahuac, in the cultivated re-gion adjacent to Tenochtitlan,the Aztec colonists patiently en-
* Tableaux de la Nature, vol. I. p.53.
|276| |Spaltenumbruch|dured the cruel vexations exer-cised towards them by their con-querors, and suffered every thingrather than quit the soil whichtheir fathers had cultivated. Butin the northern provinces, thenatives yielded to the conquerorstheir uncultivated savannas, whichserved for pasturage to the buf-faloes. The Indians took refugebeyond the Rio Gila, towards theRio Zaguanas and the mountainsde las Grullas. The Indian tribeswho formerly occupied the terri-tory of the United States andCanada followed the same policy;and chose rather to withdraw,first, behind the Alleghany moun-tains, then behind the Ohio, andlastly behind the Missouri, to a-void being forced to live amongthe Europeans. From the samecause we find the copper-colour-ed race neither in the provincias in-ternas of New Spain, nor in thecultivated parts of the U. States.
The migrations of the Ameri-can tribes having been constantlycarried on from north to south, atleast between the sixth andtwelfth centuries, it is certainthat the Indian population of NewSpain must be composed of veryheterogeneous elements. In pro-portion as the population flowedtowards the south, some tribeswould stop in their progress, andmingle with the tribes which fol-lowed them. The great varietyof languages still spoken in thekingdom of Mexico proves agreat variety of races and origin. The number of these lan-guages exceeds twenty, of whichfourteen have grammars and dic-tionaries tolerably complete. Thefollowing are their names: theMexican or Aztec language; theOtomite; the Tarasc; the Za-potec; the Mistec; the Maye or |Spaltenumbruch|Yucatan; the Totonac; the Po-polouc; the Matlazing; the Hu-astec; the Mixed; the Caqui-quel; the Taraumar; the Te-pehuan; and the Cora. It appearsthat the most part of these lan-guages, far from being dialectsof the same, (as some authorshave falsely advanced,) are atleast as different from one ano-ther as the Greek and the Ger-man, or the French and Polish.This is the case at least with theseven languages of New Spain,of which I possess the vocabula-ries. The variety of idiomsspoken by the people of the newcontinent, and which, without theleast exaggeration, may be statedat some hundreds, offers a verystriking phenomenon, particular-ly when we compare it with thefew languages spoken in Asia and Europe. The Mexican language, thatof the Aztecs, is the most widelydiffused, and extends at presentfrom the 37° to the lake of Ni-caragua, for a length of 400leagues. The Abbe Clavigero * has proved that the Toultecs, theChichimecks, (from whom theinhabitants of Tlascala are des-cended,) the Acolhues, and theNahuatlacs, all spoke the samelanguage as the Mexicans. Thislanguage is not so sonorous, butalmost as diffused and as richas that of the Incas. After theMexican or Aztec language, ofwhich there exists eleven printedgrammars, the most general lan-
* Clavigero, t. I. p. 153. The word Notlazomahuiztespix-catatzin signifies venerable priestwhom I cherish as my father. TheMexicans use this word of 27 letterswhen speaking to the priests, (cu-res.)
|277| |Spaltenumbruch|guage of New Spain is that ofthe Otomites.
I could not fail to interest thereader by a minute descriptionof the manners, character, andphysical and intellectual state ofthose indigenous inhabitants ofMexico, which the Spanish lawsdesignate by the name of Indi-ans. The general interest dis-played in Europe for the remainsof the primitive population of the new continent has its originin a moral cause, which doeshonour to humanity. The histo-ry of the conquest of America and Hindostan presents the pic-ture of an unequal struggle be-tween nations far advanced inarts, and others in the very low-est degree of civilization. Theunfortunate race of Aztecs escap-ed from the carnage appeareddestined to annihilation under anoppression of several centuries.We have difficulty in believingthat nearly two millions and a halfof aborigines could survive suchlengthened calamities. The in-habitant of Mexico and Peru,and the Indian of the Ganges,attract in a very different mannerfrom the Chinese or Japanesethe attention of an observer en-dowed with sensibility. Suchis the interest which the misfor-tune of a vanquished people in-spires, that it renders us fre-quently unjust towards the des-cendants of the conquerors. To give an accurate idea ofthe indigenous inhabitants ofNew Spain, it is not enough topaint them in their actual stateof degradation and misery; wemust go back to a remote period,when governed by its own laws,the nation could display its pro-per energy; and we must con-sult the hieroglyphical paintings, |Spaltenumbruch|buildings of hewn stone, andworks of sculpture still in pre-servation, which, though they at-test the infancy of the arts, bear,however, a striking analogy toseveral monuments of the mostcivilized people. These research-es are reserved for the historicalaccount of our expedition to thetropics. The nature of this workdoes not permit us to enter intosuch details, however interestingthey may be, both for the history,and the psychological study ofour species. We shall merelypoint out here a few of the mostprominent features of the im-mense picture of American in-digenous population. The Indians of New Spainbear a general resemblance tothose who inhabit Canada, Flori-da, Peru, and Brasil. They havethe same swarthy and copper co-lour, flat and smooth hair, smallbeard, squat body, long eye withthe corner directed upwards to-wards the temples, prominentcheek bones, thick lips, and anexpression of gentleness in themouth, strongly contrasted witha gloomy and severe look. TheAmerican race, after the hyper-borean race, is the least nume-rous; but it occupies the great-est space on the globe. Over amillion and a half of squareleagues, from the Terra delFuego islands to the river St.Laurence and Baring’s Straits,we are struck at the first glancewith the general resemblance inthe features of the inhabitants.We think we perceive that theyall descend from the same stock,notwithstanding the enormousdiversity of language which se-parates them from one another.However, when we reflect moreseriously on this family likeness, |278| |Spaltenumbruch|after living longer among the in-digenous Americans, we discoverthat celebrated travellers, whocould only observe a few indivi-duals on the coasts, have singu-larly exaggerated the analogy ofform among the Americans. Intellectual cultivation is whatcontributes the most to diversifythe features. In barbarous na-tions there is rather a physiogno-my peculiar to the tribe or hordethan to any individual. Whenwe compare our domestic ani-mals with those which inhabitour forests we make the sameobservation. But a European,when he decides on the great re-semblance among the copper-co-loured races, is subject to a par-ticular illusion. He is struckwith a complexion so differentfrom our own, and the uniformi-ty of this complexion concealsfor a long time from him the di-versity of individual features.The new colonist can hardly atfirst distinguish the indigenous,because his eyes are less fixedon the gentle melancholic or fe-rocious expression of the coun-tenance than on the red copperycolour and dark luminous andcoarse and glossy hair, so glossyindeed that we should believe itto be in a constant state of hu-mectation. In the faithful portrait whichan excellent observer, M. Vol-ney, has drawn of the CanadaIndians, we undoubtedly recog-nise the tribes scattered in themeadows of the Rio Apure andthe Carony. The same style offeature exists no doubt in bothAmericas; but those Europeanswho have sailed on the great ri-vers Orinoco and Amazons, andhave had occasion to see a greatnumber of tribes assembled un- |Spaltenumbruch|der the monastical hierarchy inthe missions, must have observedthat the American race containsnations whose features differ asessentially from one another, asthe numerous varieties of therace of Caucasus, the Circassi-ans, Moors, and Persians differfrom one another. The tallform of the Pantagonians, whoinhabit the southern extremity of the new continent, is again foundby us, as it were, among the Ca-ribs who dwell in the plains fromthe Delta of the Orinoco to thesources of the Rio Blanco. Whata difference between the figure,physiognomy, and physical con-stitution of these Caribs,* whoought to be accounted one of themost robust nations on the faceof the earth, and are not to beconfounded with the degenerateZambos, formerly called Caribsin the island St. Vincent, andthe squat bodies of the ChaymaIndians of the province of Cu-mana! What a difference ofform between the Indians ofTlascala and the Lipans and Chi-chimecks of the northern part ofMexico! The Indians of New Spainhave a more swarthy complexionthan the inhabitants of the warm-est climates of South America.This fact is so much the moreremarkable, as in the race ofCaucasus, which may be also
* The great nation of the Caribs, orCaraibs, who, after having extermi-nated the Cabres, conquered a consi-derable part of South America, ex-tended in the 16th century from the equator to the Virgin islands. Thefew families who existed in our timesin the Caribbee islands, recentlytransported by the English, were amixture of true Caribs and negroes.
|279| |Spaltenumbruch|called the European Arab race,the people of the south have notso fair a skin as those of thenorth. Though many of the A-siatic nations who inundated Eu-rope in the sixth century had avery dark complexion, it appears,however, that the shades of co-lour observable among the whiterace are less owing to their ori-gin or mixture than to the localinfluence of the climate. Thisinfluence appears to have almostno effect on the Americans andnegroes. These races, in whichthere is an abundant depositionof carburetted hydrogen in the corpus mucosum or reticulatum of Malpighi, resist in a singularmanner the impressions of theambient air. The negroes of themountains of Upper Guinea arenot less black than those wholive on the coast. There are, nodoubt, tribes of colour by nomeans deep among the Indiansof the new continent, whosecomplexion approaches to that ofthe Arabs or Moors. We foundthe people of the Rio Negroswarthier than those of the Low-er Orinoco, and yet the banks ofthe first of these rivers enjoy amuch cooler climate than themore northern regions. In theforests of Guiana, especially nearthe sources of the Orinoco, areseveral tribes of a whitish com-plexion, the Guaicas, Guajaribs,and Arigues, of whom, severalrobust individuals, exhibiting nosymptom of the asthenical mala-dy which characterises albinos,have the appearance of trueMestizoes. Yet these tribeshave never mingled with Euro-peans, and are surrounded withother tribes of dark brown hue.The Indians in the torrid zone |Spaltenumbruch|who inhabit the most elevatedplains of the Cordillera of the Andes, and those who under the45° of south latitude live by fish-ing among the islands of thearchipelago of Chonos, have ascoppery a complexion as thosewho under a burning climate cul-tivate bananas in the narrowestand deepest valleys of the equi-noxial region. We must add,that the Indians of the moun-tains are clothed, and were solong before the conquest, whilethe aborigines who wander overthe plains go quite naked, andare consequently always exposedto the perpendicular rays of thesun. I could never observe thatin the same individual those partsof the body which were coveredwere less dark than those in con-tact with a warm and humid air.We everywhere perceive thatthe colour of the American de-pends very little on the local po-sition in which we see him. TheMexicans, as we have alreadyobserved, are more swarthy thanthe Indians of Quito and NewGranada, who inhabit a climatecompletely analogous; and weeven see that the tribes dispersedto the north of the Rio Gila areless brown than those in theneighbourhood of the kingdomof Guatimala. This deep colourcontinues to the coast nearest to Asia. But under the 54° 10minutes of north latitude, atCloak-bay, in the midst of copper-coloured Indians with small longeyes, there is a tribe with largeeyes, European features, and askin less dark than that of ourpeasantry. All these facts tendto prove that notwithstanding thevariety of climates and elevationsinhabited by the different races of |280| |Spaltenumbruch|men, nature never deviates fromthe model of which she made se-lection thousands of years ago.
My observations on the innatecolour of the aborigines differ inpart from the assertions of Mi-chikinakoua, the celebrated chiefof the Miamis, called by the An-glo-Americans Little Crook-back,(Petite Tortue,) who communi-cated so much valuable informa-tion to M. Volney. He asserted“that the children of the CanadaIndians were born as white asEuropeans; that the adults aredarkened by the sun, and thegrease and the juices of herbswith which they rub their skin;and that that part of the waist ofthe females which is perpetuallycovered is always white.”* I havenever seen the Canada nations ofwhich the chief of the Miamisspeaks; but I can affirm that inPeru, Quito, on the coast of Ca-raccas, the banks of the Orinoco,and in Mexico, the children arenever born white, and that theIndian Caciques, who enjoy acertain degree of ease in theircircumstances, and who remainclothed in the interior of theirhouses, have all the parts of theirbody (with the exception of thehollow of their hand and the soleof their foot) of the same brown-ish-red or coppery colour. |Spaltenumbruch| The Mexicans, particularlythose of the Aztec and Otomiterace, have more beard than Iever saw in any other Indians of South America. Almost all theIndians in the neighbourhood ofthe capital wear small mustach-es; and this is even a mark ofthe tributary cast. These mus-taches, which modern travellershave also found among the inha-bitants of the north-west coast of America, are so much the morecurious, as celebrated naturalistshave left the question undeterm-ined, whether the Americanshave naturally no beard and nohair on the rest of their bodies,or whether they pluck themcarefully out. Without enteringhere into physiological details, Ican affirm that the Indians whoinhabit the torrid zone of SouthAmerica have generally somebeard; and that this beard in-creases when they shave them-selves, of which we have seenexamples in the missions of thecapuchins of Caribe, where theIndian sextons wish to resemblethe monks their masters. Butmany individuals are born entire-ly without beard or hair on theirbodies. M. de Galeano, in the ac-count of the last Spanish expedi-tion to the straits of Magellan, in-forms us, that there are many old
parte posterior de la cintura, de colorobscuro, con viso de entre morado ypardo, la qual se va desvaneciendo, alpasso que le criatura va perdiendo elcolor blanco, y adquiriendo el suyonatural. Esta sena ó mancha es cier-ta, y cosa que tengo vista, y exami-nada repetidas veces: su tamano espoco mas, ó menos del espacio queoccupa un peso duro de nueva fabri-ca.” Gumilla, Orinoco illustrado. Vol.i. p. 82. Trans. * Volney, Tableau du Climat et duSol des Etats-Unis, vol ii. p. 435. This account of Little Crook-backis partly confirmed by Father Gumilla,who says that the Indians remainwhite for several days after they areborn, with the exception of a smallspot, acia la parte posterior de la cintu-ra, of an obscure colour. I have seenand examined that spot, says he, re-peatedly. “Al nacer aquellos ninosson blancos por algunos dias. Nacenlos Indiecillos con una mancha acia la Viaje al Estrecho de Magellanes, p. 331.
|281| |Spaltenumbruch|men among the Patagonianswith beards, though they areshort and by no means bushy.On comparing this assertion withthe facts collected by Marchand,Mears, and especially M. Vol-ney, in the northern temperatezone, we are tempted to believethat the Indians have more andmore beard in proportion to theirdistance from the equator. How-ever, this apparent want of beardis by no means peculiar to theAmerican race, for many hordesof Eastern Asia, and especiallyseveral tribes of African negroes,have so little beard that we shouldbe almost tempted to deny en-tirely its existence. The ne-groes of Congo and the Caribs,two eminently robust races, andfrequently of a colossal stature,prove that to look upon a beard-less chin as a sure sign of the de-generation and physical weaknessof the human species, is a merephysiological dream. We forgetthat all which has been observedin the Caucasian race does notequally apply to the Mongol orAmerican race, or to the Africannegroes.
The Indians of New Spain,those at least subject to the Eu-ropean domination, generally at-tain a pretty advanced age—Peaceable cultivators, and col-lected these six hundred yearsin villages, they are not exposedto the accidents of the wander-ing life of the hunters and war-riors of the Mississippi and thesavannas of the Rio Gila. Accus-tomed to uniform nourishment ofan almost entirely vegetable na-ture, that of their maize and ce-real gramina, the Indians wouldundoubtedly attain a very greatlongevity if their constitutionswere not weakened by drunken- |Spaltenumbruch|ness. Their intoxicating liquorsare rum, a fermentation of maizeand the root of the jatropha, andespecially the wine of the coun-try, made of the juice of theagave americana, called pulque.This last liquor, of which weshall have occasion to speak inthe following book, is even nu-tritive, on account of the unde-composed sugar which it con-tains. Many Indians addicted topulque take for a long time verylittle solid nourishment. Whentaken with moderation it is verysalutary, and by fortifying thestomach, assists the functions ofths gastric system. The vice of drunkenness is,however, less general among theIndians than is generally believ-ed. Those Europeans who havetravelled to the east of the Alleg-hany mountains, between the O-hio and Missouri, will with diffi-culty believe that, in the forestsof Guiana and on the banks of theOrinoco, we saw Indians whoshowed an aversion for the bran-dy which we made them taste.There are several Indian tribes,very sober, whose fermented be-verages are too weak to intoxi-cate. In New Spain drunkennessis most common among the In-dians who inhabit the valley ofMexico, and the environs ofPuebla and Tlascala, whereverthe maguey or agave are culti-vated on a great scale. The policein the city of Mexico sends roundtumbrels, to collect the drunk-ards to be found stretched out inthe streets. These Indians, whoare treated like dead bodies, arecarried to the principal guard-house. In the morning an ironring is put round their ancles,and they are made to clear thestreets for three days. On let- |282| |Spaltenumbruch|ting them go on the fourth day,they are sure to find several ofthem in the course of the week.The excess of liquors is also ve-ry injurious to the health of thelower people in the warm coun-tries on the coast which growsugar cane. It is to be hopedthat this evil will diminish, ascivilization makes more progressamong a cast of men whose bes-tiality is not much different fromthat of the brutes. Travellers who merely judgefrom the physiognomy of the In-dians are tempted to believe thatit is rare to see old men amongthem. In fact, without consult-ing parish registers, which inwarm regions are devoured bythe termites every twenty orthirty years, it is very difficultto form any idea of the age ofIndians: they themselves (I al-lude to the poor labouring In-dian) are completely ignorant ofit. Their head never becomesgray. It is infinitely more rareto find an Indian than a negrowith gray hairs, and the want ofbeard gives the former a conti-nual air of youth*. The skin of |Spaltenumbruch|the Indians is also less subject towrinkles. It is by no means un-common to see in Mexico, in thetemperate zone half way up theCordillera, natives, and especiallywomen, reach a hundred years ofage. This old age is generallycomfortable; for the Mexicanand Peruvian Indians preservetheir muscular strength to thelast. While I was at Lima, theIndian Hilario Pari died at thevillage of Chiguata, four leaguesdistant from the town of Arequi-pa, at the age of 143. He re-mained united in marriage for 90years to an Indian of the name ofAndrea Alea Zar, who attainedthe age of 117. This old Peru-vian went, at the age of 130, fromthree to four leagues daily onfoot. He became blind 13 yearsbefore his death, and left behindhim of 12 children but onedaughter, of 77 years of age. The copper-coloured Indiansenjoy one great physical advan-tage, which is undoubtedly owingto the great simplicity in whichtheir ancestors lived for thou-sands of years. They are sub-ject to almost no deformity. Inever saw a hunchbacked In-dian; and it is extremely rare tosee any of them who squint, orare lame in the arm or leg. Inthe countries where the inhabi-tants suffer from the goitre, thisaffection of the thyroid gland is
barbas le estan igualmente, se jusgaque pasan de un siglo.” (NoticiasAmericanas, p. 323.) The accuracyof Ulloa, and the opportunities whichhe had of observing every variety ofIndian race, are very universallyknown. Father Gumilla gives an ac-count somewhat similar to Ulloa’s: Trans. * This account differs from that of Ulloa, who says expressly that thesymptoms of old age among the Indi-ans are gray hairs and a beard: pero haydos senales que manifiestan quando sonde edad muy abanzada: la una las ca-nas, y la otra las barbas. The wholepassage runs thus, “Son per le gene-ral de larga vida, aunque dificil de av-eriguar el numero de sus anos; perohay dos senales que manifiestan quan-do son de edad muy abanzada: la unalas canas, y la otra las barbas: aquel-las no empiezcan a parecer hasta queestan en 70 anos o cerca de ellas: es-tas otras hasta que passan de 60, y si-empre son pocas; y asi quando se ven del todo encanecidos, y que las pocas
|283| |Spaltenumbruch|never observed among the Indi-ans, and seldom among the Mes-tizoes. Martin Salmeron, the fa-mous Mexican giant, belongs tothe last class, though erroneous-ly said to be an Indian, whoseheight is 2,224 metres or sixfeet ten inches, and 2 2-3 lines ofParis.* He is the son of a Mes-tizo, who married an Indian wo-man of the village of Chilapael Grande, near Chilpansingo.
When we examine savage hun-ters or warriors we are temptedto believe that they are all wellmade, because those who haveany natural deformity either pe-rish from fatigue or are exposedby their parents, but the Mexicanand Peruvian Indians, those ofQuito and New Granada, are ag-riculturists, who can only be com-pared with the class of Europeanpeasantry. We can have nodoubt then that the absence ofnatural deformities among themis the effect of their mode oflife, and of the constitution pecu-liar to their race. All the menof very swarthy complexion, thoseof Mongol and American origin,and especially the negroes, parti-cipate in the same advantage.We are inclined to believe thatthe Arab-European race possess-es a greater flexibility of organi- |Spaltenumbruch|sation, and that it is easier modi-fied by a great number of exte-rior causes, such as variety of al-iments, climates, and habits, andconsequently has a greater ten-dency to deviate from its originalmodel. What we have been statingas to the exterior form of the in-digenous Americans confirms theaccounts of other travellers of thestriking analogy between the A-mericans and the Mongol race.This analogy is particularly evi-dent in the colour of the skin andhair, in the defective beard, highcheek bones, and in the directionof the eyes. We cannot refuseto admit that the human speciesdoes not contain races resemblingone another more than the Ame-ricans, Mongols, Mantcheoux,and Malays. But the resem-blance of some features does notconstitute an identity of race. Ifthe hieroglyphical paintings andtraditions of the inhabitants of Anahuac, collected by the firstconquerors, appear to indicatethat a swarm of wandering tribesspread from the north-west to-wards the south, we must nottherefore conclude that all theIndians of the new continent areof Asiatic origin. In fact, osteo-logy teaches us that the craniumof the American, differs essential-ly from that of the Mongol: theformer exhibits a facial line, moreinclined, though straighter, thanthat of the negro: and there is norace on the globe in which thefrontal bone is more depressedbackwards, or which has a lessprojecting forehead.* The cheek
* 87,521 inches, or 7 feet 3 1-2 in-ches. Trans. Such is the real size of this giant,the best proportioned whom I haveever seen. He is an inch taller thanthe giant of Torneo, seen at Paris in1735. The American gazettes make Salmeron 7 feet 1 inch of Paris mea-sure. Gazetta de Goatimala, 1800. Agosto, Annales de Madrid, t. iv. No.12. The human species appears tovary from 2 feet 4 inches to 7 feet 8inches, or from Om. 757 to 2m. 489. (Schreber Mamm. t. I, p. 27.)* This extraordinary flatness is tobe found among nations to whom themeans of producing artificial deformi-
|284| |Spaltenumbruch|bones of the American are almost asprominent as those of the Mongol;but the contours are more roun-ded, and the angles not so sharp.The under jaw is larger than thenegroes, and its branches are lessdispersed than the Mongols. The occipital bone is less curved, (bombee) and the protuberanceswhich correspond to the cerebel-lum, to which the system of M.Gall attaches great importance,are scarcely sensible. Perhapsthis race of copper-coloured men,comprehended under the generalname of American Indians, is amixture of Asiatic tribes and theaborigines of this vast continent;and it is not unlikely also that thefigures with enormous aquilinenoses, observed in the hierogly-phical Mexican paintings preser-ved at Vienna, Veletri, and atRome, as in my historical frag-ments, indicated the physiogno-my of some races now extinct. |Spaltenumbruch|The Canadian savages call them-selves Metoktheniakes, born ofthe sun, without allowing them-selves to be persuaded of the con-trary by the black robes, * a namewhich they give to the missiona-ries.
