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to prove that this kingdom, like the antient Continent, contains vast extents of country, apparently almost totally destitute of metalliferous veins. No considerable operation has been hitherto carried on in the Intendancies of Puebla and Vera Cruz, or in the plains of secondary formation, situated on the left bank of the Rio del Norte, or in New Mexico.
The following table indicates not the relative wealth, or unequal distribution of the metals, considered in a geographical point of view, but the quantity of money, which in the present state of the mines is extracted from the different parts of the kingdom of New Spain. We have classed the mines according to the order already laid down, indicating the name of the chief place which is the central point of the group, and the surface of the country in which the different works are to be found. Several groupes are naturally divided into districts, which form so many subdivisions or particular systems.
Principal mines of Mexico, divided into eight groups.
Extent of country
Places which may be considered as the central points of these 8 groups.
1st. Group (Central Group) from 21° 0
Guanaxuato to 24° 10' north lat. 1900 Catorce and from 102° 30' to
Zacatecas 105° 15' of west long. 2nd. Group (Groupof Durango and so
Guarisamey nora) from 230 to 24°
-2800 45' of north lat. and
Rosario from 106° 30' to 1090
(Copala) 50 of west long. 3rd. Group (Group of Chihuahua) from
Cosiquiriachi 26° 50' to 29° 10' of
100 north lat. and from
Batopilas 106° 45' to 108° 50 of west long. 4th. Group (Group of la Biscaina) from 20° 5' to 20° 15' of
Real del Monte north lat. 'and from
(Pachuca) 100° 45' to 100° 52' of west long 5th. Group (Group of Zimapan) from 20° 40% to 21.30' of north $7500 Zimapa lat. and from 100° 30% to 102°0' of west long.) 6th, Group (Group of New Gallicia) from 21° 5' to 22° 30' of north lat. and from > 1050
Bolaños 105° 0 to 106° 30' of west long 7th. Group (Group of Tasco) from 18° 10' to 19° 20' of north
Villalta 99° 50' of west long. VOL. III,
Marcs of silver. Mean Produce of the Mines of New
Spain, including the Mines of the
We shall afterwards compare the produce of the silver mines of Mexico, with that of the different mines of Europe. It will suffice in this place to observe, that the two millions and a half of marcs of silver annually exported from Vera Cruz, are equal to two thirds of the silver annually extracted from the whole globe. The eight groups into which we have divided the mines of New Spain, occupy a surface of 12,000 square leagues, or a tenth of the whole extent of the kingdom. When we look at the immense wealth of a very small number of mines, for example, the mine of Valenciana, and that of Reyas at Guanaxuato, or the principal veins, (vetas madres) of Catorcē, Zacatecas, and Real del Monte, we easily perceive that more than 1,400,000 marcs of silver are produced in an extent of surface, not equal in size to that of the district of the mines of Freiberg
If the quantity of silver annually extracted from the mines of Mexico is ten times greater than what is furnished by all the mines of Europe, on the other hand, gold is not much more abundant in New Spain than in Hungary and Transylvania. These two last countries annually throw into circulation nearly
5,200 marcs; and the gold delivered into the mint of Mexico, only amounts in ordinary years to 7000 marcs. We may reckon that in times of peace, when the want of mercury does not impede the process of amalgamation, the annual produce of New Spain is,
In Silver, 22 millions of Piastres
The Mexican gold is for the most part extracted from alluvial ground, by means of washing. These grounds are common in the province of Sonora, which as we have already observed *, may be considered as the Choco of North America. A great deal of gold has been collected among the sands, with which the bottom of the valley of the Rio Hiaqui, to the east of the missions of Tarahumara, are covered. Farther to the north in Pimeria Alta, under the 31° of latitude, lumps of native gold (pepitas) have been found of the weight of from five to six pounds. In these desert regions, the incursions of the savage Indians, the excessive price of provisions, and the want of the necessary water for working, are all great obstacles to the extraction of gold.
Another part of the Mexican gold is extracted from the veins, which traverse the primitive mountains. The veins of native gold
* Vol.ii. p. 299.
are most frequent in the province of Oaxaca, either in gneiss or micaceous slate (glimmerschiefer). This last rock is particularly rich in gold, in the celebrated, mines of Rio San Antonio. These veins, of which the gangue is milk quartz, are more than half a metre in thickness *, but their richness is very unequal. They are frequently strangled, and the extraction of gold in the mines of Oaxaca, is in general by no means considerable. The same metal is to be found either pure or mixed with silver ore, in the greatest number of veins. which have been wrought in Mexico; and there is scarcely a single silver mine which does not also contain gold. Native
Native gold is. frequently found crystallized in octahedrons, or as laminæ, or in a reticulated form, in the silver ores of the mines of Villalpando and Rayas near Guanaxuato, in those of Sombrero (intendancy of Valladolid), Guarisamey to the west of Durango, and Mezquital in the province of Guadalaxara. The gold of Mezquital is looked upon as the purest, that is to say, as being least alloyed with silver, iron, and copper. The principal vein in the mine of Santa Cruz, at Villalpando, which I visited in the month of September 1803, is traversed by a great number of small rotten veins, (hilos.
* 1.6 foot. Trans.