As to the moral faculties ofthe Indians, it is difficult to ap-preciate them with justice, if weonly consider this long oppressedcast in their present state of de-gradation. The better sort of In-dians, among whom a certain de-gree of intellectual culture mightbe supposed, perished in greatpart at the commencement of theSpanish conquest, the victims ofEuropean ferocity. The Chris-tian fanaticism broke out in aparticular manner against the Az-tec priests; and the Teopixqui,or ministers of the divinity, andall those who inhabited the Teo-calli, or houses of God, whomight be considered as the depo-sitories of the historical, mytho-logical, and astronomical know-lege of the country, were exter-minated; for the priests observedthe meridian shade in the gno-mons, and regulated the calendar.The monks burned the hierogly-phical paintings, by which everykind of knowlege was transmittedfrom generation to generation.The people, deprived of thesemeans of instruction, were plun-ged in an ignorance so much thedeeper as the missionaries wereunskilled in the Mexican langua-ges, and could substitute few newideas in the place of the old. TheIndian women who had preservedany share of fortune chose ratherto ally with the conquerors than
ty are totally unknown, as is provedby the crania of Mexican Indians, Pe-ruvians, and Atures, brought over byM. Bonpland and myself, of which se-veral were deposited in the museumof natural history at Paris. I am in-clined to believe that the barbarouscustom which prevails among severalhordes of pressing the heads of chil-dren between two boards, had its ori-gin in the idea that beauty consists insuch a form of the frontal bone as tocharacterise the race in a decided man-ner. The negroes give the preference tothe thickest and most prominent lips;the Calmucks to turned-up noses; andthe Greeks in the statues of heroeshave raised the facial line from 85 to100 degrees beyond nature. (Cuvier, Anat. Comparee, t. II. p. 6.) The Az-tecs, who never disfigure the heads oftheir children, represent their princi-pal divinities, as their hieroglyphicalmanuscripts prove, with a head muchmore flattened than any I have everseen among the Caribs.* Volney, t. II. p. 438. From Teotl. God.
|285| |Spaltenumbruch|to share the contempt in whichthe Indians were held. The Spa-nish soldiers were so much themore eager for these alliances, asvery few European women hadfollowed the army. The remain-ing natives then consisted only ofthe most indigent race, poor cul-tivators, artisans, among whomwere a great number of weavers,porters, who were used like beastsof burden, and especially of thosedregs of the people, those crowdsof beggars, who bore witness tothe imperfection of the social in-stitutions, and the existence offeudal oppression, and who filled,in the time of Cortez, the streetsof all the great cities of the Mex-ican empire. How shall we judge,then, from these miserable re-mains of a powerful people, of thedegree of cultivation to which ithad risen from the twelfth to thesixteenth century, and of the in-tellectual developement of whichit is susceptible? If all that re-mained of the French or Germannation were a few poor agricultu-rists, could we read in their fea-tures that they belonged to na-tions which had produced a Des-cartes and Clairaut, a Kepler anda Leibnitz?
We observe that even in Eu-rope the lower people, for wholecenturies, make very slow pro-gress in civilization. The pea-sant of Brittany or Normandy,and the inhabitant of the Northof Scotland, differ very little atthis day from what they were inthe time of Henry the Fourth and James the First.* When |Spaltenumbruch|we consider attentively what isrelated in the letters of Cortez,the memoirs of Bernal Diaz,written with admirable naivete, andother cotemporary historians, asto the state of the inhabitants ofMexico, Tezcuco, Cholollan, andTlascala, in the time of Monte-zuma the Second, we think weperceive the portrait of the In-dians of our own time. Wesee the same nudity in the warmregions, the same form of dressin the central table-land, and thesame habits in domestic life.How can any great change takeplace in the Indians when theyare kept insulated in villages inwhich the whites dare not settle,when the difference of languageplaces an almost insurmountablebarrier between them and theEuropeans, when they are op-pressed by magistrates chosenthrough political considerationsfrom their own number, and, inshort, when they can only expectmoral and civil improvementfrom a man who talks to them ofmysteries, dogmas, and ceremo-nies, of the end of which theyare ignorant. I do not mean to discuss herewhat the Mexicans were be-fore the Spanish conquest; thisinteresting subject has been al-ready entered upon in the com-mencement of this chapter.When we consider that they had
ever oppose great obstacles to im-provement and civilization; but it isbelieved that these obstacles have sel-dom been more successfully over-come than in the highlands. Of thisabundant proof might be found in thestatistical account of Scotland, didnot the high moral character observa-ble in the highland regiments esta-blish it beyond a doubt. Trans. * What is here asserted of the high-lands of Scotland might have hadmore foundation fifty years ago. Abarren and mountainous country must
|286| |Spaltenumbruch|an almost exact knowledge of theduration of the year, that theyintercalated at the end of theirgreat cycle of 104 years withmore accuracy than the Greeks,* Romans, and Egyptians, we aretempted to believe that this pro-gress is not the effect of the in-tellectual developement of theAmericans themselves, but thatthey were indebted for it to theircommunication with some verycultivated nations of central Asia.The Toultecs appeared in NewSpain in the 7th, and the Aztecsin the 12th century; and theyimmediately drew up the geo-graphical map of the countrytraversed by them, constructedcities, highways, dikes, canals,and immense pyramids very ac-curately designed, of a base of438 metres in length. Theirfeudal system, their civil and mi-litary hierarchy, were already socomplicated, that we must sup-pose a long succession of politi-cal events before the establish-ment of the singular concatena-tion of authorities of the nobilityand clergy, and before a smallportion of the people, themselvesthe slaves of the Mexican sultan,could have subjugated the greatmass of the nation. We haveexamples of theocratical forms ofgovernment in South America; |Spaltenumbruch|for such were those of the Zac* of Bogota, (the ancient Cundina-marca,) and of the Inca of Peru,two extensive empires, in whichdespotism was concealed underthe appearance of a gentle andpatriarchal government. But inMexico, small colonies, weariedof tyranny, gave themselves re-publican constitutions. Now itis only after long popular strug-gles that these free constitutionscan be formed. The existenceof republics does not indicate avery recent civilization. How isit possible to doubt that a part ofthe Mexican nation had arrivedat a certain degree of cultivation,when we reflect on the care withwhich their hieroglyphical books
* M. Laplace discovered in theMexican intercalation, for which Ifurnished him materials collected by Gama, that the duration of the tropi-cal year of the Mexicans is almost theidentical duration found by the astro-nomers of Almamon. For this obser-vation, of such importance in the his-tory of the origin of the Aztecs, see Exposition du Systeme du Monde, troi-sieme edition, p. 554. 1,436 feet. Trans. * The empire of the Zac, whichcomprehended the kingdom of NewGranada, was founded by Idacanzas or Bochica, a mysterious personage,who, according to the traditions ofMozcas, lived in the temple of thesun at Sogamozo during two thousandyears. The Aztec manuscripts are writ-ten either on agave paper, or on stagskins; they are frequently from 20 to22 metres (65 to 71 English feet) inlength; and each page contains from7 to 10 centimetres, or from 100 to150 square inches (French) of sur-face. These manuscripts are foldedhere and there in the form of a rhomb,and thin wooden boards fastened tothe extremities form their binding,and give them a resemblance to ourbooks in quarto. No nation of the old continent ever made such an ex-tensive use of hieroglyphical writing;and in none of them do we see realbooks bound in the way I have beendescribing. We must not confoundwith these books other Aztec paint-ings, composed of the same signs,but in the form of tapestries of 63decimetres, or 60 square feet,(French.) I have seen some of themin the archives of the viceroyalty ofMexico; and I myself possess frag-
|287| |Spaltenumbruch|were composed, and when we re-collect that a citizen of Tlascala,in the midst of the tumults ofwar, took advantage of the facili-ty offered him by our Roman al-phabet to write in his own languagefive large volumes on the historyof a country of which he deplor-ed the subjection?
We shall not here attempt toresolve the problem, however im-portant it may be for history,whether the Mexicans of the 15thcentury were more civilized thanthe Peruvians, or whether, ifboth had been abandoned to them-selves, they would have mademore rapid advances towards in-tellectual cultivation than theyhave done under the dominationof the Spanish clergy. Neithershall we examine whether, not-withstanding the despotism ofthe Aztec princes, the improve-ment of the individual found few-er obstacles in Mexico than inthe empire of the Incas. In thelatter the legislator wished onlyto influence the people en masse; and by subjecting them to a mon-astic obedience, and treating themlike machines, he compelled themto undertake works, the regulari-ty and magnitude of which aston- |Spaltenumbruch|ish us as much as the persever-ance of those who directed them.If we analyse the mechanism ofthis Peruvian theocracy, generallytoo much exalted in Europe, weshall find that wherever peopleare divided into casts, of whicheach can only follow a certainspecies of labour, and whereverthe inhabitants possess no parti-cular property, and labour mere-ly for the benefit of the commu-nity, canals, roads, aqueducts, py-ramids, and immense construc-tions will also be found; but thatthe people preserving for thou-sands of years, the same appear-ance of external comfort makealmost no advances in moral cul-tivation, which is the result of in-dividual liberty alone. In the portrait which we drawof the different races of mencomposing the population of NewSpain, we shall merely considerthe Mexican Indian in his actualstate. We perceive in him nei-ther that mobility of sensation,gesture, or feature, nor that ac-tivity of mind for which severalnations of the equinoxial regionsofAfricaare so advantageouslydistinguished. There cannot ex-ist a more marked contrast thanthat between the impetuous viva-city of the Congo negro, and theapparent phlegm of the Indian.From a feeling of this contrast,the Indian women not only preferthe negroes to the men of their ownrace, but also to the Europeans.The Mexican Indian is grave,melancholic, and silent,* so long
ments of them, which I have causedto be engraved in the picturesqueatlas which accompanies the histori-cal account of my travels. Author. The numbers in the above note aretotally irreconcileable with one ano-ther. A centimetre is equal to .36941of a French inch, consequently 7 and10 centimetres are only .9552 and1.3645 French square inches, and no-thing like 100 and 150 square inches.In the same way a decimetre beingonly as 3.24835: 12 of a French foot,63 decimetres make 5.97 and not 60square feet French. Some mistakemust therefore be either in the metri-cal or common measures here assign-ed, or in both. Trans. * It is difficult to reconcile altogeth-er this account of the Indian tacitur-nity with that given by Ulloa in his Noticias Americanas. He first des-cribes the savage Indians as “largosen los discursos, repitiendo muchasvezes la misma cosa, y durarian el dia
|288| |Spaltenumbruch|as he is not under the influenceof intoxicating liquors. Thisgravity is particularly remarkablein Indian children, who, at theage of four or five, display muchmore intelligence and maturitythan white children. The Mexi-can loves to throw a mysteriousair over the most indifferent ac-tions. The most violent passionsare never painted in his features;and there is something frightful inseeing him pass all at once fromabsolute repose to a state of vio-lent and unrestrained agitation.The Peruvian Indian possessesmore gentleness of manners; theenergy of the Mexican degene-rates into harshness. These dif-ferences may have their origin inthe different religions and the dif-ferent governments of the twocountries in former times. Thisenergy is displayed particularlyby the inhabitants of Tlascala. Inthe midst of their present degra-dation, the descendants of thoserepublicans are still to be distin-guished by a certain haughtinessof character, inspired by thememory of their former gran-deur.
|Spaltenumbruch| The Americans; like the Hin-doos and other nations who havelong groaned under a civil and mi-litary despotism, adhere to theircustoms, manners, and opinions,with extraordinary obstinacy. I sayopinions, for the introduction ofchristianity has produced almostno other effect on the Indians ofMexico than to substitute newceremonies, the symbols of agentle and humane religion, tothe ceremonies of a sanguinaryworship. This change from oldto new rites was the effect ofconstraint and not of persuasion,and was produced by political e-vents alone. In the new conti-nent, as well as in the old, halfcivilized nations were accustom-ed to receive from the hands ofthe conqueror new laws and newdivinities; and the vanquishedIndian gods appeared to them toyield to the gods of the stran-gers.* In such a complicatedmythology as that of the Mexi-
entero sin anadir nada a lo que dixe-ron al principio, si no les procurassecortar.” “En este modo de perorarcon presuncion,” he continues, “fun-dan tambien su ciencia, y la habilidadcon que sobresalen a las otras perso-nas Europeas con quienes tratan,persuadendose a que los inducen afranquearles lo que desean con sugrande eloquencia.” This may bethought only to apply to the savageIndians; but he adds. “Los Indios re-ducidos son lo mismo en sus discursos,largos, cansados, e importunos hastael extremo; y si el lenguage no fuesedistinto, podria creerse que un Indiodel Peru hablaba en el Norte o al con-trario.” (p. 334.) Trans. * The Indians appear to have beennot at all contented with their gods,and to have wished only to get wellrid of them at the arrival of the Spa-niards. Such at least were the senti-ments of the principal Indians in NewSpain, if we may believe Acosta.When an old Indian chief was askedby a reverend father why they hadthrown up their own religion withouteither proof or investigation, or dis-pute, and adopted that of Christ inits place? “We did not act so incon-siderately,” he replied, “as you seemto imagine, for we were so weariedand discontented with our gods thatwe had deliberated about leavingthem in good earnest, and adoptingothers” (porque te hago saber, queestavamos ya tan cansados y descon-tentos, con las cosas que los ídolos nos mandavan, que aviamos tratadode dexarlos y tomar otra ley.) Acosta,p. 357. Trans.
|289| |Spaltenumbruch|cans, it was easy to find out anaffinity between the divinities of Aztlan and the divinity of theeast. Cortez even very artfullytook advantage of a popular tra-dition, according to which theSpaniards were merely the des-cendants of king Quitzalcoatl,who left Mexico for countriessituated in the east, to carry a-mong them civilization and laws.The ritual books composed bythe Indians in hieroglyphics atthe beginning of the conquest, ofwhich I possess several fragments,evidently show that at that peri-od christianity was confoundedwith the Mexican mythology: theHoly Ghost is identified with thesacred eagle of the Aztecs. Themissionaries not only tolerated,they even favoured to a certainextent, this amalgamation of i-deas, by means of which thechristian worship was more easi-ly introduced among the natives.* |Spaltenumbruch|They persuaded them that thegospel had, in very remote times,
ther, “I want to baptize you to secureyou a life that will never end.” (Pa-ra assegurarle una vida que no se acca-be.) “If that be the case,” cries theold woman, “baptize me immediate-ly.” (Yo tambien quiero que me bau-tices.) “I praised God,” says father Gumilla, “on seeing that nobodylikes to die, however troublesome lifemay be, and I admired the stubborn-ness of that heart which could stillflatter itself with such motives; but Iimmediately baptized her.” (Luego labauticé.) Gumilla, vol. II. p. 25. No-thing can be more entertaining thanthe accounts given by the missiona-ries themselves of the arts and finesseto which they were compelled to haverecourse to gain over those unfortu-nate sons of Adam, para obrar la eter-na dicha de aquellos infelices hijos deAdan. Father Gumilla, in his in-structions to young missionaries, laysthem open with more naiveté thanprudence, as we might think; but thefather very piously considered thatthe end justified the means. It mustbe owned that the missionaries dis-played great knowledge of human na-ture. Not a word of religion for a longtime. Presents and kind offices, andlong endeavours to obtain the Indian’sconfidence by anticipating his wants,and entering into his views; but aboveall, the acquisition of the influencewhich their females naturally possess-ed over them, were the prelude tothe grand attack. “The females,”one of them observes, “have everywhere a great capacity for piety, andmust be first attended to.” This bat-tery was to be concealed, for if thedrift was to be perceived in the leastall was lost. (Todo esta primera ba-teria ha de ser oculta de parte del Mis-sionero; porque si se aclara, pierde elviage.) (Gumilla, vol. I. p. 355.)After giving a summary of the laboursand innumerable shifts of these inde-fatigable soul-hunters, (Cazadores deAlmas,) overpowered with the retros-* The missionaries do not seem tohave concerned themselves much a-bout the motives from which the In-dians became christians. Their greatobject was to get as many baptized aspossible, after which all was safe;and they were very much concernedwhen a parting soul could not besnatched from hell for want of a dropof water in the place at the criticalmoment. (Ay! no una gota en elrancho, Gumilla, II. 21.) They wereindefatigable in scenting out dyingpeople, para lograr sus almas. Anold woman (anciana) on the point ofdeath, who, from seeing baptism anddeath generally follow so close uponone another, had very naturally asso-ciated them in her mind as insepara-ble, long resisted all the attempts of aholy father to baptize her. Whenasked her reason, she said it was forfear of death. “O!” replies the fa-
|290| |Spaltenumbruch|been already preached in Ameri-ca; and they investigated itstraces in the Aztec ritual withthe same ardour which the learn-ed, who in our days engage inthe study of the Sanscrit, displayin discussing the analogy betweenthe Greek mythology and that ofthe Ganges and the Barampooter.
These circumstances, whichwill be detailed in another work,explain why the Mexican Indians,notwithstanding the obstinacywith which they adhere to what-ever is derived from their fathers,have so easily forgotten their an-cient rites. Dogma has not suc-ceeded to dogma, but ceremonyto ceremony. The natives knownothing of religion but the exte-rior forms of worship. Fond ofwhatever is connected with aprescribed order of ceremonies,they find in the Christian reli-gion particular enjoyments. Thefestivals of the church, the fire-works with which they are ac-companied, the processions min- |Spaltenumbruch|gled with dances and whimsicaldisguises, are a most fertilesource of amusement for thelower Indians. In these festivalsthe national character is display-ed in all its individuality. Eve-ry where the christian rites haveassumed the shades of the coun-try where they have been trans-planted. In the Philippine andMariana islands, the natives ofthe Malay race have incorporatedthem with the ceremonies whichare peculiar to themselves; andin the province of Pasto, on theridge of the Cordillera of the Andes, I have seen Indians,masked and adorned with smalltinkling bells, perform savagedances around the altar, while amonk of St. Francis elevated thehost.*
pect, the missionary feelingly ex-claims, O! quien podra explicar lasganas, que tienen aquellos Cazadoresde Almas, de que se compongan bienlas cosas, y se legue la hora de poderbautizar aquellos innocentes sin peli-gro!One of the greatest difficulties inwhich the holy fathers were placed,was how to reject the offer of a fe-male companion, which was generallymade them, without giving offence alCacique y a los principales gentiles.When the father modestly blushed,(con la mayor modestia bien sonrosea-do el rostro,) and answered that allhis love was in heaven, it is impossi-ble to tell the fright and consterna-tion it occasioned. (No sabré decirquanta novedad, y espanto causa estao semejante respuesta.) Gumilla, vol.I. p. 356. Trans. * From this singular description wemay discover more plainly the impoli-cy with which conversions have beenhitherto attempted in foreign parts byour missionary societies. Had theysent away instead of the anabaptists,methodists, and presbyterians whichthey picked up in Sweden, the northof Germany, both parts of this island,and the Lord knows where, an equalnumber of our more volatile catholicbrethren in Ireland, the conversionmight already, perhaps, have madea great progress. The people of O-taheité very feelingly exclaimed,“These missionaries give us stillplenty of the word of God, but theygive us no more hatchets;” but theywould have been probably just as wellcontented with singing, and dancing,and fireworks. This is a much moreeconomical method of keeping thesepeople assembled together than thedistribution of hatchets. The catho-lics went better to work. They, too,knew the power of this sort of hatch-et bribery. “Se deba Ilevar avalori-os, cuentas de vidrio, cuchillos, an-zuelos, y otras buxerias, que para los
|291| |Spaltenumbruch| Accustomed to a long slavery,as well under the domination oftheir own severeigns as underthat of the first conquerors, thenatives of Mexico patiently sufferthe vexations to which they arefrequently exposed from thewhites. They oppose to themonly a cunning, veiled under themost deceitful appearances of ap-athy and stupidity. As the In-dian can very rarely revenge him-self on the Spaniards, he delightsin making a common cause withthem for the oppression of hisown fellow-citizens. Harassedfor ages, and compelled to a blindobedience, he wishes to tyran-nize in his turn. The Indian vil-lages are governed by magistratesof the copper-coloured race; andan Indian alcalde exercises hispower with so much the greaterseverity because he is sure of be-ing supported by the priest, orthe Spanish subdelegado. Op-pression produces every where |Spaltenumbruch|the same effects, it every wherecorrupts the morals.* As the Indians almost all ofthem belong to the class of pea-santry and low people, it is not soeasy to judge of their aptitude forthe arts which embellish life. Iknow no race of men who appearmore destitute of imagination.When an Indian attains a certaindegree of civilization, he displaysa great facility of apprehension, ajudicious mind, a natural logic,and a particular disposition to sub-tilize or seize the finest differen-ces in the comparison of objects.He reasons coolly and orderly,but he never manifests that ver-satility of imagination, that glowof sentiment, and that creativeand animating art which charac-terise the nations of the south ofEurope, and several tribes ofAfrican negroes. I deliver this
Gentiles son de mucho aprecio.” (Gu-milla, I. 349.) But they knew thatthis source must soon dry up; andthe holy fathers set all their naturalgallantry to work to gain over the wo-men, who seem to be equally suscep-tible in that quarter, whether savage,or civilized, as the men they were a-ware would soon follow them. Theysaid kind things to the women, prais-ed the beauty of their children tookthem up in their arms and caressedthem. The women are very fond ofthat, says a father, Quando va a ver alos Indios en sus casas, tome en susbrazos alguno de aquellos parvulos, leaccaricie y haga fiestas a su modo:esto apprecian grandement las Indias. How are we to be astonished then atthe very different results of the endea-vours of these two classes of missiona-ries. Trans. * The present state of the world un-fortunately affords too good an illus-tration of this maxim. The West-In-dian slave when he becomes a masteris the most cruel of all masters; andthe life of a negro’s cat, or dog, is sy-nonymous there with a life not worthhaving. The Greeks, who are muchemployed in collecting the revenue inTurkey, are infinitely more persecut-ing than the Turks. And the Hindoohas his most grievous calamities to ap-prehend from his own brethren, armedwith foreign authority. Every wherecunning and cruelty spring from ty-ranny and oppression. Trans. What must our brethren of thenorthern part of this island, who haveattained no small reputation for apragmatical and metaphysical disposi-tion, and who are so much disposed togive metaphysical superiority a prece-dence over all the other human fa-culties, feel, when they find that, mostprobably, their future rivals are not tospring up in any of the rival colleges
|292| |Spaltenumbruch|opinion, however, with great re-serve. We ought to be infinite-ly circumspect in pronouncing onthe moral or intellectual disposi-tions of nations from which weare separated by the multipliedobstacles which result from a dif-ference in language, and a differ-ence of manners and customs. Aphilosophical observer finds whathas been printed in the centre ofEurope on the national characterof the French, Italians, and Ger-mans, inaccurate. How, then,should a traveller, after merelylanding in an island, or remainingonly a short time in a distantcountry, arrogate to himself theright of deciding on the differentfaculties of the soul, on the pre-ponderance of reason, wit, orimagination among nations?
The music and dancing of thenatives partake of this want ofgaiety which characterizes them.M. Bonpland and myself observedthe same thing in all South Am-erica. Their songs are terrificand melancholic. The Indian wo-men show more vivacity than themen; but they share the usualmisfortunes of the servitude towhich the sex is condemned am-ong nations where civilization isin its infancy. The women takeno share in the dancing; but theyremain present to offer ferment-ed draughts to the dancers, pre-pared by their own hands. The Mexicans have preserveda particular relish for painting,and for the art of carving in woodor stone. We are astonished at |Spaltenumbruch|what they are able to executewith a bad knife on the hardestwood. They are particularly fondof painting images, and carvingstatues of saints. They have beenservilely imitating for these threehundred years, the models whichthe Europeans imported withthem at the conquest. This imi-tation is derived from a religiousprinciple of a very remote origin.In Mexico, as in Hindostan, itwas not allowable in the faithfulto change the figure of their idolsin the smallest degree. Whatevermade a part of the Aztec or Hin-doo ritual was subjected to im-mutable laws. For this reason weshall form a very imperfect judg-ment of the state of the arts, andthe natural taste of these nations,if we merely consider the mon-strous figures under which theyrepresent their divinities. Thechristian images have preservedin Mexico a part of that stiffnessand that harshness of featurewhich characterize the hierogly-phical pictures of the age of Mon-tezuma. Many Indian childreneducated in the college of the ca-pital, or instructed at the acade-my of painting founded by theking, have no doubt distinguishedthemselves; but it is much lessby their genius than their appli-cation. Without ever leaving thebeaten track, they display greataptitude in the exercise of thearts of imitation; and they dis-play a much greater still for thepurely mechanical arts. This ap-titude cannot fail of becomingsome day very valuable, when themanufactures shall take theirflight to a country where a rege-nerating government remains yetto be created. The Mexican Indians have pre-
of the south, or even in any of thegreat German universities, but amongthe beardless tribes of the Mexicanmountains, and the banks of the Orin-oco. Trans.
|293| |Spaltenumbruch|served the same taste for flowerswhich Cortez found in his time.A nosegay was the most valuabletreat which could be made to theambassadors who visited the courtof Montezuma. This monarchand his predecessors had collect-ed a great number of rare plantsin the gardens of Istapalapan.The famous hand-tree, the chei-rostemon,* described by M. Cer-vantes, of which for a long timeonly a single individual was knownof very high antiquity, appears toindicate that the kings of Tolucacultivated also trees strangers tothat part of Mexico. Cortez, inhis letters to the emperor Charlesthe Fifth, frequently boasts of theindustry which the Mexicans dis-played in gardening; and he com-plains that they did not send himthe seeds of ornamental flowersand useful plants which he de-manded for his friends of Sevilleand Madrid. The taste for flow-ers undoubtedly indicates a relishfor the beautiful; and we are as-tonished at finding it in a nationin which a sanguinary worshipand the frequency of sacrificesappeared to have extinguishedwhatever related to the sensibilityof the soul, and kindness of affec-tion. In the great market place ofMexico the native sells no peaches, |Spaltenumbruch|nor ananas, nor roots, nor pulque,(the fermented juice of the agave,)without having his shop orna-mented with flowers, which areevery day renewed. The Indianmerchant appears seated in an en-trenchment of verdure. A hedgeof a metre in* height, formed offresh herbs, particularly of grami-na with delicate leaves, surroundslike a semicircular wall the fruitsoffered to public sale. The bot-tom of a smooth green, is dividedby garlands of flowers which runparallel to one another. Smallnosegays placed symmetricallybetween the festoons give thisenclosure the appearance of acarpet strewn with flowers. TheEuropean who delights in study-ing the customs of the lower peo-ple, cannot help being struck withthe care and elegance the nativesdisplay in distributing the fruitswhich they sell in small cages ofvery light wood. The Sapotilles,(achras,) the mammea, pears, andraisins, occupy the bottom whilethe top is ornamented with odo-riferous flowers. This art of en-twining fruits and flowers had itsorigin, perhaps, in that happy pe-riod when, long before the intro-duction of inhuman rites, the firstinhabitants of Anahuac, like thePeruvians, offered up to the greatspirit Teotl the first fruits of theirharvest.
These scattered features, cha-racteristic of the natives of Mex-ico, belong to the Indian peasant,whose civilization, as we have al-ready stated, is somewhat akin tothat of the Chinese and Japanese.I am able only to portray stillmore imperfectly the manners of
* M. Bonpland has given a drawingof it in our Plantes Equinoxiales, vol. i.p. 75. pl. 24. For some little time past,roots of the Arbol de las manitas havebeen in the gardens of Montpellier andParis. The cheirostemon is as remar-kable for the form of its corolla as theMexican gyrocarpus which we haveintroduced into the European gardens,and of which the celebrated Jacquin could not discover the flower, is forthe form of its fruits.* 3 1.4 feet.
|294| |Spaltenumbruch|the pastoral Indians, whom theSpaniards include under the de-nomination of Indios Bravos, andof whom I have merely seen afew individuals, brought to thecapital as prisoners of war. TheMecos (a tribe of the Chichi-mecks,) the Apaches, the Lipans,are hordes of hunters, who, intheir incursions, for the most part,nocturnal, infest the frontiers ofNew Biscay, Sonora, and NewMexico. These savages, as wellas those of South America, dis-play more nobility of mind andmore force of character than theagricultural Indians. Some tribesof them possess even languagesof which the mechanism provesan ancient civilization. They ex-perience great difficulty in learn-ing our European idioms, whilethey express themselves in theirown with great facility. Thesevery Indian chiefs, whose solemntaciturnity astonishes the obser-ver, hold discourses for hourswhen any great interest excitesthem to break their natural si-lence. We observed the samevolubility of tongue in the mis-sions of Spanish Guiana, andamong the Caribs of the lowerOrinoco, of which the languageis singularly rich and sonorous.*
|Spaltenumbruch| After examining the physicalconstitution and intellectual facul-ties of the Indians, it remains forus to give a rapid survey of theirsocial state. The history of the
Mexico. All the words of the Orino-chese languages, he says, constantlyend in vowels, and none of these lan-guages are difficult to pronounce. Butthough they end in vowels, they havenothing of the inarticulate appearanceof the vowel languages of the SouthSea. What wilt thou eat to-morrow?is thus expressed in the Maipureselanguage: Nunaunari iti pare peccariupie? The following will serve toshow the expressiveness of the Mai-purese language: one who has no fa-ther, one who has no mother, one whohas no wife, one who has no children: Macchivacaneteni, matuteni, maanitute-ni, maaniteni. Here are a few vocables from theTamanic and Maipurese languages,with the corresponding ones in Eng-lish.
English. Tamanic. Maip.
Earth Noni Peni
Heaven Capu Eno
Water Tuno Veni
Father Papa Nape
Sun Veju Chie
Fire Vaplo Catti
Bread Ute Ussi
Gilij describes the nations of theOrinoco as libidinous, which soundsrather singularly, applied to Indians;and he gives a very amusing accountof their powers of mimickry, and themanner in which they counterfeit thelanguage and gestures of the mission-aries, for the purpose of turning theminto ridicule. One would think, al-most, that the French nation had sit-ten for the following portrait of theMaipurese. “Generalmente adunqueparlando, son gli Orinochesi di genioallegro; ma sopra ogni altra nazionespiccano i Maipuri per l’affabilita el’amorevolezza con cui trattono i for-
* Gilij, an Italian missionary, whoresided eighteen years among the na-tions of the Orinoco, and became mas-ter of their languages, published threeoctavo volumes at Rome, in 1780-1-2,which he entitled Saggio di StoriaAmericana. In these volumes there ismuch information with regard to theIndians, particularly those of Orinoco.From the samples which he gives oftheir languages, some of them wouldseem to be remarkably expressive, aswell as sonorous, and form in the latterrespect a singular contrast to those of
|295| |Spaltenumbruch|lower classes of a people is therelation of the events which, increating at the same time a greatinequality of fortune, enjoyment,and individual happiness, havegradually placed a part of the na-tion under the tutory and controlof the other. We shall seek invain this relation in the annalsof history. They transmit to usthe memory of the great politi-cal revolutions, wars, conquests,and the other scourges whichhave inflicted humanity; but theyinform us nothing of the more orless deplorable lot of the poorestand most numerous class of so-ciety. The cultivator enjoys free-ly, only in a very small part ofEurope, the fruits of his labour;and we are forced to own thatthis civil liberty is not so muchthe result of an advanced civili-zation, as to the effect of thoseviolent crises during which oneclass or one state has taken ad-vantage of the dissensions of theother. The true perfection ofsocial institutions depends nodoubt on information and intel- |Spaltenumbruch|lectual cultivation; but the con-catenation of the springs whichmove a state is such, that in onepart of the nation this cultivationmay make a very remarkableprogress without the situation ofthe lower orders becoming moreimproved. Almost the wholenorth of Europe confirms thissad experience. There are coun-tries there, where, notwithstand-ing the boasted civilization of thehigher classes of society, the pea-sant still lives in the same degra-dation under which he groanedthree or four centuries ago. Weshould think higher, perhaps ofthe situation of the Indians werewe to compare it with that of thepeasants of Courland, Russia, anda great part of the north of Ger-many.
The Indians whom we seescattered throughout the cities,and spread especially over theplains of Mexico, whose number(without including those of mix-ed blood) amounts to two millionsand a half, are either descendantsof the old peasantry, or the re-mains of a few great Indian fami-lies, who, disdaining alliance withthe Spanish conquerors, preferredrather to cultivate with theirhands the fields which were for-merly cultivated for them by theirvassals. This diversity has a sen-sible influence on the politicalstate of the natives, and dividesthem into tributary and noble orcacique Indians. The latter, bythe Spanish laws, ought to parti-cipate in the privileges of the Cas-tilian nobility. But in their pre-sent situation this is merely an il-lusory advantage. It is now dif-ficult to distinguish, from theirexterior, the caciques from theseIndians whose ancestors in thetime of Montezuma II. constitu-
estieri. Quindi e l’amore che portanloro gli Europei tutti, che li conosca-no. Non v’ ha forse Indiani, che piusi affaciano all umore di ognuno. Fan-no delle amicizie con tutti, ed appenatrovasi in Orinoco una nazione in cuinon siavi qualche Maipure. La lorolingua siccome facilissima ad impara-re, e divenuta tra gli Orinochesi unalingua di moda; e chi poco, chi molto,chi mediocremente, chi bene, la parla-no quasi tutti. I Maipuri nondimeno(il che toglie loro un gran pregio) so-no inconstanti, poco schietti; e nontanto internamente buoni, quanto perl’innata loro civilta compajono agli al-tri. Vol. ii. p. 43.Father Gumilla speaks highly ofthe state of music among the tribesof the Orinoco. Trans.
|296| |Spaltenumbruch|ted the lower cast of the Mexicannation. The noble, from thesimplicity of his dress and modeof living, and from the aspect ofmisery which he loves to exhibit,is easily confounded with the tri-butary Indian. The latter showsto the former a respect which in-dicates the distance prescribedby the ancient constitutions of theAztec hierarchy. The familieswho enjoy the hereditary rightsof Cacicasgo, far from protectingthe tributary cast of the natives,more frequently abuse their pow-er and their influence. Exercis-ing the magistracy in the Indianvillages, they levy the capitationtax: they not only delight in be-coming the instruments of theoppressions of the whites; butthey also make use of their pow-er and authority to extort smallsums for their own advantage.Well informed intendants, whohave bestowed much attentionfor a long time to the detail ofthis Indian administration, assur-ed me that the oppressions of thecaciques bore very heavy on thetributary Indians. In the samemanner, in many parts of Eu-rope where the Jews are stilldeprived of the rights of natura-lization, the rabbins oppress themembers of the community con-fided to them. Moreover, theAztec nobility display the samevulgarity of manners, and thesame want of civilization withthe lower Indians. They remain,as it were, in the same state ofinsulation; and examples of na-tive Mexicans, enjoying the Ca-cicasgo, following the sword orthe law are infinitely rare. Wefind more Indians in ecclesiasti-cal functions, particularly in thatof parish priests: the solitude ofthe convent appears only to have |Spaltenumbruch|attractions for the young Indiangirls.
When the Spaniards made theconquest of Mexico, they found thepeople in that state of abject sub-mission and poverty which every-where accompanies despotism andfeudality. The emperor, princes,nobility, and clergy, (the teopix-qui,) alone possessed the mostfertile lands; the governors ofprovinces indulged with impuni-ty in the most severe exactions;and the cultivator was every-where degraded. The highways,as we have already observed,swarmed with mendicants; andthe want of large quadrupedsforced thousands of Indians toperform the functions of beastsof burden, and to transport themaize, cotton, hides, and othercommodities, which the moreremote provinces sent by way oftribute to the capital. The con-quest rendered the state of thelower people still more deplora-ble. The cultivator was tornfrom the soil, and dragged to themountains, where the workingof the mines commenced; and agreat number of Indians were o-bliged to follow the armies, andto carry, without sufficient nou-rishment or repose, throughmountainous woods, burdenswhich exceeded their strength.All Indian property, whether inland or goods, was conceived tobelong to the conqueror. Thisatrocious principle was evensanctioned by a law, which as-signs to the Indians a small por-tion of ground around the newlyconstructed churches. The court of Spain seeing that the new continent was depopu-lating very rapidly, took mea-sures, beneficial in appearance,but which the avarice and cun- |297| |Spaltenumbruch|ning of the conquerors (conquis-tadores) contrived to direct a-gainst the very people whomthey were intended to relieve.The system of encomiendas wasintroduced. The Indians, whoseliberty had in vain been proclaim-ed by queen Isabella, were till thenslaves of the whites, who appro-priated them to themselves indis-criminately. By the establishmentof the encomiendas, slavery assum-ed a more regular form. To termi-nate the quarrels among the con-quistadores, the remains of theconquered people were sharedout; and the Indians, dividedinto tribes of several hundredsof families, had masters namedto them in Spain from among thesoldiers who had acquired dis-tinction during the conquest, andfrom among the people of thelaw,* sent out by the court asa counterpoise to the usurpingpower of the generals. A great number of the finest encomiendas were distributed a-mong the monks; and religion,which from its principles oughtto favour liberty, was itself de-graded in profiting by the servi-tude of the people. This par-tition of the Indians attachedthem to the soil; and their work |Spaltenumbruch|became the property of the enco-menderos. The slave frequentlytook the family name of his mas-ter. Hence many Indian fami-lies bear Spanish names, withouttheir blood having been in theleast degree mingled with theEuropean. The court of Ma-drid imagined that it had bes-towed protectors on the Indians:it only made the evil worse, andgave a more systematical form tooppression. Such was the state of theMexican cultivators in the 16thand 17th centuries. In the 18ththeir situation assumed progres-sively a better appearance. Thefamilies of the conquistadores arepartly extinguished; and the en-comiendas, considered as fiefs,were not redistributed. Theviceroys, and especially the au-diencias, watched over the inter-ests of the Indians; and their li-berty, and, in some provinces,their ease of circumstances even,have been gradually augmenting.It was king Charles the third es-pecially who, by measures equal-ly wise and energetic, becamethe benefactor of the Indians.He annulled the encomiendas; andhe prohibited the repartimientos, by which the corregidors arbitra-rily constituted themselves thecreditors, and consequently themasters, of the industry of thenatives, by furnishing them, atextravagant prices, with horses,mules and clothes, (ropa.) Theestablishment of intendancies,during the ministry of the count de Galvez, was a memorable e-poqua for Indian prosperity. Theminute vexations to which thecultivator was incessantly expos-ed from the subaltern Spanishand Indian magistracy, have sin-gularly diminished under the ac-
* These powerful men frequentlybore only the simple title of licencia-dos, from the degree which they hadtaken in their faculties. And yet the priests could notconceive why the people run off likechildren from school, as one of thememphatically has it! Su ruda ignoran-cia les hace proceder (aunque viejos)con las modales proprios de ninos, ycon tan leve motivo, como un nino sehuye de la Escuela, se huye un ca-cique con todos sus vasailos de un Pu-eblo, y queda solo el missionero: tales su inconstancia!! Gumilla, vol. i.p. 117. Trans.
|298| |Spaltenumbruch|tive superintendance of the in-tendants; and the Indians beginto enjoy advantages which laws,gentle and humane in general,afforded them, but of which theywere deprived in ages of barba-rity and oppression. The firstchoice of the persons to whomthe count confided the importantplaces of intendant or governorof a province was extremely for-tunate. Among the twelve whoshared the administration of thecountry in 1804, there was notone whom the public accused ofcorruption or want of integrity.
Mexico is the country of ine-quality. No where does thereexist such a fearful difference inthe distribution of fortune, civili-zation, cultivation of the soil, andpopulation. The interior of thecountry contains four cities, whichare not more than one or twodays journey distant from one an-other, and possess a populationof 35,000, 67,000, 70,000, and135,000. The central table-landfrom La Puebla to Mexico, andfrom thence to Salamanca and Ze-laya, is covered with villages andhamlets like the most cultivatedparts of Lombardy. To the eastand west of this narrow stripe,succeed tracts of uncultivatedground, on which cannot be foundten or twelve persons to thesquare league. The capital andseveral other cities have scientificestablishments, which will beara comparison with those of Eu-rope. The architecture of thepublic and private edifices, theelegance of the furniture, the e-quipages, the luxury and dressof the women, the tone of socie-ty, all announce a refinement towhich the nakedness, ignorance,and vulgarity of the lower peo-ple form the most striking con- |Spaltenumbruch|trast. This immense inequalityof fortune does not only exist a-mong the cast of whites, (Euro-peans or Creoles,) it is even dis-coverable among the Indians. The Mexican Indians, whenwe consider them en masse, offera picture of extreme misery.Banished into the most barrendistricts, and indolent from na-ture, and more still from theirpolitical situation, the natives liveonly from hand to mouth. Weshould seek almost in vain a-mong them for individuals whoenjoy any thing like a certainmediocrity of fortune. Instead,however, of a comfortable inde-pendency, we find a few familieswhose fortune appears so muchthe more colossal, as we leastexpect it among the lowest classof the people. In the intendan-cies of Oaxaca and Valladolid, inthe valley of Toluca, and especi-ally in the environs of the greatcity of la Puebla de los Angeles,we find several Indians, who un-der an appearance of poverty con-ceal considerable wealth. WhenI visited the small city of Cholu-la, an old Indian woman was bu-ried there, who left to her chil-dren plantations of maguey (agave)worth more than 360,000 francs.* These plantations are the vine-yards and sole wealth of thecountry. However, there areno caciques at Cholula; and theIndians there are all tributary,and distinguished for their greatsobriety, and their gentle andpeaceable manners. The man-ners of the Cholulans exhibit asingular contrast to those of theirneighbours of Tlascala, of whom
* 15,0001. sterling. Trans.
|299| |Spaltenumbruch|a great number pretend to be thedescendants of the highest titlednobility, and who increase theirpoverty by a litigious dispositionand a restless and turbulent turnof mind. Among the most weal-thy Indian families at Cholulaare the Axcotlan, the Sarmien-tos and Romeros; at Guaxocingo,the Sochipiltecatl; and especiallythe Tecuanouegues in the villagede los Reyes. Each of these fa-milies possesses a capital of from800,000 to 1,000,000 of livres.* They enjoy, as we have alreadystated, great consideration amongthe tributary Indians; but theygenerally go barefooted, and cov-ered with a Mexican tunic ofcoarse texture and a brown co-lour, approaching to black, inthe same way as the very lowestof the Indians are usually dress-ed.
The Indians are exempted fromevery sort of indirect impost.They pay no alcavala; and thelaw allows them full liberty forthe sale of their productions.The supreme council of financesof Mexico, called the junta supe-rior de Real Hacienda, endeav-oured from time to time, especi-ally within these last five or sixyears, to subject the Indians tothe alcavala. We must hope thatthe court of Madrid, which in alltimes has endeavoured to protectthis unfortunate race, will pre-serve to them their immunity solong as they shall continue sub-ject to the direct impost of the tributos. This impost is a realcapitation tax, paid by the maleIndians between the ages of tenand fifty. The tribute is not the |Spaltenumbruch|same in all the provinces of NewSpain; and it has been diminish-ed within the last two hundredyears. In 1601, the Indian paidyearly 32 reals of plata of tributo, and 4 reals of servicio real, in allnearly 23 franks.* It was gradu-ally reduced in some intendan-cies to 15 and even to five franks. In the bishopric of Me-choacan, and in the greatest partof Mexico, the capitation amountsat present to 11 francs.§ Besides,the Indians pay a parochial duty (derechos parroquialos) of 10franks for baptism, 20 franks fora certificate of marriage, and 20franks for interment. We mustalso add to these 61 franks, whichthe church levies as an imposton every individual, from 25 to30 franks for offerings which arecalled voluntary, and which gounder the names of cargos de co-fradias, responsos, and misas parasacar animas.
* From 33,336l. to 41,670l. sterling. Trans. * 19s. 2d. Trans. 12s. 6d. and 4s. 2d. Trans. Compendio de la historia de la Real Hacienda de Nueva Espana, amanuscript work presented by Don Joacquin Maniau, in 1793, to the se-cretary of state Don Diego de Gardo-qui, of which there is a copy in thearchives of the viceroyalty.§ 9s. 2d. Trans. The Spanish clergy seem to havebeen perfectly disposed to make theIndians pay pretty well beforehand inearthly treasure for the heavenly feli-city (eterna dicha) they communicat-ed to them. But what were these tri-fles when weighed in the balance withthe immensity of the benefits import-ed by the catholic arms into these pro-vinces? “El feliz tiempo,” exclaimsthe reverend Father Gumilla, “paratantos millones de Indios, como ya, porla Bondad de Dios, se han salvado, ysalvan (aunque infeliz para los que aunestan en su ciega ignorancia, o ciega-mente resisten a la luz evangelica) em-
|300| |Spaltenumbruch| If the legislation of queen Isa-bella and the emperor Charles V. appears to favour the Indians withregard to imposts, it has deprivedthem, on the other hand, of themost important rights enjoyed bythe other citizens. In an agewhen it was formally discussed ifthe Indians were rational beings,it was conceived granting them abenefit to treat them like minors,to put them under the perpetualtutory of the whites, and to de-clare null every act signed by anative of the copper-coloured race,and every obligation which hecontracted beyond the value of15 francs. These laws are main-tained in full vigor; and they placeinsurmountable barriers betweenthe Indians and the other casts,with whom all intercourse is al-most prohibited. Thousands ofinhabitants can enter into no con-tract which is binding; (no pue-den tratar y contratar;) and con-demned to a perpetual minority,they become a charge to them-selves and the state in which theylive. I cannot better finish thepolitical view of the Indians ofNew Spain than by laying beforethe reader an extract from a me-moir presented by the bishop andchapter of Mechoacan * to the |Spaltenumbruch|king, in 1799, which breathes thewisest views, and the most liberalideas. This respectable bishop, whomI had the advantage of knowingpersonally, and who terminatedhis useful and laborious life atthe advanced age of 80, repre-sents to the monarch, that in theactual state of things the moralimprovement of the Indian is im-possible, if the obstacles are notremoved which oppose the pro-gress of national industry. Heconfirms the principles which helays down by several passagesfrom the works of Montesquieuand Bernardin de St. Pierre.These citations can hardly fail tosurprise us from the pen of a pre-late belonging to the regular cler-gy, who passed a part of his lifein convents, and who filled an e-piscopal chair on the shores ofthe South Sea. “The populationof New Spain,” says the bishop,towards the end of his memoir,“is composed of three classes of
pezo desde que las armas catholicastomaron possession de las principalesprovincias de aquellos dos vastos im-perios, y prosiegue hasta ahora, cre-ciendo siempre en todos angulos delNuevo mundo la luz de la Santa Fe,para eterna dicha de aquellos infeliceshijos d’Adan, (vol. i. p 74.) Trans. mous Cedula real of the 25th October,1795, which permitted the secularjudge to try the delittos enormes ofthe clergy. The Sala del crimen, per-suaded of their right, treated thepriests with severity, and cast theminto the same prisons with the lowestclasses of the people. In this strug-gle, the audiencia ranged themselveson the side of the clergy. Disputes ofjurisdiction are very common in dis-tant countries. They are pursued withso much the greater keenness, as theEuropean policy, from the first disco-very of the new world, has always con-sidered the disunion of casts, of fami-lies, and constituted authorities, thesurest means of preserving the colo-nies in a dependence on the mothercountry.* Informe del Obispo y cabildo eccle-siastico de Valladolid de Mechoacan alRey sobre Jurisdiction y Ymunidadesdel Clero Americano. This report,which I possess in manuscript, con-taining more than 10 sheets, wasdrawn up on the occasion of the fa- Fray Antonio de San Miguel,monk of St. Jerome de Corvan, nativeof the Montanas de Santander.
|301| |Spaltenumbruch|men, whites or Spaniards, Indi-ans and castes. I suppose theSpaniards to compose the tenthpart of the whole mass. In theirhands almost all the property andall the wealth of the kingdomare centered. The Indians andthe castes cultivate the soil; theyare in the service of the bettersort of people; and they live bythe work of their hands. Hencethere results between the Indiansand the whites that oppositionof interests, and that mutual ha-tred, which universally takes placebetween those who possess alland those who possess nothing,between masters and those wholive in servitude. Thus we see,on the one hand, the effects ofenvy and discord, deception, theft,and the inclination to prejudicethe interests of the rich; and onthe other, arrogance, severity,and the desire of taking everymoment advantage of the help-lessness of the Indian. I am notignorant that these evils every-where spring from a great ine-quality of condition. But in A-merica they are rendered stillmore terrific, because there existsno intermediate state; we arerich or miserable, noble or de-graded, by the laws or the forceof opinion, (infame de derecho yhecho.)
“In fact, the Indians and theraces of mixed blood (castas) arein a state of extreme humiliation.The colour peculiar to the In-dians, their ignorance, and espe-cially their poverty, remove themto an infinite distance from thewhites, who occupy the first rankin the population of New Spain.The privileges which the lawsseem to concede to the Indiansare of small advantage to them, |Spaltenumbruch|perhaps they are rather hurtful.Shut up in a narrow space of 600varas (500 metres*) of radius, as-signed by an ancient law to theIndian villages, the natives maybe said to have no individual pro-perty, and are bound to cultivatethe common property, (bienes decommunidad.) This cultivationis a load so much the more in-supportable to them, as they havenow for several years back lostall hopes of ever being able toenjoy the fruit of their labour.The new arrangement of inten-dancies bears, that the natives canreceive no assistance from thefunds of the communalty withouta special permission of the boardof finances of Mexico, (junta su-perior de la Real Hacienda.”)The communal property has beenfarmed out by the intendants;and the produce of the labour ofthe natives is poured into theroyal treasury, where the officialesreales keep an account, underspecial heads, of what they callthe property of each village. Isay what they call the property,for this property is nothing morethan a fiction for these last twentyyears. The intendant even can-not dispose of it in favour of thenatives, who are wearied of de-manding assistance from the com-munalty funds. The junta deReal Hacienda demands informesfrom the fiscal and the asesor ofthe viceroy. Whole years passin accumulating documents, butthe Indians remain without anyanswer. The money of the caxasde communidades is so habituallyconsidered as having no fixeddestination, that the intendant of
* 1,640 feet. Trans.
|302| |Spaltenumbruch|Valladolid sent in 1798 more thana million of franks* to Madrid,which had been accumulating fortwelve years. The king was toldthat it was a gratuitous and patri-otic gift from the Indians of Me-choacan to the sovereign, to aidin the prosecution of the war a-gainst England!
“The law prohibits the mix-ture of casts; it prohibits thewhites from taking up their resi-dence in Indian villages; and itprevents the natives from estab-lishing themselves among theSpaniards. This state of insula-tion opposes obstacles to civiliza-tion. The Indians are governedby themselves; all their subalternmagistrates are of the copper-co-loured race. In every village wefind eight or ten old Indians wholive at the expense of the rest, inthe most complete idleness, whoseauthority is founded either on apretended elevation of birth, oron a cunning policy transmittedfrom father to son. These chiefs,generally the only inhabitants ofthe village who speak Spanish,have the greatest interest in main-taining their fellow-citizens inthe most profound ignorance;and they contribute the most toperpetuate prejudices, ignorance,and the ancient barbarity of man-ners. “Incapable, from the Indianlaws, of entering into any con-tract, or running in debt to theextent of more than five piastres,the natives can only attain to anamelioration of their lot, and en-joy some sort of comfort as com-mon labourers, or as artisans. So-lorzano, Fraso, and other Spanishauthors, have in vain endeavour- |Spaltenumbruch|ed to investigate the secret causewhy the privileges conceded tothe Indians have constantly pro-duced the most unfavourable ef-fects to them. I am astonishedthat these celebrated juriscon-sults never conceived that whatthey call a secret cause springsfrom the very nature of theseprivileges. They are arms whichnever have served for the protec-tion of those which they weredestined to detend, and which thecitizens of the other casts couldnot fail to employ against the In-dian race. Such an union of de-plorable circumstances has pro-duced in them an indolence ofmind, and that state of indif-ference and apathy in which manis neither affected by hope norfear. “The casts, descendants ofnegro slaves, are branded with in-famy by the law, and are subject-ed to tribute. This direct impostimprints on them an indeliblestain; they consider it as a markof slavery transmissible to thelatest generations. Among themixed race, among the mesti-zoes and mulattoes, there aremany families, who, from theircolour, their physiognomy, andtheir cultivation, might be con-founded with the Spaniards; butthe law keeps them in a state ofdegradation and contempt. En-dowed with an energetic and ar-dent character, these men of co-lour live in a constant state of ir-ritation against the whites; andwe must be astonished that theirresentment does not more fre-quently dispose them to acts ofvengeance. “The Indians and the casts arein the hands of the magistratesof districts (justicias territoriales)whose immorality has not a little
* 41,670l. sterling. Trans.
|303| |Spaltenumbruch|contributed to their misery. Solong as the alcaldias mayores sub-sisted in Mexico, the alcaldesconsidered themselves as mer-chants who had acquired an ex-clusive privilege of buying andselling in their provinces, andwho could draw from this privi-lege, in some sort or other, from30,000 to 200,000 piastres, from150,000 to 1,000,000 francs,* andwhat is more, in the short spaceof five years. These usuriousmagistrates compelled the In-dians to purchase, at arbitraryprices, a certain number of cattle.By this means the natives be-came their debtors. Under thepretext of recovering the capitaland usury, the alcalde mayor dis-posed of the Indians, the wholeyear around, as true slaves. Theindividual happiness of these un-fortunate wretches was not cer-tainly increased by the sacrificeof their liberty, for a horse or amule to work for their master’sprofit. But yet in the midst ofthis state of things, brought onby abuses, agriculture and indus-try were seen to increase.
“On the establishment of in-tendancies, the government wish-ed to put an end to the oppres-sions which arose from the repar-timientos. In place of alcaldesmayores, they named subdelegados, subaltern magistrates, to whomevery sort of traffic was prohibit-ed. As no salaries were assign-ed to them, or any sort of fixedemolument, the evil has becomeworse. The alcaldes mayores ad-ministered justice with impartia-lity whenever their own interests |Spaltenumbruch|were not concerned. The sub-delegates of the intendants hav-ing no other revenues but casual-ties, believed themselves author-ised to employ illicit means toprocure themselves a comfortablesubsistence. Hence the perpe-tual oppressions and the abusesof authority to which the poorwere subject; and hence the in-dulgence towards the rich, andthe shameful traffic of justice.The intendants find the greatestdifficulties in the choice of the subdelegados, from whom, in theactual state of things, the Indianscan neither expect support norprotection. That support andthat protection they seek fromthe clergy; and hence the con-stant opposition in which theclergy and subdelegates usuallylive. However the natives placemore confidence in the clergyand magistrates of a superiorrank, the intendants and the oidores, (members of the audien-cia.) Now, Sire, what attach-ment can the Indian have to thegovernment, despised and de-graded as he is, and almost with-out property and without thehope of ameliorating his exist-ence? He is merely attached tosocial life by a tie which affordshim no advantage. Let not yourmajesty believe, that the dread ofpunishment alone is sufficient topreserve tranquillity in this coun-try: there must be other motives,there must be more powerfulmotives. If the new legislationwhich Spain expects with impa-tience do not occupy itself withthe situation of the Indians andpeople of colour, the influencewhich the clergy possess overthe hearts of these unfortunatepeople, however great it may be,
* From 6,250l. to 41,670l. sterling. Trans.
|304| |Spaltenumbruch|will not be sufficient to containthem in the submission andrespect due to their sovereign.
“Let the odious personal im-post of the tributo be abolished;and let the infamy (infamia dederecho) which unjust laws haveattempted to stamp on the peopleof colour be at an end; let thembe declared capable of fillingevery civil employment whichdoes not require a special title ofnobility; let a portion of thedemesnes of the crown, (tierrasrealenguas,) which are generallyuncultivated, be granted to theIndians and the casts; let anagrarian law be passed for Mexicosimilar to that of the Asturiasand Gallicia, by which the poorcultivator is permitted to bringin under certain conditions theland which the great proprietorshave left so many ages uncultivat-ed to the detriment of the nationalindustry; let full liberty be grantedto the Indians, the casts, and thewhites to settle in villages whichat present belong only to one ofthese classes; let salaries beappointed for all judges and allmagistrates of districts; these,Sire, are the six principal pointson which the felicity of the Mex-ican people depends. “It appears strange, no doubt,that, in a juncture when thefinances of the state are in a de-plorable situation, we presumeto propose to your majesty theabolition of the tribute. A verysimple calculation will prove,however, that the adoption ofthe measures above indicated,and the conceding to the Indianall the rights of denizens, will in-crease considerably instead ofdiminishing the revenues of thestate (Real Hacienda.”) Thebishop supposes 810,000 families |Spaltenumbruch|of Indians and men of colour inthe whole extent of New Spain.Several of these families, especi-ally those of mixed blood, areclothed and enjoy some degreeof comfort. They live nearly inthe manner of the lower peopleof the peninsula; and their num-ber is a third of the whole mass.The annual consumption of thisthird part may be estimated at300 piastres per family.* Reck-oning for the other thirds only60 piastres, and supposing theIndians to pay the alcavala of 14per cent. like the whites, an an-nual revenue would be raised of5,000,000 of piastres,§ a muchgreater revenue than the quadru-ple of the present value of thetributes. We will not guarantythe accuracy of the numbers onwhich this calculation is founded;but a simple sketch may sufficeto prove, that on establishing anequality of duties and imposts a-mong the different classes ofpeople, not only the abolition ofthe capitation would create nodeficit in the crown revenues, butthat these revenues would neces-sarily increase with the increaseof comfort and prosperity amongthe natives. We might have hoped that theadministrations of three enlight-ened viceroys, animated with themost noble zeal for the publicgood, the marquis de Croix, thecount de Revillagigedo, and the
* 67l. 12s. 6d. sterling. Trans. 13l. 2s. 6d. sterling. Trans. It is computed that in the warmregion of Mexico, a day labourer re-quires annually for himself and family,in nourishment and clothes, 72 pias-tres. The luxury is nearly 20 piastresless in the cold region of the country.§ 1,093,750l. sterling.
|305| |Spaltenumbruch|chevalier d’Asanza, would haveproduced some happy changes inthe political state of the Indians;but these hopes have been frus-trated. The power of the vice-roys has been singularly dimin-ished of late: they are fettered inall their measures, not only bythe junta of finances, (de RealHacienda,) and by the high courtof justice, (audiencia,) but alsoby the government in the mothercountry, which possesses the ma-nia of wishing to govern in thegreatest detail, provinces at thedistance of two thousand leagues,the physical and moral state ofwhich are equally unknown tothem. The philanthropists af-firm, that it is happy for the In-dians that they are neglected inEurope, because sad experiencehas proved that the most part ofthe measures adopted for theirrelief have produced an oppositeeffect. The lawyers, who detestinnovations, and the Creole pro-prietors, who frequently find theirinterest in keeping the cultivatorin degradation and misery, main-tain that we must not interferewith the natives, because, ongranting them more liberty, thewhites would have every thing tofear from the vindictive spiritand arrogance of the Indian race.The language is always the samewhenever it is proposed to allowthe peasant to participate in therights of a free man and a citizen.I have heard the same argumentsrepeated in Mexico, Peru, andthe kingdom of New Granada,which, in several parts of Ger-many, Poland, Livonia, and Rus-sia, are opposed to the abolitionof slavery among the peasants.
Recent examples ought to teachus how dangerous it is to allowthe Indians to form a status in |Spaltenumbruch| statu, to perpetuate their insula-tion, barbarity of manners, mi-sery, and consequently motivesof hatred against the other casts.These very stupid indolent In-dians, who suffer themselves pa-tiently to be lashed at the churchdoors, appear cunning, active,impetuous, and cruel, wheneverthey act in a body in popular dis-turbances. It may be useful torelate a proof of this assertion.The great revolt in 1781 verynearly deprived the king of Spainof all the mountainous parts ofPeru, at the period when GreatBritain lost nearly all her colo-nies in the continent of America. Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui, knownby the name of the Inca Tupac-Amaru, appeared at the head ofan Indian army before the wallsof Cusco. He was the son ofthe cacique of Tongasuca, a vil-lage of the province of Tinta, orrather the son of the cacique’swife; for it is certain that thepretended Inca was a Mestizo,and that his true father was amonk. The Condorcanqui fami-ly traces its origin up to the Inca Sayri-Tupac, who disappeared inthe thick forests to the east of Vill-capampa, and to the Inca Tupac-Amaru, who, contrary to the or-ders of Philip the Second, wasdecapitated in 1578 under theviceroy Don Francisco de Toledo. Jose Gabriel was carefully e-ducated at Lima; and he return-ed to the mountains, after havingin vain solicited from the courtof Spain the title of marquis d’O-ropesa, which belongs to the fa-mily of the Inca Sayri-Tupac. Hisspirit of vengeance drove him toexcite the highland Indians, irri-tated against the corregidor Arri-aga, to insurrection. The peopleacknowledged him as a descen- |306| |Spaltenumbruch|dant of their true sovereigns, andas one of the children of the sun.The young man took advantage ofthe popular enthusiasm which hehad excited by the symbols of theancient grandeur of the empire ofCusco; he frequently bound roundhis forehead the imperial fillet ofthe Incas; and he artfully min-gled christian ideas with the me-morials of the worship of the sun. In the commencement of hiscampaigns he protected ecclesi-astics and Americans of all co-lours. - As he only broke out a-gainst Europeans, he made aparty even among the Meztizoesand the Creoles; but the Indians,distrusting the sincerity of theirnew allies, soon began a war ofextermination against every onenot of their own race. Jose Ga-briel Tupac-Amaru, of whom Ipossess letters in which he styleshimself Inca of Peru, was not socruel as his brother Diego, andespecially his nephew Andres Con-dorcanqui, who, at the age of 17,displayed great talents but a san-guinary character. This insur-rection, which appears to be verylittle known in Europe, lastednearly two years. I shall givemore minute information withregard to it in the historical ac-count of my travels. Tupac-Amaru had made himself mas-ter of the provinces of Quispi-canchi, Tinta, Lampa, Azangara,Caravaja and Chumbivilcas, whenthe Spaniards made him and hisfamily prisoners. They were allquartered in the city of Cusco. The respect with which thepretended Inca had inspired thenatives was so great, that, not-withstanding their fear of theSpaniards, and though they weresurrounded by the soldiers of thevictorious army, they prostrated |Spaltenumbruch|themselves at the sight of the lastof the children of the sun, as hepassed along the streets to theplace of execution. The brotherof Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui,known by the name of DiegoChristobal Tupac-Amaru, was ex-ecuted long after the terminationof this revolutionary movementof the Peruvian Indians. Whenthe chief fell into the hands ofthe Spaniards, Diego surrender-ed himself voluntarily, to profitby the pardon promised him inthe name of the king. A formalconvention was signed betweenhim and the Spanish general, onthe 26th January, 1782, at the In-dian village of Siquani, situatedin the province of Tinta. He liv-ed tranquilly in his family, till,through an insidious and distrust-ful policy, he was arrested onpretext of a new conspiracy. The horrors exercised by thenatives of Peru towards thewhites in 1781, and 1782, in theCordillera of the Andes were re-peated in part, twenty years after,in the trifling insurrections whichtook place in the plain of Rio-bamba. It is therefore of thegreatest importance, even for thesecurity of the European fami-lies established for ages in thecontinent of the new world, thatthey should interest themselvesin the Indians, and rescue themfrom their present barbarous, ab-ject, and miserable condition. The market of Mexico is rich-ly supplied with eatables, parti-cularly with roots and fruits ofevery sort. It is a most interest-ing spectacle, which may be en-joyed every morning at sun rise,to see these provisions, and a |307| |Spaltenumbruch|great quantity of flowers, broughtin by Indians in boats, descendingthe canals of Istacalco and Chal-co. The greater part of theseroots is cultivated on the chi-nampas, called by the Europe-ans floating gardens. There aretwo sorts of them, of which theone is moveable, and drivenabout by the winds, and the otherfixed and attached to the shore.The first alone merit the deno-mination of floating gardens, buttheir number is daily diminishing. The ingenious invention ofchinampas appears to go back tothe end of the 14th century. Ithad its origin in the extraordina-ry situation of a people surroun-ded with enemies, and compelledto live in the midst of a lakelittle abounding in fish, who wereforced to fall upon every meansof procuring subsistence. It iseven probable that nature herselfsuggested to the Aztecs the firstidea of floating gardens. On themarshy banks of the lakes of Xo-chimilco and Chalco, the agitatedwater in the time of the greatrises carries away pieces of earthcovered with herbs, and boundtogether by roots. These, float-ing about for a long time as theyare driven by the wind, some-times unite into small islands.A tribe of men, too weak to de-fend themselves on the conti-nent, would take advantage ofthese portions of ground whichaccident put within their reach,and of which no enemy disputedthe property. The oldest chi-nampas were merely bits ofground joined together artificial-ly, and dug and sown upon bythe Aztecs. These floating is-lands are to be met with in allthe zones. I have seen themin the kingdom of Quito, on |Spaltenumbruch|the river Guayaquil, of eightor nine metres* in length, float-ing in the midst of the current,and bearing young shoots of bam-busa, pistia stratiotes, pontederia,and a number of other vegeta-bles, of which the roots are ea-sily interlaced. I have found al-so in Italy, in the small lago diaqua solfa of Tivoli, near the hotbaths of Agrippa, small islandsformed of sulphur, carbonate oflime, and the leaves of the ulvathermalis, which change theirplace with the smallest breath ofwind. Simple lumps of earth, car-ried away from the banks, havegiven rise to the invention ofchinampas; but the industry ofthe Aztec nation gradually car-ried this system of cultivation toperfection. The floating gar-dens, of which very many werefound by the Spaniards, and ofwhich many still exist in the lakeof Chalco, were rafts formed ofreeds, (totora,) rushes, roots, andbranches of brushwood. TheIndians cover these light and wellconnected materials with blackmould, naturally impregnatedwith muriate of soda. The soilis gradually purified from thissalt by washing it with the waterof the lake; and the ground be-comes so much the more fertileas this lixiviation is annually re-peated. This process succeedseven with the salt water of the
* 26 or 29 feet. Trans. Floating gardens are, as is wellknown, also to be met with in the ri-vers and canals of China, where anexcessive population compels the in-habitants to have recourse to everyshift for increasing the means of sub-sistence. Trans.
|308| |Spaltenumbruch|lake of Tezcuco, because thiswater, by no means at the pointof its saturation, is still capableof dissolving salt as it filtratesthrough the mould. The chi-nampas sometimes contain eventhe cottage of the Indian whoacts as guard for a group offloating gardens. They are tow-ed or pushed with long poleswhen wished to be removedfrom one side of the banks tothe other.
In proportion as the fresh wa-ter lake has become more distantfrom the salt water lake, themoveable chinampas have becomefixed. We see this last class allalong the canal de la Viga, in themarshy ground between the lakeof Chalco and the lake of Tez-cuco. Every chinampa forms aparallelogram of 100 metres inlength, and from five to six me-tres in breadth.* Narrow ditch-es, communicating symmetricallybetween them, separate thesesquares. The mould fit for cul-tivation, purified from salt byfrequent irrigations, rises nearlya metre above the surface of thesurrounding water. On thesechinampas are cultivated beans,small pease, pimento, (chile, cap-sicum,) potatoes, artichokes, cau-liflowers, and a great variety ofother vegetables. The edges ofthese squares are generally orna-mented with flowers, and some-times even with a hedge of rosebushes. The promenade in boatsaround the chinampas of Istacal-co, is one of the most agreeablethat can be enjoyed in the envi-rons of Mexico. The vegetation |Spaltenumbruch|is extremely vigorous on a soilcontinually refreshed with water. The valley of Tenochtitlan of-fers to the examination of natu-ralists two sources of mineralwater, that of Nuestra Senorade Guadalupe, and that of thePenon de los Banos. Thesesources contain carbonic acid, sul-phate of lime and soda, and mu-riate of Soda. Baths have beenestablished there in a manner e-qually salutary and convenient.The Indians manufacture theirsalt near the Penon de los Banos.They wash clayey lands full ofmuriate of soda, and concentratewater which have only 12 or 13to the 100 of salt. Their cal-drons, which are very ill con-structed, have only six square feetof surface, and from two to threeinches of depth. No other com-bustible is employed but muleand cow dung. The fire is so illmanaged, that to produce twelvepounds of salt, which sells at 35sous,* they consume 12 sous-worth of combustibles. Thissalt pit existed in the time of Montezuma, and no change hastaken place in the technical pro-cess but the substitution of cal-drons of beaten copper to the oldearthen vats. The hill of Chapoltepec waschosen by the young viceroy Galvez as the site of a villa (Cha-teau de Plaisance) for himselfand his successors. The castlehas been finished externally, butthe apartments are not yet fur-nished. This building cost theking nearly a million and a half
* 328 by 16 or 19 feet. Trans. 3.28 feet. Trans. * 1s. 5 1-2d. Trans. 5 3-4d. Trans.
|309| |Spaltenumbruch|of livres.* The court of Madriddisapproved of the expense, but,as usual, after it was laid out.The plan of this edifice is verysingular. It is fortified on theside of the city of Mexico. Weperceive salient walls and parapetsadapted for cannon, though theseparts have all the appearance ofmere architectural ornaments.Towards the north there are fos-ses and vast vaults capable ofcontaining provisions for severalmonths. The common opinionat Mexico is, that the house ofthe viceroy at Chapoltepec is adisguised fortress. Count Ber-nardo de Galvez was accused ofhaving conceived the project ofrendering New Spain indepen-dent of the peninsula; and itwas supposed that the rock ofChapoltepec was destined for anasylum and defence to him incase of attack from the Europeantroops. I have seen men of res-pectability in the first situationswho entertained this suspicionagainst the young viceroy. It isthe duty of an historian, however,not to yield too easy an acquies-cence to accusations of so gravea nature. The count de Galvez belonged to a family that king Charles the third had suddenlyraised to an extraordinary degreeof wealth and power. Young,amiable, and addicted to pleasuresand magnificence, he had ob-tained from the munificence ofhis sovereign one of the firstplaces to which an individualcould be exalted; and, conse-quently, it could not be becomingin him to break the ties which,for three centuries, had unitedthe colonies to the mother coun- |Spaltenumbruch|try.* The count de Galvez,notwithstanding his conduct waswell calculated to gain the favourof the populace of Mexico, andnotwithstanding the influence ofthe countess de Galvez, as beau-tiful as she was generally beloved,would have experienced the fateof every European viceroy whoaims at independence. In a greatrevolutionary commotion, it wouldnever have been forgiven himthat he was not born an American.
The castle of Chapoltepecshould be sold for the advantageof the government. As in everycountry it is difficult to find indi-viduals fond of purchasing strongplaces, several of the ministersof the Real Hacionda have begun,by selling to the highest bidderthe glass and sashes of the win-dows. This vandalism, whichpasses by the name of economy,
* 62,505l. sterling. Trans. * What the intentions of Galvez were is another affair, but can the au-thor seriously believe that these cir-cumstances really do away the suspi-cions which he has mentioned? Noperson was so likely to conceive a pro-ject of the sort, as a man dazzled withthe suddenness of his elevation; fondof magnificence, and popularity. Alas!gratitude is but a small obstacle in theway of ambition. Trans. Of the fifty viceroys who have go-verned Mexico from 1535 to 1808, onealone was born in America, the Peru-vian Don Juan de Acuna, marquis deCasa Fuerte, (1722-1734,) a disinter-ested man and good administrator.Some of my readers will, perhaps, beinterested in knowing that a descen-dant of Christopher Columbus, and adescendant of king Montezuma, wereamong the viceroys of New Spain. Don Pedro Nuno Colon, duke de Ve-raguas, made his entry at Mexico in1673, and died six days afterwards.The viceroy Don Joseph SarmientoValladares, count de Montezuma, go-verned from 1697 to 1701.
|310| |Spaltenumbruch|has already much contributed todegrade an edifice on an elevationof 2,325 metres,* and which, in aclimate so rude, is exposed to allthe impetuosity of the winds. Itwould, perhaps, be prudent topreserve this castle as the onlyplace in which the archives, barsof silver, and coin, could be pla-ced, and the person of the vice-roy could be in safety in the firstmoments of a popular commo-tion The commotions (motinos)of the 12th February, 1608, 15thJanuary, 1624, and 1692, are stillin remembrance at Mexico. Inthe last of these, the Indians,from want of maize, burned thepalace of the viceroy Don Gas-par de Sandoval, count of Galvez,who took refuge in the garden ofthe convent of St. Francis. Butit was only in those times thatthe protection of the monks wasequivalent to the security of a for-tified castle.
To terminate the descriptionof the valley of Mexico, it re-mains for us to give a rapid hy-drographical view of this countryso intersected with lakes and smallrivers. This view, I flatter my-self, will be equally interestingto the naturalist and the civil en-gineer. We have already said,that the surface of the four prin-cipal lakes occupies nearly a tenthof the valley, or 22 square leagues.The lake of Xochimilco (andCholco) contains 6 1-2, the lakeof Tezcuco 10 1-10, San Christo-bal 3 6-10, and Zumpango 1 3-10square leagues (of 25 to the equa-torial degree.) The valley ofTenochtitlan, or Mexico, is a ba- |Spaltenumbruch|sin surrounded by a circular wallof porphyry mountains of greatelevation. This basin, of whichthe bottom is elevated 2,277 me-tres* above the level of the sea,resembles, on a small scale, thevast basin of Bohemia, and (ifthe comparison is not too bold)the valleys of the mountains ofthe moon, described by MM. Herschel and Schroeter. Allthe humidity furnished by theCordilleras which surround theplain of Tenochtitlan, is collectedin the valley. No river issuesout of it, if we except the smallbrook (aroyo) of Tequisquiac,which, in a ravine of smallbreadth, traverses the northernchain of the mountains, to throwitself into the Rio de Tula, orMoteuczoma. The principal supplies of thelakes of the valley of Tenochti-tlan are, 1. The rivers of Papa-lotla, Tezcuco, Teotihuacan, andTepeyacac, (Guadalupe,) whichpour their waters into the lakeof Tezcuco; 2. The rivers of Pa-chuca and Guautitlan, (Quauhti-tlan,) which flow into the lakeof Zumpango. The latter ofthese rivers (the Rio de Gauau-titlan) has the longest course;and its volume of water is moreconsiderable than that of all theother supplies put together. The Mexican lakes, which areso many natural recipients, inwhich the torrents deposit thewaters of the surrounding moun-tains, rise by stages, in propor-tion to their distance from thecentre of the valley, or the siteof the capital. After the lake ofTezcuco, the city of Mexico isthe least elevated point of thewhole valley. According to the
* 7,626 feet. The reader need notbe told, that this is to be understoodas the elevation above the level of thesea, and not the height of the hill ofChapoltepec. Trans. * 7,468 feet. Trans.
|311| |Spaltenumbruch|very accurate survey of MM. Velasquez and Castera, the PlazaMayor of Mexico, at the southcorner of the viceroy’s palace, isone Mexican vara, one foot andone inch* higher than the meanlevel of the lake of Tezcuco, which again is four varas andfour inches lower than the lakeof San Christobal, whereof thenorthern part is called the lake |Spaltenumbruch|of Xaltocan.* In this northernpart, on two small islands, thevillages of Xaltocan and Tonan-itla are situated. The lake ofSan Christobal, properly so call-ed, is separated from that of Xal-tocan by a very ancient dike whichleads to the villages of San Pab-lo and San Tomas, de Chiconaut-la. The most northern lake ofthe valley of Mexico, Zumpango(Tzompango) is 10 varas, 1 foot6 inches higher than the meanlevel of the lake of Tezcuco. Adike (la calzada de la cruz delRey) divide the lakes of Zumpan-go into two basins, of which themost western bears the name ofLaguna de Zitlaltepec, and themost eastern the name of La-guna de Coyotepec. The lakeof Chalco is at the southern ex-tremity of the valley. It containsthe pretty little village of Xico,founded on a small island; and itis separated from the lake of Xo-chimilco by the Calzada de SanPedro de Tlahua, a narrow dikewhich runs from Tuliagualca toSan Francisco Tlaltengo. Thelevel of the fresh water lakes ofChalco and Xochimilco is only 1vara 11 inches higher than thePlaza Mayor of the capital. Ithought that these details mightbe interesting to civil engineers
sague, printed at Mexico. I havetwice myself examined the canal ofHuehuetoca, once in August, 1803,and the second time from the 9th tothe 12th January, 1804, in the compa-ny of the viceroy Don Jose de Iturriga-ray, whose kindness and frankness ofprocedure towards me I cannot speakin too high terms of.* According to the classical workof M. Ciscar, (sobre los nuevos pesosy medidas decimales,) the Castilianvara is to the toise=0.5130: 1.1963and a toise=2.3316 varas. Don Jor-ge Juan estimated a Castilian varaat three feet of Burgos, and every footof Burgos contains 123 lines, two-thirds of the pied du roi. The courtof Madrid ordered in 1783 the corpsof sea artillery to make use of themeasure of varas, and the corps ofland artillery the French toise, a dif-ference of which it would be difficultto point out the utility. Compendiode mathematicas de Don FranciscoXavier Rovira, tom. iv. p. 57 and 63.The Mexican vara is equal to Om,839. The manuscript materials of whichI have availed myself in the compila-tion of this notice are, 1. The minuteplans drawn up in 1802, by orders ofthe dean of the high court of Justice,(Decano de la Real Audiencia deMexico,) Don Cosme de Mier y Tres-palacoios; 2. The memoir presentedby Don Juan Diaz de la Calle, secondsecretary of state at Madrid in 1646,to king Philip IV.; 3. The instructionstransmitted by the venerable Palafox,bishop of La Puebla and viceroy ofNew Spain in 1642, to his successorthe viceroy Count de Salvatierra;(Marques de Sobroso;) 4. A memoirwhich cardinal de Lorenzana, thenarchbishop of Mexico, presented tothe viceroy Buccarelli; 5. A noticedrawn up by the tribunal de Cuentasof Mexico; 6. A memoir drawn upby orders of the count de Revillagige-do; and 7. The informe de Velasquez.I ought also to mention here the curi-ous work of Zepeda, Historia del De-* The elevation of the Plaza May-or, therefore, above Tezcuco is 47.245inches, and that of San Christobal 11feet 8.863 inches. Trans. 29 feet 1 inch 888. Trans. 3 feet 9 inches. Trans.
|312| |Spaltenumbruch|wishing to form an exact idea ofthe great canal (Desague) of Hue-huetoca.
The difference of elevation ofthe four great reservoirs of waterof the valley of Tenochtitlan wassensibly felt in the great inunda-tions to which the city of Mexicofor a long series of ages has beenexposed. In all of them the se-quence of the phenomena hasbeen uniformly the same. Thelake of Zumpango, swelled bythe extraordinary increases of theRio de Guautitlan, and the in-fluxes from Pachuca, flows overinto the lake of San Christobal,with which the Cienegas of Tepe-juelo and Tlapanahuiloya com-municate. The lake of SanChristobal bursts the dike whichseparates it from the lake of Tez-cuco. Lastly, the water of thislast basin rises in level from theaccumulated influx more than ametre*, and traversing the salinegrounds of San Lazaro, flowswith impetuosity into the streetsof Mexico. Such is the generalprogress of the inundations: theyproceed from the north and thenorth-west. The drain or canalcalled the Desague Real de Hue-huetoca is destined to prevent anydanger from them; but it is cer-tain, however, that from a coinci-dence of several circumstances,the inundations of the south, (av-enidas del Sur,) on which, unfor-tunately, the Desague has no in-fluence, may be equally disastrousto the capital. The lakes ofChalco and Xochimilco wouldoverflow, if in a strong eruptionof the volcano Popocatepetl, thiscolossal mountain should sudden-ly be stripped of its snows.While I was at Guayaquil, on |Spaltenumbruch|the coast of the province of Qui-to, in 1802, the cone of Coto-paxi was heated to such a degreeby the effect of the volcanic fire,that almost in one night it lostthe enormous mass of snow withwhich it was covered. In the newcontinent eruptions and greatearthquakes are often followedwith heavy showers, which lastfor whole months. With whatdangers would not the capital bethreatened were these phenome-na to take place in the valley ofMexico, under a zone, where, inyears by no means humid, therain which falls, amounts to 15decimetres*. The inhabitants of New Spainthink that they can perceivesomething like a constant periodin the number of years which in-tervene between the great inun-dations. Experience has provedthat the extraordinary inundationsin the valley of Mexico have fol-lowed nearly at intervals of 25years. Since the arrival of theSpaniards the city has experien-ced five great inundations, 1553, under the viceroy DonLuis de Velasco, (el Viejo,) con-stable of Castile; in 1580, underthe viceroy Don Martin Enre-quez de Alamanza; in 1604, un-der the viceroy Montesclaros; in1607, under the viceroy Don LuisVelasco, (el Segundo,) Marquisde Salinas; and 1629, under theviceroy Marquis de Ceralvo. Thislast inundation is the only onewhich has taken place since the
* 39,371 inches. Trans. * 59 inches. Trans. Toaldo pretends to be able to de-duce from a great number of observa-tions, that the very rainy years, andconsequently the great inundations,return, every 19 years, according tothe terms of the cycle of Saros. Rozier, journal de physique, 1783.
|313| |Spaltenumbruch|opening of the canal of Huehue-toca; and we shall see hereafterwhat were the circumstanceswhich produced it. Since theyear 1629 there have still been,however, several very alarmingswellings of the waters, but thecity was preserved by the desague.These seven very rainy years were1648, 1675, 1707, 1732, 1748,1772, 1795. Comparing togetherthe foregoing eleven epoquas, weshall find for the period of the fa-tal recurrence, the numbers of27, 24, 3, 26, 19, 27, 32, 25, 16,24, and 23; a series which un-doubtedly denotes somewhat moreregularity than what is observedat Lima in the return of thegreat earthquakes.
The situation of the capital ofMexico is so much the more dan-gerous, that the difference of lev-el between the surface of thelake of Tezcuco and the groundon which the houses are built isevery year diminishing. Thisground is a fixed plane, particu-larly since all the streets of Mexi-co were paved under the govern-ment of the count de Revillagi-gedo; but the bed of the lake ofTezcuco is progressively risingfrom the mud brought down bythe small torrents, which is de-posited in the reservoirs intowhich they flow. To avoid a si-milar inconvenience, the Vene-tians turned from their Lagunasthe Brenta, the Piave, the Liven-za, and other rivers, which form-ed deposits in them.* If wecould rely on the results of asurvey executed in the 16th cen-tury, we should no doubt findthat the Plaza Mayor of Mexico |Spaltenumbruch|was formerly more than elevendecimetres* elevated above thelevel of the lake of Tezcuco, andthat the mean level of the lakevaries from year to year. If, onthe one hand, the humidity of theatmosphere and the sources havediminished in the mountains sur-rounding the valley, from thedestruction of the forests; onthe other hand, the cultivation ofthe land has increased the depo-sitions and the rapidity of theinundations. General Andreossy,in his excellent work on the ca-nal of Languedoc, has insisted agreat deal on these causes, whichare common to all climates. Wa-ters which glide over declivities,covered with sward, carry muchless of the soil along with themthan those which run over loosesoil. Now the sward, whetherformed from gramina, as in Eu-rope, or small alpine plants, as inMexico, is only to be preservedin the shade of a forest. Theshrubs and underwood oppose al-so powerful obstacles to the melt-ed snow which runs down the de-clivities of the mountains. Whenthese declivities are stripped oftheir vegetation, the streams areless opposed, and more easilyunite with the torrents whichswell the lakes in the neighbour-hood of Mexico. It is natural enough, that in theorder of hydraulical operationsundertaken to preserve the capitalfrom the danger of inundation, thesystem of dikes preceded that ofevacuating canals or drains. Whenthe city of Tenochtitlan was inun-dated to such a degree in 1446 thatnone of its streets remained dry,
* Andreossy on the canal of theSouth, p. 19* 43 3-10. Trans.
|314| |Spaltenumbruch|Motezuma I. (Huehue Monteuc-zoma,) by advice of Nezahualco-jotl, king of Tezcuco, ordered adike to be constructed of morethan 12,000 metres in length, and20 in breadth.* This dike, partlyconstructed in the lake, consistedof a wall of stones and clay, sup-ported on each side by a range ofpalisadoes, of which considerableremains are yet to be seen in theplains of San Lazaro. This dikeof Motezuma I. was enlargedand repaired after the great inun-dation in 1498, occasioned by theimprudence of king Ahuitzotl.This prince, as we have alreadyobserved, ordered the abundantsources of Huitzilopochco to beconducted into the lake of Tez-cuco. He forgot that the lake ofTezcuco, however destitute ofwater in time of drought, becomesso much the more dangerous inthe rainy season, as the number ofits supplies is increased. Ahuit-zotl ordered Tzotzomatzin, citi-zen of Coyohuacan, to be put todeath, because he had courage e-nough to predict the danger towhich the new aqueduct of Huit-zilopochco would expose the ca-pital. Shortly afterwards theyoung Mexican king very nar-rowly escaped drowning in hispalace. The water increased withsuch rapidity, that the prince wasgrievously wounded in the head,while saving himself by a doorwhich led from the lower apart-ments to the street.
The Aztecs had thus construct-ed the dikes (calzadas) of Tlahuaand Mexicaltzingo, and l’Albara-don, which extends from Iztapa-lapan to Tepeyacac, (Guadalupe,)and of which the ruins at presentare still very useful to the city ofMexico. This system of dikes, |Spaltenumbruch|which the Spaniards continued tofollow till the commencement ofthe 17th century, afforded meansof defence, which, if not quite se-cure, were at least nearly adequateat a period when the inhabitantsof Tenochtitlan sailing in canoeswere more indifferent to the ef-fects of the more trifling inunda-tions. The abundance of forestsand plantations afforded themgreat facilities for constructionson piles. The produce of thefloating gardens (chinampas) wasadequate to the wants of a frugalnation. A very small portion ofground fit for cultivation was allthat the people required. Theoverflow of the lake of Tezcucowas less alarming to men who liv-ed in houses, many of which couldbe traversed by canoes. When the new city, rebuilt by Hernan Cortez, experienced thefirst inundation in 1553, the vice-roy Velasco I. caused the Albara-don de San Lazaro to be construct-ed. This work, executed afterthe model of the Indian dikes,suffered a great deal from the se-cond inundation of 1580. In thethird of 1604 it had to be whollyrebuilt. The viceroy Montescla-ros then added, for the safety ofthe capital, the Presa d’Oculma,and the three calzadas of NuestraSenora de Guadalupe, San Chris-tobal, and San Antonio Abad. These great constructions werescarcely finished, when, from aconcurrence of extraordinary cir-cumstances, the capital was a-gain inundated in 1607. Two in-undations had never before fol-lowed so closely upon one anoth-er; and the fatal cycle of thesecalamities has never since beenshorter than sixteen or seventeenyears. Tired of constructingdikes, (albaradones,) which thewater periodically destroyed, they
* 395,369 by 65,6 feet. Trans.
|315| |Spaltenumbruch|discovered at last that it was timeto abandon the old hydraulicalsystem of the Indians, and to adoptthat of canals of evacuation. Thischange appeared so much themore necessary, as the city in-habited by the Spaniards had noresemblance in the least to thecapital of the Aztec empire.The lower part of the houses wasnow inhabited; few streets couldbe passed through in boats; andthe inconveniencies and real los-ses occasioned by the inundationswere consequently much greaterthan what they had been in thetime of Motezuma.
The extraordinary rise of theriver Guautitlan and its tributarystreams being looked upon as theprincipal cause of the inundations,the idea naturally occurred ofpreventing this river foom dis-charging itself into the lake ofZumpango, the mean level of thesurface of which is 7 ½ metres* higher than the Plaza Mayor ofMexico. In a valley circularlysurrounded by high mountains,it was only possible to find a ventfor the Rio de Guautitlan througha subterraneous gallery, or anopen canal through these verymountains. In fact, in 1580, atthe epoch of the great inundation,two intelligent men, the licencia-do Obregon, and the maestro Ar-ciniega, proposed to governmentto have a gallery pierced betweenthe Cerro de Sincoque, and theLoma of Nochistongo. This wasthe point which more than anyother was likely to fix the atten-tion of those who had studied theconfiguration of the Mexicanground. It was nearest to theRio de Guautitlan, justly conside- |Spaltenumbruch|red the most dangerous enemy ofthe capital. Nowhere the moun-tains surrounding the valley areless elevated, and present a smal-ler mass than to the N. N. W. ofHuehuetoca, near the hills of No-chistongo. One would say onexamining attentively the marlysoil of which the horizontal stra-ta fill a porphyritical defile, thatthe valley of Tenochtitlan for-merly communicated at that placewith the valley of Tula.


The progress of agriculture,in this peaceful conquest of in-dustry is so much the more in-teresting, as the natives of thiscoast, very different from thoseof Nootka and Norfolk bay, wereonly thirty years ago a wanderingtribe, subsisting on fishing andhunting, and cultivating no sortof vegetables. The Indians ofthe bay of S. Francisco were e-qually wretched at that time withthe inhabitants of Van Diemen’sLand. The natives were foundsomewhat more advanced in civi-lization in 1769 only in the canalof Santa Barbara. They con-structed large houses of a pyra-midal form close to one another.They appeared benevolent andhospitable; and they presentedthe Spaniards with vases verycuriously wrought of stalks ofrushes. M. Bonpland possessesseveral of these vases in his col-lections, which are covered within with a very thin layer of as-phaltus, that renders them impe-netrable to water, or the strongliquors which they may happento contain.
* 24 6-10 feet. Trans.
|316| |Spaltenumbruch| The northern part of Califor-nia is inhabited by the two na-tions of the Rumsen and Esce-len.* They speak languages to-taily different from one another,and they form the population ofthe presidio and the village ofMonterey. In the bay of SanFrancisco the language of thedifferent tribes of the Matalans,Salsen, and Quirotes, are derivedfrom a common root. I haveheard several travellers speak ofthe analogy between the Mexicanor Aztec language, and the idi-oms of the north-west coast of North America. It appeared tome, however, that they exagge-rated the resemblance between |Spaltenumbruch|these American languages. Onexamining carefully the vocabu-laries formed at Nootka andMonterey, I was struck with thesimiliarty of tone and termina-tion to those of Mexico in seve-ral words, as, for example, in thelanguage of the Nootkians; ap-quixitl (to embrace,) temextixitl(to kiss,) cocotl (otter,) hitlzitl(to sigh,) tzitzimitz (earth,) andimcoatzimitl (the name of amonth.) However, the languagesof New California and the islandof Quadra differ in general es-sentially from the Aztec, as maybe seen in the cardinal numbersbrought together in the followingtable.
Mexican. Escelen. Rumsen. Nootka.
1. Ce Pek Enjala Sahuac
2. Ome Ulhai Ultis Atla
3. Jei Julep Kappes Catza
4. Nahui Jamajus Ultitzim Nu
5. Macuilli Pamajala Haliizu Sutcha
6. Chicuace Pegualanai Halishakem Nupu
7. Chicome Julajualanai Kapkamaishakem Atlipu
8. Chicuei Julepjualanai Ultumaishakem Atlcual
9. Chiucnahui Jamajusjualanai Pakke Tzahuacuatl
10. Matlactli Tomoila Tamchaigt Ayo
|Spaltenumbruch| The Nootka words are takenfrom a manuscript of M. Mozino,and not from Cook’s vocabulary,in which ayo is confounded withhaecoo, nu with mo, &c. &c. Father Lasuen observed thaton an extent of 180 leagues ofthe coast of California from SanDiego to San Francisco, no fewer |Spaltenumbruch|than 17 languages are spoken,which can hardly be consideredas dialects of a small number ofmother-languages. This asser-tion will not astonish those whoknow the curious researches ofMM. Jefferson, Volney, Barton,Hervas, William de Humboldt,Vater, and Frederic Schlegel,* on
* Manuscript of Father Lasuen. Galiano calls them Rumsien andEslen.* See the classical work of M.Schlegel, on the language, philoso-phy, and poetry of the Hindoos, in
|317| |Spaltenumbruch|the subject of the American lan-guages.
The population of New Cali-fornia would have augmented stillmore rapidly if the laws by whichthe Spanish presidios have beengoverned for ages were not direct-ly opposite to the true interests ofboth mother country and colonies.By these laws the soldiers sta-tioned at Monterey are not per-mitted to live out of their bar-racks and to settle as colonists.The monks are generally averseto the settlement of colonists ofthe white cast, because beingpeople who reason, (gente de ra-zon.*) they do not submit so ea-sily to a blind obedience as theIndians. “It is truly distress-ing,” (says a well informed andenlightened Spanish navigator,)“that the military who pass apainful and laborious life, cannotin their old age settle in the coun-try and employ themselves inagriculture. The prohibition ofbuilding houses in the neighbour-hood of the presidio is contraryto all the dictates of sound policy.If the whites were permitted toemploy themselves in the culti-vation of the soil and the rearingof cattle, and if the military, byestablishing their wives and chil-dren in cottages, could prepare |Spaltenumbruch|an asylum against the indigenceto which they are too frequentlyexposed in their old age, NewCalifornia would soon become aflourishing colony, a resting placeof the greatest utility for theSpanish navigators who trade be-tween Peru, Mexico, and thePhilippine islands.” On remov-ing the obstacles which we havepointed out, the Malouine islands,the missions of the Rio Negro,and the coasts of San Franciscoand Monterey, would soon bepeopled with a great number ofwhites. But what a striking con-trast between the principles ofcolonization followed by the Spa-niards, and those by which GreatBritain has created in a few yearsvillages on the eastern coast ofNew Holland! The Rumsen and Escelen In-dians share with the nations ofthe Aztec race, and several ofthe tribes of northern Asia, astrong inclination for warm baths.The temazcalli, still found atMexico, of which the Abbe Cla-vigero has given an exact repre-sentation,* are true vapour baths.The Aztec Indian remains stretch-ed out in a hot oven, of whichthe flags are continually watered;but the natives of New Califor-nia use the bath formerly recom-mended by the celebrated Frank-lin, under the name of warm airbath. We accordingly find inthe missions beside each cottagea small vaulted edifice in theform of a temazcalli. Return-ing from their labour, the Indiansenter the oven, in which a fewmoments before, the fire has beenextinguished; and they remain
which are to be found very enlargedviews relative to the mechanism, Imay say the organization, of the lan-guages of the two continents.* In the Indian villages the nativesare distinguished from the gente derazon. The whites, mulattoes, ne-groes, and all the casts which are notIndians go under the designation ofgente de razon; a humiliating ex-pression for the natives, which had itsorigin in ages of barbarism. Journal of Don Dionisio Galiano.* Clavigero, II. p. 214.
|318| |Spaltenumbruch|there for a quarter of an hour.When they feel themselves co-vered over with perspiration, theyplunge into the cold water of aneighbouring stream, or wallowabout in the sand. This rapidtransition from heat to cold, andthe sudden suppression of thecutaneous transpiration which aEuropean would justly dread,causes the most agreeable sensa-tions to the savage, who enjoyswhatever strongly agitates himor acts with violence on his ner-vous system.*
The Indians who inhabit thevillages of New California havebeen for some years employed inspinning coarse woollen stuffs,called frisadas. But their prin-cipal occupation, of which theproduce might become a veryconsiderable branch of commerce,is the dressing of stag skins. Itappears to me that it may not beuninteresting to relate here whatI could collect from the manu-script journals of colonel Costan-zo, relative to the animals whichlive in the mountains betweenSan Diego and Monterey, andthe particular address with whichthe Indians got possession of thestags. In the cordillera of small ele-vation which runs along thecoast, as well as in the neighbour-ing savannas, there are neitherbuffaloes nor elks; and on thecrest of the mountains whichare covered with snow in themonth of November, the beren-dos, with small chamois horns,of which we have already spoken,feed by themselves. But all the |Spaltenumbruch|forest and all the plains coveredwith gramina are filled with flocksof stags of a most gigantic size,the branches of which are roundand extremely large. Forty orfifty of them are frequently seenat a time: they are of a browncolour, smooth, and without spot.Their branches, of which theseats of the antlers are not flat,are nearly 15 decimetres* (4 ½feet) in length. It is affirmedby every traveller, that this greatstag of New California is one ofthe most beautiful animals of Spanish America. It probablydiffers from the wewakish of M.Hearne, or the elk of the UnitedStates, of which naturalists havevery improperly made the twospecies of cervus canadensis, andcervus strongyloceros. Thesestags of New California, not tobe found in Old California, for-merly struck the navigator Se-bastian Viscaino, when he putinto the port of Monterey on the15th December, 1602. He as-serts “that he saw some, ofwhich the branches were threemetres (nearly nine feet) inlength.” These venados run withextraordinary rapidity, throwingtheir head back, and supportingtheir branches on their backs.The horses of New Biscay, whichare famed for running, are inca-pable of keeping up with them;and they only reach them at themoment when the animal, who
* Most readers probably know thatthis transition from hot to cold bath-ing is practised also in Russia. Trans. * 4 feet 11 inches English. Trans. There still prevails a good deal ofuncertainty as to the specific charac-ters of the great and small stags (ve-nados) of the new continent. See theinteresting researches of M. Cuvier,contained in his Memoire sur les osfossiles des ruminans. Annales duMuseum, An. VI. p. 353.
|319| |Spaltenumbruch|very seldom drinks, comes toquench his thirst. He is thentoo heavy to display all the ener-gy of his muscular force, and iseasily come up with. The hun-ter who pursues him gets thebetter of him by means of anoose, in the same way as theymanage wild horses and cattle inthe Spanish colonies. The Indi-ans make use, however, of ano-ther very ingenious artifice to ap-proach the stags and kill them.They cut off the head of a vena-do, the branches of which arevery long; and they empty theneck, and place it on their ownhead. Masked in this manner,but armed also with bows and ar-rows, they conceal themselvesin the brushwood, or among thehigh and thick herbage. By im-itating the motion of a stag whenit feeds, they draw round themthe flock, which becomes thevictim of the deception. Thisextraordinary hunt was seen byM. Costanzo on the coast of thechannel of Santa Barbara; and itwas seen twenty four years after-wards in the savannas in theneighbourhood of Monterey* bythe officers embarked in the ga-letas Sutil and Mexicana. Theenormous stag-branches which Montezuma displayed as objectsof curiosity to the companions of Cortez belonged, perhaps, to thevenados of New California. Isaw two of them, which werefound in the old monument ofXoachicalco, still preserved inthe palace of the viceroy. Not-withstanding the want of interiorcommunication in the fifteenthcentury, in the kingdom of Ana-huac, it would not have been ex- |Spaltenumbruch|traordinary if these stags hadcome from hand to hand fromthe 35° to the 20° of latitude, inthe same manner as we see thebeautiful piedras de Mahagua ofBrazil among the Caribs, nearthe mouth of the Orinoco.
The Spanish and Russian esta-blishments being hitherto the on-ly ones which exist on the north-west coast of America, it maynot be useless here to enumerateall the missions of New Califor-nia which have been founded upto 1803. This detail is more in-teresting at this period than ever,as the United States have showna desire to advance towards thewest, towards the shores of thegreat ocean, which, opposite toChina, abound with beautiful fursof sea otters. The missions of New Califor-nia run from south to north inthe order here indicated: San Diego, a village foundedin 1769, fifteen leagues distantfrom the most northern missionof Old California. Population in1802, 1,560. San Luis Rey de Francia, a vil-lage founded in 1798, 600. San Juan Capistrano, a villagefounded in 1776, 1,000. San Gabriel, a village foundedin 1771, 1,050. San Fernando, a village found-ed in 1797, 600. San Buenaventura, a villagefounded in 1782, 950. Santa Barbara, a village found-ed in 1786, 1,100. La Purissima Concepcion, avillage founded in 1787, 1,000. San Luis Obispo, a villagefounded in 1772, 700. San Miguel, a village foundedin 1797, 600. Soledad, a village founded in1791, 570.
* Viage a Fuca, p. 164.
|320| |Spaltenumbruch| San Antonio de Padua, a vil-lage founded in 1771, 1,050. San Carlos de Monterey, capi-tal of New California, founded in1770, at the foot of the Cordilleraof Santa Lucia, which is coveredwith oaks, pines, (foliis ternis,)and rose bushes. The village istwo leagues distant from the pre-sidio of the same name. It ap-pears that the bay of Montereyhad already been discovered byCabrillo on the 15th November,1542, and that he gave it thename of Bahia de los Pinos, onaccount of the beautiful pineswith which the neighbouringmountains are covered. It recei-ved its present name sixty yearsafterwards from Viscaino, in ho-nour of the viceroy of Mexico,Gaspar de Zunega count de Mon-terey, an active man, to whom weare indebted for considerable ma-ritime expeditions, and who en-gaged Juan de Onate in the con-quest of New Mexico. Thecoasts in the vicinity of San Car-los produce the famous aurummerum (ormier) of Monterey, inrequest by the inhabitants ofNootka, and which is employedin the trade of otter skins. Thepopulation of San Carlos is 700. San Juan Bautista, a villagefounded in 1797, 960. Santa Cruz, a village foundedin 1794, 440. Santa Clara, a village foundedin 1777, 1,300. San Jose, a village founded in1797, 630. San Francisco, a village found-ed in 1776, with a fine port. Thisport is frequently confounded bygeographers with the port ofDrake further north, under the38th degree 10th minute of lati-tude, called by the Spaniards the |Spaltenumbruch|puerto de Bodega. Population ofSan Francisco, 820. We are ignorant of the num-ber of whites, mestizoes, and mu-lattoes, who live in New Califor-nia, either in the presidios or inthe service of the monks of St. Francis. I believe their numbermay be about 1,300; for in thetwo years of 1801 and 1802, therewere in the cast of whites andmixed blood 32 marriages, 182baptisms, and 82 deaths. It isonly on this part of the popula-tion that the government canreckon for the defence of thecoast, in case of any military at-tack by the maritime powers ofEurope!
Recapitulation of the total popula-tion of New Spain.
Indigenous, or Indians 2,500,000
Whites or Spaniards
Creoles 1,025,000
Europeans 75,000 1,100,000
African Negroes 6,100
Casts of mixed blood 1,231,000
Total, 5,837,100
These numbers are only theresult of a calculation by approx-imation. We have judged pro-per to adopt the sum total alreadymentioned.*
* The reader will perceive on sum-ming up the above table that the a-mount is only 4,837,100, consequentlythere is a million of deficiency some-where. M. de Humboldt elsewherestates the Indians at two-fifths of thewhole population of New Spain, sothey are not underrated here. In thecommencement of the 7th chapter theauthor observes that the whites wouldoccupy the second place, considered
|321| |Spaltenumbruch| After this view of the provin-ces of which the vast empire ofMexico is composed, it remainsfor us to bestow a rapid glanceon the coast of the Great Ocean,which extends from the port ofSan Francisco, and from capeMendocino to the Russian es-tablishments in Prince William’sSound. The whole of this coast hasbeen visited since the end of the16th century by Spanish naviga-tors; but they have only beencarefully examined by order ofthe viceroys of New Spain since1774. Numerous expeditions ofdiscovery have followed one ano-ther up to 1792. The colony at-tempted to be established by theSpaniards at Nootka fixed forsome time the attention of allthe maritime powers of Europe.A few sheds erected on the coast,and a miserable bastion defendedby swivel guns, and a few cabba-ges planted within an enclosure, |Spaltenumbruch|were very near exciting a bloodywar between Spain and England;and it was only by the destructionof the establishment founded atthe island of Quadra and of Van-couver that Macuina, the tays orprince of Nootka was enabled topreserve his independence. Se-veral nations of Europe have fre-quented this latitude since 1786,for the sake of the trade in seaotter skins; but their rivalry hashad the most disadvantageous con-sequences both for themselvesand the natives of the country.The price of the skins as theyrose on the coast of America fellenormously in China. Corruptionof manners has increased amongthe Indians; and by following thesame policy by which the Africancoasts have been laid waste, theEuropeans endeavoured to takeadvantage of the discord amongthe Tays. Several of the mostdebauched sailors deserted theirships to settle among the natives ofthe country. At Nootka, as well asat the Sandwich islands, the mostfearful mixture of primitive bar-barity with the vices of polishedEurope is to be observed. It isdifficult to conceive that the fewspecies of roots of the old conti-nent transplanted into these fer-tile regions by voyagers, whichfigure in the list of benefits thatthe Europeans boast of havingbestowed on the inhabitants ofthe South Sea islands, have prov-ed any thing like a compensationfor the real evils which they intro-duced among them. At the glorious epoqua in the16th century, when the Spanishnation, favoured by a combinationof singular circumstances, freelydisplayed the resources of theirgenius and the force of their cha-racter, the problem of a passage
only in the relation of number. In theabove table, however, they are inferiorin number to the casts of mixed blood.In the second paragraph of the 7thchapter the author states the amountof the whites at 1,200,000. We aretempted to think that the two first fi-gures of this number ought to changeplace with one another, which wouldthen make 2,100,000. This wouldgive us the additional million wantingin the above table. However, the authoradds that nearly a fourth part of thewhite population of 1,200,000 inhabitthe provincias internas. Now the wholepopulation of the provincias inter-nas, including whatever Indians or o-ther races there may be in them,amounts only to 423,300. So that de-ducting the Indians, &c. this numberwould approach nearer perhaps to afourth of 1,200,000 than of 2,100,000.Amidst these difficulties the readermust decide for himself. Trans.
|322| |Spaltenumbruch|to the north-west, and a directroad to the East-Indies, occupiedthe minds of the Castilians withthe same ardour displayed by someother nations within these thirtyor forty years. We do not alludeto the apocryphal voyages of Fer-rer Maldonado, Juan de Fuca and Bartolome Fonte, to which for along time only too much impor-tance was given. The most partof the impostures published un-der the names of these three na-vigators were destroyed by thelaborious and learned discussionsof several officers of the Spanishmarine.* In place of bringingforward names nearly fabulous,and losing ourselves in the un-certainty of hypotheses, we shallconfine ourselves to indicate herewhat is incontestibly proved byhistorical documents. The fol-lowing notices partly drawn fromthe manuscript memoirs of DonAntonio Bonilla and M. Casasola,preserved in the archives of theviceroyalty of Mexico, presentfacts which, combined together,deserve the attention of the rea-der. These notices displaying, asit were, the varying picture of thenational activity, sometimes exci-ted and sometimes palsied, willeven be interesting to those whodo not believe that a country in-habited by freemen belongs to theEuropean nation who first saw it.
The names of Cabrillo and Ga- |Spaltenumbruch|li are less celebrated than Fuca and Fonte. The true recital of amodest navigator has neither thecharm nor the power which ac-company deception. Juan Rodri-guez Cabrillo visited the coast ofNew California to the 37th degree10th minute, or the Punta delAno Nuevo, to the north of Mon-terey. He perished (on the 3dJanuary, 1543) at the island ofSan Bernardo, near the channelof Santa Barbara.* But Bartolo-me Ferrelo, his pilot, continuedhis discoveries northwards to the43d degree of latitude, when hesaw the coast of Cape Blanc, cal-led by Vancouver Cape Orford. Francisco Gali, in his voyagefrom Macao to Acapulco, discov-ered in 1582 the north west coastof America under the 57th de-gree 30th minute. He admired,like all those who since his timehave visited New Cornwall, thebeauty of those colossal moun-tains, of which the summit is co-vered with perpetual snow, whiletheir bottom is covered with themost beautiful vegetation. Oncorrecting the old observationsby the new in places of which theidentity is ascertained, we findthat Gali coasted part of the Ar-chipelago of the prince of Wales,or that of king George. Sir Fran-cis Drake only went as far as the48th degree of latitude to thenorth of cape Grenville in NewGeorgia. Of the two expeditions under-taken by Sebastian Viscaino in
* Memoirs of Don Ciriaco Cevallos.Researches into the archives of Se-ville, by Don Augustin Cean. Histo-rical introduction to the voyage of Ga-liano and Valdez, p. xlix, lvi, andlxxvi, lxxxiii. Notwithstanding allmy inquiries, I could never discoverin New Spain a single document inwhich the pilot Fuca or the admiral Fonte were named.* According to the manuscript pre-served in the archivo general de Indi-as at Madrid. These corrections have been al-ready made in this work whereverthe latitudes of the old navigatorsare cited. Viage de la Sutil, p. xxxi.
|323| |Spaltenumbruch|1596 and 1602, the last only wasdirected to the coast of New Ca-lifornia. Thirty two maps, drawnup at Mexico, by the cosmogra-pher Henry Martinez,* prove thatViscaino surveyed these coastswith more care and more intelli-gence than was ever done by anypilot before him. The diseasesof his crew, the want of provision,and the extreme rigour of theseason, prevented him, however,from ascending higher than capeS. Sebastian, situated under the42d degree of latitude, a little tothe north of the bay of the Trini-ty. One vessel of Viscaino’s ex-pedition, the frigate commandedby Antonio Florez, alone passedcape Mendocino. This frigatereached the mouth of a river inthe 43d degree of latitude, whichappears to have been already dis-covered by Cabrillo in 1543, andwhich was believed by Martin deAguilar to be the western extre-mity of the straits of Anian. Wemust not confound this entry orriver of Aguilar, which could notbe found again in our times, withthe mouth of the Rio Columbia(latitude 46th degree 15th mi-nute) celebrated from the voya-ges of Vancouver, Gray, and cap-tain Lewis.
The brilliant epoqua of the dis-coveries made anciently by the |Spaltenumbruch|Spaniards on the north-west coastof America ended with Gali andViscaino. The history of the na-vigations of the 17th century, andthe first half of the 18th, offers usno expedition directed from thecoast of Mexico to the immenseshore from cape Mendocino tothe confines of eastern Asia. Inplace of the Spanish the Russianflag was alone seen to float inthese latitudes, waving on thevessels commanded by two in-trepid navigators, Beering andTschiricow. At length, after an interruptionof nearly 170 years, the court ofMadrid again turned its attentionto the coast of the Great Ocean.But it was not alone the desire ofdiscoveries useful to science whichroused the government from itslethargy. It was rather the fear ofbeing attacked in its most northernpossessions of New Spain; it wasthe dread of seeing European es-tablishments in the neighbourhoodof those of California. Of all theSpanish expeditions undertakenbetween 1774 and 1792 the twolast alone bear the true characterof expeditions of discovery. Theywere commanded by officers whoselabours display an intimate ac-quaintance with nautical astrono-my. The names of AlexanderMalaspina, Galiano, Espinosa,Valdez, and Vernaci, will everhold an honourable place in thelist of the intelligent and intrepidnavigators to whom we owe anexact knowledge of the north-west coast of the new continent.If their predecessors could notgive the same perfection to theiroperations, it was because, settingout from San Blas or Monterey,they were unprovided with in-struments and the other meansfurnished by civilized Europe.
* The same of whom we have al-ready spoken in the history of theDesague Real de Huehuetoca. The straits of Anian, confoundedby many geographers with Beering’sstraits, meant in the 16th centuryHudson’s straits. It took its namefrom one of the two brothers embark-ed on board the vessel of Gasper deCortereal. See the learned research-es of M. de Fleurieu in the historicalintroduction to the voyage de Mar-chand, t. i. p. v.
|324| |Spaltenumbruch| The first important expeditionmade after the voyage of Viscai-no was that of Juan Perez, whocommanded the corvette Santia-go, formerly called la Nueva Ga-licia. As neither Cook nor Bar-rington, nor M. de Fleurieu, ap-pear to have had any knowledgeof this important voyage, I shallhere extract several facts from amanuscript journal,* for which Iam indebted to the kindness ofM. Don Guillermo Aguirre, amember of the audiencia of Mex-ico. Perez and his pilot, Este-van Jose Martinez, left the portof San Blas on the 24th January,1774. They were ordered to ex-amine all the coast from the portof San Carlos de Monterey tothe 60th degree of latitude. Af-ter touching at Monterey theyset sail again on the 7th of June.They discovered on the 20th Ju-ly the island de la Marguerite,(which is the north-west point ofQueen Charlotte’s island,) and thestrait which separates this islandfrom that of the Prince of Wales.On the 9th of August they an-chored, the first of all the Euro-pean navigators, in Nootka road,which they called the port of SanLorenzo, and which the illus-trious Cook four years afterwardscalled King George’s Sound.They carried on barter with thenatives, among whom they sawiron and copper. They gavethem axes and knives for skins |Spaltenumbruch|and otter furs. Perez could notland on account of the roughweather and high seas. His sloopwas even on the point of beinglost in attempting to land; andthe corvette was obliged to cutits cables and to abandon its an-chors to get into the open sea.The Indians stole several articlesbelonging to M. Perez and hiscrew; and this circumstance, re-lated in the journal of FatherCrespi, may serve to resolve thefamous difficulty attending theEuropean silver spoons foundthere by captain Cook in 1778 inthe possession of the Indians ofNootka. The corvette Santiagoreturned to Monterey on the 27thAugust, 1774, after a cruise ofeight months. In the following year a secondexpedition set out from San Blas,under the command of Don Bru-no Heceta, Don Juan de Ayala,and Don Juan de la Bodega yQuadra. This voyage, which sin-gularly advanced the discoveryof the north-west coast, is knownfrom the journal of the pilot Mau-relle, published by M. Barrington,and joined to the instructions ofthe unfortunate La Perouse.Quadra discovered the mouth ofthe Rio Columbia, called entradade Heceta, the pic of San Jacin-to, (Mount Edgecumbe,) nearNorfolk Bay, and the fine port ofBucareli (latitude 55 degrees 24minutes) which from the resear-ches of Vancouver we know tobelong to the west coast of thegreat island of the archipelago ofthe Prince of Wales. This port issurrounded by seven volcanoes, ofwhich the summits, covered withperpetual snow, throw up flamesand ashes. M. Quadra foundthere a great number of dogswhich the Indians use for hunt-
* This journal was kept by twomonks, Fray Juan Crespi, and FrayTomas de la Pena, embarked on boardthe Santiago. By these details maybe completed what was published inthe voyage of La Sutil, p. xcii. The entrada de Perez of the Spa-nish maps.
|325| |Spaltenumbruch|ing. I possess two very curioussmall maps* engraved in 1788, inthe city of Mexico, which givethe bearings of the coast fromthe 17° to the 58° of latitude, asthey were discovered in the expe-dition of Quadra.
The court of Madrid gave or-ders in 1776 to the viceroy ofMexico, to prepare a new expe-dition to examine the coast of America to the 70° of north lati-tude. For this purpose two cor-vettes were built, la Princesaand la Favorita; but this build-ing experienced such delay, thatthe expedition commanded byQuadra and Don Ignacio Arteaga,could not set sail from the portof San Blas till the 11th Februa-ry, 1779. During this interval Cook visited the same coast.Quadra and the pilot Don Fran-cisco Maurelle carefully examin-ed the port de Bucareli, theMont-Sant Elie, and the island dela Magdalena, called by Vancou- |Spaltenumbruch|ver Hinchinbrook island, (latitude60° 25 minutes,) situated at theentry of prince William’s bay andthe island of Regla, one of themost sterile islands in Cook river.The expedition returned to SanBlas on the twenty first Novem-ber, 1779. I find from a manu-script procured at Mexico, thatthe schistous rocks in the vici-nity of the port of Bucareli inprince of Wales’s island containmetalliferous seams. The memorable war whichgave liberty to a great part of North America prevented theviceroys of Mexico from pursu-ing expeditions of discovery tothe north of Mendocino. Thecourt of Madrid gave orders tosuspend the expeditions so longas the hostilities should endurebetween Spain and England. Thisinterruption continued even longafter the peace of Versailles;and it was not till 1788 that twoSpanish vessels, the frigate laPrincesa and the packet-boat SanCarlos, commanded by Don Este-ban Martinez and Don GonsaloLopez de Haro, left the port ofSan Blas with a design of exam-ining the position and state of theRussian establishments on thenorth-west coast of America.The existence of these establish-ments, of which it appears thatthe court of Madrid had noknowledge till after the publica-tion of the third voyage of theillustrious Cook, gave the great-est uneasiness to the Spanish go-vernment. It saw with chagrinthat the fur trade drew numerousEnglish, French, and Americanvessels towards a coast which,before the return of lieutenantKing to London, had been as lit-tle frequented by Europeans asthe land of the Nuyts, or that ofEndracht in New Holland.
* Carta geografica de la costa occi-dental de la California, situada al Nor-te de la linea sobre el mar Asiatico quese discubrio en los anos de 1769 y1775, por el Teniente de Navio, DonJuan Francisco de Bodega y Quadra ypor el Alferez de Fragata, Don JoseCanizares, desde los 17 hasta los 58grados. On this map the coast ap-pears almost without entradas andwithout islands. We remark l’ensena-da de Ezeta (Rio Colombia) and l’en-trada de Juan Perez, but under thename of the port of San Lorenzo,(Nootka,) seen by the same Perez in1774. Plan del gran puerto de SanFrancisco discubierto por Don Josede Canizares en el mar Asiatico. Van-couver distinguishes the ports of St. Francis, Sir Francis Drake, and Bode-ga, as three different ports. M. deFleurieu considers them as identical.Voyage de Marchand, vol. i. p. liv.Quadra believes, as we have alreadyobserved, that Drake anchored at theport de la Bodega.
|326| |Spaltenumbruch| The expedition of Martinez and Haro lasted from the 8th ofMarch to the 5th of December,1788. These navigators madethe direct route from San Blas tothe entry of prince William,called by the Russians the gulfTschugatskaja. They visitedCook river, the Kichtak (Kodi-ak) islands, Schumagin, Unimak,and Unalaschka, (Onalaska.) Theywere very friendly treated in thedifferent factories which theyfound established in Cook riverand Unalaschka, and they evenreceived communication of seve-ral maps drawn up by the Rus-sians of these latitudes. I foundin the archives of the viceroyaltyof Mexico a large volume in fo-lio, bearing the title of Riconoci-miento de los quatros estableci-mientos Russos al Norte de laCalifornia, hecho en 1788. Thehistorical account of the voyageof Martinez contained in thismanuscript furnishes, however,very few data relative to theRussian colonies in the new con-tinent. No person in the crewunderstanding a word of theRussian language, they could on-ly make themselves understoodby signs. They forgot, beforeundertaking this distant expedi-tion, to bring an interpreter fromEurope. The evil was withoutremedy. However, M. Marti-nez would have had as great dif-ficulty in finding a Russian in thewhole extent of Spanish Ameri-ca as Sir George Staunton had todiscover a Chinese in England orFrance. Since the voyages of Cook, Dixon, Portlock, Mears, andDuncan, the Europeans began toconsider the port of Nootka asthe principal fur market of thenorth-west coast of North Ame- |Spaltenumbruch|rica. This consideration inducedthe court of Madrid to do in1789 what it could easier havedone 15 years sooner, immedi-ately after the voyage of JuanPerez. M. Martinez, who hadbeen visiting the Russian facto-ries, received orders to make asolid establishment at Nootka,and to examine carefully thatpart of the coast comprised be-the 50° and the 55° of latitude,which captain Cook could notsurvey in the course of his navi-gation. The port of Nootka is on theeastern coast of an island, which,according to the survey in 1791by MM. Espinosa and Cevallos,is twenty marine miles in breadth,and which is separated by thechannel of Tasis from the greatisland, now called the island ofQuadra and Vancouver. It istherefore equally false to assertthat the port of Nootka, called bythe natives Yucuatl, belongs tothe great island of Quadra, as itis inaccurate to say that CapeHorn is the extremity of Terradel Fuego. We cannot conceiveby what misconception the illus-trious Cook could convert thename of Yucuatl into Nootka,*
* There does not seem to be anydifficulty in the matter. It is very ea-sy for any one at all acquainted with theembarrassment experienced by theear in catching, and, as it were, dis-entangling the sounds of a foreignlanguage, to conceive that when thecommon standard of writing cannot beresorted to, hardly two persons willreport the same word alike. In lan-guages even already familiar to us bywriting, it requires a long experiencebefore we can follow the conversationof the natives; what must it there-fore be in languages affording no suchassistance, and of which many of the
|327| |Spaltenumbruch|this last word being unknown tothe natives of the country, andhaving no analogy to any of thewords of their language except-ing Noutchi, which signifiesmountain.*
|Spaltenumbruch| Don Esteban Martinez, com-manding the frigate La Princesa,and the packet-boat San Carlos,anchored in the port of Nootkaon the 5th May, 1789. He wasreceived in a very friendly man-ner by the chief Macuina, whorecollected very well having seenhim with M. Perez in 1774, andwho even showed the beautifulMonterey shells which were thenpresented to him. Macuina, thetays of the island of Yucuatl, hasan absolute authority; he is the Montezuma of these countries;and his name has become cele-brated among all the nations whocarry on the sea-otter skin trade. Iknow not if Macuina yet lives;but we learned at Mexico in theend of 1803, by letters fromMonterey, that more jealous ofhis independence than the kingof the Sandwich Islands, whohas declared himself the vassalof England, he was endeavouringto procure fire-arms and powderto protect himself from the in-sults to which he was frequentlyexposed by European navigators. The port of Santa Cruz ofNootka (called Puerto de SanLorenzo by Perez, and Friend-ly cove by Cook) is from sevento eight fathoms in depth.* Itis almost shut in on the south-
sounds are new to European ears.Thus captain Cook and Mr. Ander-son, a surgeon in his expedition, hard-ly agree in the representation of anyone word. It would appear, however,from what is said of captain Cook byMr. King, that his ear was by nomeans very accurate in distinguishingsounds. Trans. shell, while the rest of the people (whoeven in the other world have a sepa-rate paradise called Pinpula) dare nottrace their origin farther back than toyounger branches; the calendar ofthe Nootkians, in which the year be-gins with the summer solstice, and isdivided into fourteen months of 20days, and a great number of interca-lated days added to the end of severalmonths, &c. &c.* Memoirs de Don Francisco Mozi-no. The worthy author was one ofthe botanists of the expedition of M. Sesse, and remained at Nootka withM. Quadra in 1792. Wishing to pro-cure every possible information withregard to the north-west coast of North America, I made extracts in1803 from the manuscript of M. Mo-zino, for which I was indebted to thefriendship of professor Cervantes, di-rector of the botanical garden atMexico. I have since discovered thatthe same memoir furnished materialsto the learned compiler of the Viagede la Sutil, p. 123. Notwithstandingthe accurate information which we oweto the English and French navigators,it would be still interesting to pub-lish the observations of M. Mozino onthe manners of the Indians of Nootka.These observations embrace a greatnumber of curious subjects, viz. theunion of the civil and ecclesiasticalpower in the persons of the princesor tays; the struggle between Quauzand Matlox, the good and bad princi-ple by which the world is governed;the origin of the human species at anepoqua when stags were without horns,birds without wings, and dogs with-out tails; the Eve of the Nootkians,who lived solitary in a flowery groveof Yucuatl, when the god Quautzvisited her in a fine copper canoe; theeducation of the first man, who, as hegrew up, past from one small shell toa greater; the genealogy of the nobi-lity of Nootka, who descend from theoldest son of the man brought up in a* From nearly 7 1-2 to 8 1-2 fa-thoms English. Trans.
|328| |Spaltenumbruch|east by small islands, on one ofwhich Martinez erected the bat-tery of San Miguel. The moun-tains in the interior of the islandappear to be composed of thons-chiefer, and other primitive rocks.M. Mozino discovered amongthem seams of copper and sul-phuretted lead. He thought hediscovered near a lake at about aquarter of a league’s distancefrom the port the effects of vol-canic fire in some porous amyg-daloid. The climate of Nootkais so mild, that under a morenorthern latitude than that ofQuebec and Paris the smalleststreams are not frozen till themonth of January. This curiousphenomenon confirms the obser-vation of Mackenzie,* who as-serts that the north-west coastof the new continent has a muchhigher temperature than the eas-tern coasts of America and Asia situated under the same parallels.The inhabitants of Nootka, likethose of the northern coast ofNorway, are almost strangersto the noise of thunder. Elec-trical explosions are there ex-ceedingly rare. The hills arecovered with pine, oak, cypress,rose bushes, vaccinium, and an-dromedes. The beautiful shrubwhich bears the name of Linneus |Spaltenumbruch|was only discovered by the gar-deners in Vancouver’s expedi-tion in higher latitudes. JohnMears, and a Spanish officer inparticular, Don Pedro Alberoni,succeeded at Nootka in the cul-tivation of all the European ve-getables; but the maize andwheat, however, never yieldedripe grain. A too great luxuri-ance of vegetation appears to bethe cause of this phenomenon.The true humming-bird has beenobserved in the islands of Qua-dra and Vancouver. This im-portant fact in the geography ofanimals must strike those whoare ignorant that Mackenzie sawhumming birds at the sources ofthe river of Peace under the 54thdegree 24th minute of north la-titude, and that M. Galiano sawthem nearly under the samesouthern parallel in the straits ofMagellan.
Martinez did not carry his re-searches beyond the 50° of lati-tude. Two months after his entryinto the port of Nootka he sawthe arrival of an English vessel,the Argonaut, commanded by James Collnett, known by his ob-servations at the Galapagos is-lands. Collnett showed the Span-ish navigator the orders which hehad received from his govern-ment to establish a factory atNootka, to construct a frigateand a cutter, and to prevent e-very other European nation frominterfering with the fur trade.*
* Voyage de Mackenzie, traduit parCastera, vol. III. p. 339. It is even be-lieved by the Indians in the vicinity ofthe north-west coast that the wintersare becoming milder yearly. Thismildness of climate appears to beproduced by the north-west winds,which pass over a considerable extentof sea. M. Mackenzie, as well asmyself, believes, that the change ofclimate observable throughout all North America cannot be attributedto petty local causes, to the destruc-tion of forests for example.* There had been formed in Eng-land in 1785 a Nootka company; un-der the name of the King George’sSound Company; and a project waseven entertained of forming at Nootkaan English colony similar to that ofNew Holland.
|329| |Spaltenumbruch|It was in vain Martinez replied,that, long before Cook, Juan Pe-rez had anchored on the samecoast. The dispute which arosebetween the commanders of theArgonaut and the Princesa was onthe point of occasioning a rup-ture between the courts of Lon-don and Madrid. Martinez, toestablish the priority of his rightsmade use of a violent and veryillegal measure: he arrested Coll-nett, and sent him by San Blas tothe city of Mexico. The trueproprietor of the Nootka coun-try, the Tays Macuina, declaredhimself prudently for the van-quishing party; but the viceroy,who deemed it proper to hastenthe recall of Martinez, sent outthree other armed vessels in thecommencement of the year 1790to the north-west coast of Ame-rica.
Don Francisco Elisa and Don Salvador Fidalgo, the brother ofthe astronomer who surveyed thecoast of South America * fromthe mouth of the Dragon toPortobello, commanded this newexpedition. M. Fidalgo visitedCook creek and Prince William’sSound, and he completed the ex-amination of that coast, whichwas only afterwards examined bythe intrepid Vancouver. Underthe 60 degrees 54 minutes of la-titude, at the northern extremityof Prince William’s Sound, M. Fidalgo was witness of a pheno-menon, probably volcanic, of amost extraordinary nature. TheIndians conducted him into aplain covered with snow, wherehe saw great masses of ice andstone thrown up to prodigious |Spaltenumbruch|heights in the air with a dreadfulnoise. Don Francisco Elisa re-mained at Nootka to enlarge andfortify the establishment foundedby Martinez in the precedingyear. It was not yet known inthis part of the world, that bya treaty signed at the Escurialon the 28th October, 1790, Spainhad desisted from her preten-sions to Nootka and Cox channelin favour of the court of Lon-don. The frigate Dedalus, whichbrought orders to Vancouver towatch over the execution of thistreaty, only arrived at the port ofNootka in the month of August,1792, at an epoqua when Fidalgo was employed in forming a se-cond Spanish establishment tothe south-east of the island ofQuadra on the continent, at theport of Nunez Gaona, or Quini-camet, situated under the 48 de-grees 20 minutes of latitude, atthe creek of Juan de Fuca. The expedition of captain Elisawas followed by two others, which,for the importance of their astro-nomical operations, and the ex-cellence of the instruments withwhich they were provided, maybe compared with the expedi-tions of Cook, Laperouse, and Vancouver. I mean the voyageof the illustrious Malaspina, in1791, and that of Galiano andValdes, in 1792. The operations of Malaspina and the officers under him, em-brace an immense extent of coastfrom the mouth of the Rio de laPlata to Prince William’s Sound.But this able navigator is stillmore celebrated for his misfor-tunes than his discoveries. Afterexamining both hemispheres, andescaping all the dangers of theocean, he had still greater to suf-fer from his court; and he drag-
* See my Recueil d’ObservationsAstronomiques, vol. i. liv. i.
|330| |Spaltenumbruch|ged out six years in a dungeon,the victim of a political intrigue.He obtained his liberty from theFrench government, and returnedto his native country; and he en-joys in solitude on the banks ofthe Arno the profound impres-sions which the contemplationsof nature and the study of manunder so many different climateshave left on a mind of great sen-sibility, tried in the school of ad-versity.
The labours of Malaspina re-main buried in the archives, notbecause the government dreadedthe disclosure of secrets, the con-cealment of which might be deem-ed useful, but that the name of thisintrepid navigator might be doom-ed to eternal oblivion. Fortunately,the directors of the Deposito Hy-drografico of Madrid* have com-municated to the public the prin-cipal results of the astronomicalobservations of Malaspina’s expe-dition. The charts which haveappeared at Madrid since 1799,are founded in a great measureon those important results; butinstead of the name of the chief,we merely find the names of thecorvettes la Descubierta and l’A-trevida, which were commandedby Malaspina. His expedition, which set outfrom Cadiz on the 30th July,1789, only arrived at the port of |Spaltenumbruch| Acapulco, on the 2d February,1791. At this period the courtof Madrid again turned its atten-tion to a subject which had beenunder dispute in the beginning ofthe 17th century, the pretendedstraits by which Lorenzo FerrerMaldonado passed in 1588 fromthe Labrador coast to the GreatOcean. A memoir read by M. Buache at the Academy of Scien-ces revived the hope of the ex-istence of such a passage; andthe corvettes la Descubierta andl’Atrevida, received orders to as-cend to high latitudes on thenorth-west coast of America, andto examine all the passages andcreeks which interrupt the conti-nuity of the shore between the53d and 60th degree of latitude. Malaspina, accompanied by thebotanists Haenke and Nee, setsail from Acapulco on the 1st ofMay, 1791. After a navigationof three weeks, he reached CapeS. Bartholomew, which had al-ready been ascertained by Quadrain 1775, by Cook in 1778, and in1786 by Dixon. He surveyedthe coast, from the mountain ofSan Jacinto, near Cape Edge-cumbe, (Cabo Engano,) latitude57 degrees 1 minute 30 secondsto Montagu Island, opposite theentrance of Prince William’sSound. During the course ofthis expedition, the length of thependulum and the inclination anddeclination of the magnetic nee-dle were determined on severalpoints of the coast. The eleva-tion of S. Elie* and Mount Fair-
* This deposito was established bya royal order on the 6th of August1797. Extract from a journal kept onboard the Atrevida, a manuscript pre-served in the archives of Mexico. Vi-age de la Sutil, p. cxiii.—cxxiii. Be-fore the expedition in 1789, M. Malas-pina had already been round the globein the frigate l’Astré, destined forManilla.* The expedition of Malaspina found the height of Mount Elie 5,441metres, (6507.6 varas,) and the heightof Mount Fair-weather 4,489, (5368.3varas,) consequently the elevation of
|331| |Spaltenumbruch|weather, (or Cerro de buen Tem-po) which are the principal sum-mits of the Cordillera of NewNorfolk, were very carefully mea-sured. The knowledge of theirheight and position may be ofgreat assistance to navigatorswhen they are prevented by un-favourable weather from seeingthe sun for whole weeks; for byseeing these pics at a distance ofeighty or a hundred miles, theymay ascertain the position of theirvessel by simple elevations andangles of altitude.
After a vain attempt to disco-ver the straits mentioned in theaccount of the apocryphal voy-age of Maldonado, and after re-maining some time at Port Mul-grave, in Beering’s Bay, (latitude59 degrees 34 minutes 20 se-conds,) Alexander Malaspina di-rected his course southwards.He anchored at the port of Noot-ka on the 13th August, soundedthe channels round the island ofYucuatl, and determined by ob-servations purely celestial the po-sitions of Nootka, Monterey, andthe island of Guadaloupe, at whichthe galleon of the Philippines (laNao de China) generally stops,and Cape San Lucas. The cor-vette l’Atrevida entered Acapul-co, and the corvette la Descubier-ta entered San Blas in the monthof October, 1791. A voyage of six months wasno doubt by no means sufficient |Spaltenumbruch|for discovering and surveying anextensive coast with that minutecare which we admire in thevoyage of Vancouver, which las-ted three years. However, theexpedition of Malaspina has oneparticular merit, which consistsnot only in the number of astro-nomical observations, but also inthe judicious method employedfor attaining certain results. Thelongitude and latitude of fourpoints of the coast, Cape SanLucas, Monterey, Nootka, andPort Mulgrave, were ascertainedin an absolute manner. The in-termediate points were connect-ed with these fixed points bymeans of four sea watches of Ar-nold. This method, employedby the officers of Malaspina’s ex-pedition, MM. Espinosa, Ceval-los, and Vernaci, is much betterthan the partial corrections usu-ally made in chronometrical lon-gitudes by the results of lunar dis-tances. The celebrated Malaspina hadscarcely returned to the coast ofMexico, when discontented withnot having seen at a sufficientnearness the extent of coast fromthe island of Nootka to CapeMendocino, he engaged count deRevillagigedo, the viceroy, to pre-pare a new expedition of discove-ry towards the north-west coastof America. The viceroy, whowas of an active and enterprisingdisposition, yielded with so muchthe greater facility to this desire,as new information, received fromthe officers stationed at Nootka,seemed to give probability to theexistence of a channel, of whichthe discovery was attributed tothe Greek pilot, Juan de Fuca, inthe end of the 16th century. Mar-tinez had indeed, in 1774, percei-ved a very broad opening under
the former of these mountains is near-ly the same as that of Cotopaxi; andthe elevation of the second is equal tothat of Mont-Rose. See vol. i. p. 48,and my géographie des plantes, p. 153. Author. The height of the first of thesemountains is 17,850, and of the se-cond, 14,992 feet English. Trans.
|332| |Spaltenumbruch|the 48th degree 20th minute oflatitude. This opening was suc-cessively visited by the pilot ofthe Gertrudis, by ensign DonManuel Quimper, who comman-ded the Bilander la Princesa Re-al, and in 1791 by captain Elisa.They even discovered secure andspacious ports in it. It was tocomplete this survey that the ga-leras Sutil and Mexicana left Ac-apulco on the 8th of March 1792,under the command of Don Dio-nisio Galiano and Don CayetanoValdes.
These able and experiencedastronomers, accompanied byMM. Salamanca and Vernaci,sailed round the large islandwhich now bears the name ofQuadra and Vancouver, and theyemployed four months in thislaborious and dangerous naviga-tion. After passing the straitsof Fuca and Haro, they fell inwith, in the channel del Rosario,called by the English the gulf ofGeorgia, the English navigators Vancouver and Broughton, em-ployed in the same researcheswith themselves. The two expe-ditions made a mutual and unre-served communication of theirlabours; they assisted one ano-ther in their operations; and theresubsisted among them till the mo-ment of their separation, a goodintelligence and complete harmo-ny, of which, at another epoqua,an example had not been set bythe astronomers on the ridge ofthe Cordilleras. Galiano, and Valdes, on theirreturn from Nootka to Monte-rey, again examined the mouthof the Ascencion which Don Bru-no Eceta discovered on the 17thof August, 1775, and which wascalled the river of Columbia bythe celebrated American naviga- |Spaltenumbruch|tor Gray, from the name of thesloop under his command. Thisexamination was of so much thegreater importance, as Vancou-ver, who had already kept veryclose to this coast, was unable toperceive any entrance from the45th degree of latitude to thechannel of Fuca; and as thislearned navigator began then todoubt of the existence of the Riode Columbia,* or the Entrada deEceta.
* I have already spoken of the faci-lity which the fertile banks of the Co-lombia affords to Europeans for thefounding a colony, and of the doubtsstarted against the identity of this ri-ver and the Tacoutche-Tesse, or Ore-gan of Mackenzie, I know not whe-ther this Oregan enters into one of thegreat salt-water lakes, which, accord-ing to the information afforded by Fa-ther Escalante, I have representedunder the 39th and 41st degree oflatitude. I do not decide whetheror not the Oregan, like many greatrivers of South America, does notforce a passage through a chain ofelevated mountains, and whether ornot its mouth is to be found in one ofthe creeks between the port de la Bo-dega and Cape Orford; but I couldhave wished that a geographer, inother respects both learned and ju-dicious, had not attempted to recog-nise the name of Oregan in that ofOrigen, which he believes to designatea river in the map of Mexico, publish-ed by Don Antonio Alzate. (Géogra-phie Mathematique, Physique, et Po-litique, vol. xv. p. 116, and 117.) Hehas confounded the Spanish word Ori-gen, the source or origin of a thing,with the Indian word Origan. Themap of Alzate only marks the Rio Co-lorado, which receives its waters fromthe Rio Gila. Near the junction weread the following words: Rio Colora-do ó del Norte, cuyo origen se ignora,of which the origin is unknown. Thenegligence with which these Spanishwords are divided (they have engrav-ed Nortecuio and Seignora) is un-
|333| |Spaltenumbruch| In 1797 the Spanish govern-ment gave orders that the chartsdrawn up in the course of the ex-pedition of MM. Galiano and Val-des should be published, “in or-der that they might be in thehands of the public before thoseof Vancouver.” However, thepublication did not take place till1802; and geographers now pos-sess the advantage of being ableto compare together the charts of Vancouver, those of the Spanishnavigators published by the De-posito Hydrografico of Madrid,and the Russian chart publishedat Petersburgh in 1802, in thedepot of the maps of the chartsof the emperor. This compari-son is so much the more neces-sary, as the same capes, the samepassages, and the same islands,frequently bear three or four dif-ferent names; and geographicalsynonymy has by that means be-come as confused as the synony-my of cryptogameous plants hasbecome from an analogous cause. At the same epoqua at whichthe vessels Sutil and Mexicanawere employed in examining inthe greatest detail, the shores be-tween the parallels of 45 and 51degrees, the count de Revillagi-gedo destined another expeditionfor higher latitudes. The mouthof the river of Martin de Aquilarhad been unsuccessfully soughtfor in the vicinity of Cape Orfordand Cape Gregory. Alexander Malaspina, in place of the famouschannel de Maldonado, had onlyformed openings without any out-let. Galiano and Valdes had as-certained that the strait of Fucawas merely an arm of the sea, |Spaltenumbruch|which separates an island of morethan 1,700 square leagues,* thatof Quadra and Vancouver fromthe mountainous coast of NewGeorgia. There still remaineddoubts as to the existence of thestraits, of which the discoverywas attributed to the admiral Fu-entes or Fonte, which was suppo-sed to be under the 53d degreeof latitude. Cook regretted hiswant of ability to examine thispart of the continent of New Ha-nover; and the assertions of cap-tain Collnett, an able navigator,rendered it extremely probablethat the continuity of the coastwas interrupted in these lati-tudes. To resolve a problem ofsuch importance, the viceroy ofNew Spain gave orders to lieute-nant Don Jacinto Caamano, com-mander of the frigate Aranzazu,to examine with the greatest carethe shore from the 51st to the56th degree of north latitude. M.Caamano, whom I had the plea-sure of seeing at Mexico, setsail from the port of San Blas onthe 20th March, 1792; and hemade a voyage of six months.He carefully surveyed the nor-thern part of Queen Charlotte’sisland, the southern coast of theprince of Wales’s island, which hecalled Isla de Ulloa, the islandsof Revillagigedo, of Banks, (orde la Calamidad,) and of Aristi-zabal, and the great inlet of Mo-nino, the mouth of which is op-posite the archipelago of Pitt.The considerable number of
doubtedly the cause of this extraordi-nary mistake.* The extent of the island of Quadraand Vancouver, calculated accordingto the maps of Vancouver, is 1,730square leagues of 25 to the sexagesi-mal degree. It is the largest island tobe found on this west coast of Ameri-ca.
|334| |Spaltenumbruch|Spanish denominations preservedby Vancouver in his charts provesthat the expeditions, of whichwe have given a summary ac-count, contributed in no small de-gree to our knowledge of a coast,which, from the 45 degrees oflatitude to cape Douglas to theeast of Cook’s creek, is nowmore accurately surveyed thanthe most part of the coasts ofEurope.
I have confined myself to thebringing together at the end ofthis chapter all the informationwhich I could procure with re-gard to the voyages undertakenby the Spaniards, from 1553 toour own times, towards the wes-tern coast of New Spain to thenorth of New California. Theassemblage of these materialsappeared to me to be necessaryin a work embracing whateverconcerns the political and com-mercial relations of Mexico. The geographers who are ea-ger to divide the world for thesake of facilitating the study oftheir science, distinguish on thenorth-west coast an English part,a Spanish part, and a Russianpart. These divisions have beenmade without consulting thechiefs of the different tribes whoinhabit these countries! If thepuerile ceremonies which theEuropeans call taking possession,and if astronomical observationsmade on a recently discoveredcoast could give rights of pro-perty, this portion of the newcontinent would be singularlypieced out and divided amongthe Spaniards, English, Russians,French, and Americans. Onesmall island would sometimes beshared by two or three nations atonce, because each might havediscovered a different cape of it. |Spaltenumbruch|The great sinuosity of the coastbetween the parallels of 55 de-grees and 60 degrees embracethe successive discoveries of Ga-li, Beering, and Tschiricow, Qua-dra, Cook, Laperouse, Malaspi-na, and Vancouver! No European nation has yetformed a solid establishment onthe immense extent of coast fromcape Mendocino to the 59 de-grees of latitude. Beyond thislimit the Russian factories com-mence, the most part of whichare scattered and distant fromone another, like the factoriesestablished by European nationsfor these last three hundred yearson the coast of Africa. Themost part of these small Russiancolonies have no communicationwith one another but by sea; andthe new denominations of Russian America, or Russian possessionsin the new continent, ought notto induce us to believe that thecoast of the basin of Beering, thepeninsula Alaska, or the countryof the Tschugatschi have becomeRussian provinces, in the sensewhich we give to this word speak-ing of the Spanish provinces ofSonora or New Biscay. The western coast of Ameri-ca affords the only example of ashore of 1,900 leagues in length,inhabited by one European na-tion. The Spaniards, as we havealready indicated in the com-mencement of this work,* haveformed establishments from fortMaulin in Chili to S. Francis inNew California. To the north ofthe parallel of 38 degrees succeedindependent Indian tribes. It isprobable that these tribes will be
* See vol. I. p. 6.
|335| |Spaltenumbruch|gradually subdued by the Russiancolonists, who, towards the endof the last century, passed overfrom the eastern extremity of Asia to the continent of Ameri-ca. The progress of these Rus-sian Siberians towards the southought naturally to be more rapidthan that of the Spanish Mexi-cans towards the north. A peo-ple of hunters, accustomed tolive in a foggy, and excessivelycold climate, find the tempera-ture of the coast of New Corn-wall very agreeable; but this coastappears an uninhabitable country,a polar region to colonists from atemperate climate, from the fer-tile and delicious plains of Sono-ra and New California.
The Spanish government since1788 has begun to testify uneasi-ness at the appearance of theRussians on the north-west coastof the new continent. Consider-ing every European nation in thelight of a dangerous neighbour,they examined the situation ofthe Russian factories. The fearceased on its being known atMadrid that these factories didnot extend eastwards beyondCook’s Inlet. When the em-peror Paul, in 1799, declaredwar against Spain, it was sometime in agitation at Mexico toprepare a maritime expedition inthe ports of San Blas and Mon-terey against the Russian colo-nies in America. If this projecthad been carried into executionwe should have seen at hostilitiestwo nations who, occupying theopposite extremities of Europe,approach each other in the otherhemisphere on the eastern andwestern limits of their vast em-pires. The interval which separatesthese limits becomes progressive- |Spaltenumbruch|ly smaller; and it is for the poli-tical interest of N. Spain to knowaccurately the parallel to whichthe Russian nation has alreadyadvanced towards the east andsouth. A manuscript which ex-ists in the archives of the vice-royalty of Mexico, already citedby me, gave me only vague andincomplete notions. It describesthe state of the Russian esta-blishments as they were twentyyears ago. M. Malte Brun, inhis universal geography, gives aninteresting article on the north-west coast of America. He wasthe first who made known theaccount of the voyage of Bil-lings,* published by M. Saryts-chew, which is preferable to thatof M. Sauer. I flatter myselfthat I am able to give from ve-ry recent data, drawn from anofficial production, the position of
* Account of the geographical andastronomical expedition, undertakenfor exploring the coast of the Icy sea,the land of the Tshutski, and the is-lands between Asia and America, un-der the command of captain Billings,between the years 1785 and 1794, byMartin Sauer, secretary to the expe-dition. Putetchestwie flota-kapitanaSarytschewa po severowostochnoitschasti sibiri, ledowitawa mora, iwostochnogo okeana, 1804. Carte des decouvertes faites suc-cessivement par des navigateurs Rus-ses dans l’Ocean Pacifique, et dans lamer glaciale, corrigee d’apres les ob-servations astronomiques les plus re-centes de plusieurs navigateurs, etran-gers, gravee au depot des Cartes desa Majeste l’Empereur de toutes lesRussies, en 1802. This beautifulchart, for which I am indebted to thekindness of M. de St. Aignan, is1m, 231 (4.037 feet) in length, and0m, 722 (2.367 feet) in breadth, andembraces the extent of coast and seabetween the 40 degrees and 72 de-grees of latitude, and the 125 degrees
|336| |Spaltenumbruch|the Russian factories, which aremerely collections of sheds andhuts, that serve, however, as em-poriums for the fur trade.
On the coast nearest to Asia,along Beering’s straits, betweenthe 67 degrees and 64 degrees10 minutes of latitude, under theparallels of Lapland and Iceland,we find a great number of hutsfrequented by the Siberian hun-ters. The principal posts, reck-oning from north to south, are,Kigiltach, Leglelachtok, Tugu-ten, Netschich, Tchinegriun,Chibalech, Topar, Pintepata, A-gulichan, Chavani, and Nugran,near cape Rodney, (Cap du Pa-rent.) These habitations of thenatives of Russian America areonly from thirty to forty leaguesdistant* from the huts of the |Spaltenumbruch|Tchoutskis of Asiatic Russia.The straits of Beering, whichseparates them, is filled with de-sert islands, of which the mostnorthern is called Imaglin. Thenorth-east extremity of Asia forms a peninsula, which is onlyconnected with the great mass ofthe continent by a narrow isth-mus between the two gulfs ofMitschigmen and Kaltschin. The Asiatic coast which borders thestraits of Beering, is peopled by
and 224 degrees of west longitudefrom Paris. The names are in Rus-sian characters. and Japan to the southern cape of thepeninsula of Kamtschatka, betweenthe 33 degrees and the 51 degrees oflatitude. The great island of Tchoka,connected with the continent by animmense sand-bank, (under the 52degrees of latitude,) facilitates com-munication between the mouths ofl’Amour and the Kurile islands. An-other archipelago of islands, by whichthe great basin of Beering is termi-nated on the south, advances from thepeninsula of Alaska 400 leagues to-wards the west. The most westernof the Aleutian islands is only 144leagues distant from the eastern coastof Kamtschatka, and this distance isalso divided into two nearly equalparts, the Beering and Mednoi islands,situated under the 55 degrees of lati-tude. This rapid view sufficientlyproves that Asiatic tribes might havegone by means of these islands fromone continent to the other withoutgoing higher on the continent of A-sia than the parallel of fifty five de-grees, without turning the sea ofOchotsk to the west, and without apassage of more than twenty-fouror thirty-six hours. The north-westwinds which, during a great part ofthe year blow in these latitudes, fa-vour the navigation from Asia to A-merica between the 50 and 60 degreesof latitude. It is not wished in thisnote to establish new historical hypo-theses, or to discuss those which havebeen hackneyed these forty years: wemerely wish to afford exact notions asto the proximity of the two conti-nents.* As it is more than probable thatAsiatic and American tribes havecrossed the ocean, it may be curiousto examine the breadth of the arm ofthe sea which separates the two con-tinents under the 65 degrees 50 mi-nutes of north latitude. Accordingto the most recent discoveries by theRussian navigators, America is near-est to Siberia on a line which crossesBeering’s Straits in a direction fromthe south-east to the north-west, fromprince of Wales’s cape to capeTschoukotskoy. The distance be-tween these two capes is 44 minutes,or 18 3-10 leagues of 25 to the de-gree. The island of Imaglin is al-most in the middle of the channel,being one-fifth nearer the Asiatic cape.However, it is not necessary for ourconceiving that Asiatic tribes esta-blished on the table-land of ChineseTartary should pass from the old to the new continent, to have recourse toa transmigration at such high latitudes.A chain of small islands in the vicinityof one another, stretches from Corea
|337| |Spaltenumbruch|great numbers of cetaceous mam-miferi. On this coast the Tchout-skis, who live in perpetual warwith the Americans, have col-lected together their habitations.Their small villages are calledNukan, Tugulan, and Tschigin.
Following the coast of thecontinent of America from capeRodney and Norton creek to capeMallowodan, cape Littlewater, wefind no Russian establishment;but the natives have a great num-ber of huts collected together onthe shore between the 63 de-grees 20 minutes and 60 degrees5 minutes of latitude. The mostnorthern of their habitations areAgibaniach and Chalmiagmi, andthe most southern Kuynegach andKuymin. The bay of Bristol, to the northof the peninsula Alaska, (or A-liaska,) is called by the Russiansthe gulf Kamischezkaia. Theyin general preserve none of theEnglish names given by captain Cook, and captain Vancouver, intheir charts, to the north of the55 degrees of latitude. Theychoose rather to give no namesto the two great islands whichcontain the Pic Trubizin, (themount Edgecumbe of Vancou-ver, and Cerro de San Jacinto ofQuadra,) and cape Tschiricof,(cape San Bartholome,) than a-dopt the denomination of KingGeorge’s Archipelago and princeof Wales’s Archipelago. The coast from the gulf Ka-mischezkaia to New Cornwall, isinhabited by five tribes, who formas many great territorial divisionson the colonies of Russian Ame-rica. Their names are Kaniagi,Kenayzi, Tschugatschi, Ugalach-miuti, and Koliugi. |Spaltenumbruch| The most northern part of A-laska, and the island of Kodiak,vulgarly called by the RussiansKichtak, though Kightak, in thelanguage of the natives in gene-ral means only an island, belongsto the Kaniagi division. A greatinterior lake of more than 26leagues in length, and 12 inbreadth, communicates by theriver Igtschiagick with the bayof Bristol. There are two fortsand several factories on the Ko-diak island, (Kadiak,) and thesmall adjacent islands. The fortsestablished by Schelikoff bear thename of Karluk and the threeSanctifiers. M. Malte Brun saysthat, according to the latest in-formation, the Kicktak archipe-lago was destined to contain thehead place of all the Russiansettlements. Sarytschew asserts,that there are a bishop and Rus-sian monastery in the island ofUmanak, (Umnak.) I do notknow whether there has been anysimilar establishment elsewhere;for the chart published in 1802indicates no factory either at Um-nak, Unimak, or Unalaschka. Iread, however, at Mexico, in themanuscript journal of Martinez’s voyage, that the Spaniards foundseveral Russian houses, and abouta hundred small barks, at the is-land of Unalaschka in 1788. Thenatives of the peninsula Alaska call themselves the men of theeast, (Kagataya-Koung’ns.) The Kenayzi inhabit the wes-tern coast of Cook creek, or thegulph Kenayskia. The Radafactory, visited by Vancouver, issituated there under the 61 de-grees 8 minutes. The governorof the island of Kodiak, a Greeknamed Ivanitsch Delareff, assur- |338| |Spaltenumbruch|ed M. Sauer, that notwithstandingthe rigour of the climate, grainwould thrive well on the banksof Cook river. He introducedthe cultivation of cabbages andpotatoes into the gardens at Ko-diak. The Tschugatschi occupy thecountry between the northern ex-tremity of Cook Inlet and theeast of prince William’s bay,(Tschugatskaia gulf.) There areseveral factories and three smallforts in this district: Fort Alex-ander, near the mouth of PortChatham, and the forts of theTuk islands, (Green island ofVancouver,) and Tchalca, (Hin-chinbrook island.) The Ugalachmiuti extend fromthe gulf of prince William to thebay of Jakutal, called by Van-couver Beering’s bay.* The fac-tory of St. Simon is near capeSuckling, (cape Elie of the Rus-sians.) It appears that the cen-tral chain of the Cordilleras ofNew Norfolk is considerably dis-tant from the coast at the Pic ofSt. Elie; for the natives informedM. Barrow, who ascended the ri-ver Mednaja (copper river) fora length of 500 werst, (120leagues,) that it would requiretwo day’s journey northwards to |Spaltenumbruch|reach the high chain of the moun-tains. The Koliugi inhabit the moun-tainous country of New Norfolk,and the northern part of NewCornwall. The Russians markBurrough bay on their charts(latitude 55 degrees, 50 minutes,)opposite the Revillagigedo island of Vancouver, (Isla de Gravinaof the Spanish maps,) as themost southern and eastern boun-daries of the extent of countryof which they claim the proper-ty. It appears that the great is-land of the king George archipe-lago has, in fact, been examinedwith more care and more minute-ly by the Russian navigators thanby Vancouver. Of this we mayeasily convince ourselves by com-paring attentively the westerncoast of this island, especially theenvirons of cape Trubizin, (capeEdgecumbe,) and of the port ofthe Archangel St. Michel, in Sit-ka bay, (the Norfolk sound of theEnglish, and Tchinkitane bay of Marchand,) on the charts pub-lished at Petersburgh in the im-perial depot in 1802, and on thecharts of Vancouver. The mostsouthern Russian establishmentof this district of the Koliugi isa small fortress (crapost) in thebay of Jakutal, at the foot of theCordillera which connects mountFairweather with mont St. Elienear port Mulgrave, under the 59degrees 27 minutes of latitude.The proximity of mountains co-vered with eternal snow, and thegreat breadth of the continentfrom the 58 degrees of latitude,render the climate of this coastof New Norfolk, and the countryof the Ugalachmiuti, excessivelycold and inimical to the progressof vegetation. When the sloops of the expe-
* We must not confound the bay ofBeering of Vancouver, situated at thefoot of Mount St. Elie, with the Beer-ing’s bay of the Spanish maps, nearMount Fairweather (Nevado de Bu-entiempo.) Without an accurate ac-quaintance with geographical syno-nymy, the Spanish, English, Russianand French works on the north-westcoast of America are almost unintel-ligible; and it is only by a minutecomparison of the maps that this sy-nonymy can be fixed.
|339| |Spaltenumbruch|dition of Malaspina penetratedinto the interior of the bay ofJakutal as far as the port of De-sengano, they found the northernextremity of the port under the59 degrees of latitude covered inthe month of July with a solidmass of ice. We might be in-clined to believe that this massbelonged to a glacier* which ter-minated in high maritime alps;but Mackenzie relates, that onexamining the banks of the Slavelake, 250 leagues to the east, un-der 61 degrees of latitude, hefound the lake wholly frozen overin the month of June. The dif-ference of temperature observa-ble in general on the eastern andwestern coast of the new conti-nent, of which we have alreadyspoken, appears only to be verysensible to the south of the paral-lel of 53 degrees, which passesthrough New Hanover, and thegreat island of Queen Charlotte.
There is nearly the same abso-lute distance from Petersburghto the most eastern Russian fac-tory on the continent of America,as from Madrid to the port ofSan Francisco in New California.The breadth of the Russian em-pire embraces under the 60 de-grees of latitude an extent ofcountry of nearly 2,400 leagues;but the small fort of the bay ofJakutal is still more than 600leagues distant from the mostnorthern limits of the Mexicanpossessions. The natives of thesenorthern regions have, for a longtime, been cruelly harassed bythe Siberian hunters. Women andchildren were retained as hostages |Spaltenumbruch|in the Russian factories. The in-structions given by the empressCatharine to Cap. Billings, drawnup by the illustrious Pallas,breathe the spirit of philanthro-py, and the most noble sensibili-ty. The present governmentis seriously occupied in dimin-ishing the abuses, and repress-ing the vexations; but it is dif-ficult to prevent these evils at theextremities of a vast empire; andthe American is doomed to feelevery instant his distance fromthe capital. Moreover, it appearsmore than probable that beforethe Russians shall clear the in-terval which separates them fromthe Spaniards, some other enter-prising power will attempt to es-tablish colonies either on the coastof New Georgia, or on the fertileislands in it’s vicinity.

* Vancouver, t. v. p. 67.