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the Levant; but as its odour is different from the vanilla called grande fina it has never
see from what has been stated respecting the vanilla, that it is with the goodness of this cominodity as with that of the quinquina, which from which it proceeds, but also on the height of the country, the exposure of the tree, the period of the harvest, and the care employed in drying the bark. The commerce of both the vanilla and quinquina is in the hands of a few persons called habilitadores, because they advance money to the cosecheros, i. e. to the Indians employed in the harvest, who are in this way under the direction of undertakers. The latter draw almost the whole profit of this branch of the purchasers, is so much less at Misantla guard against deception in the purchase of prechada) may occasion the loss of a whole chest, in the passage from America to Europe. The blemishes which are thus discovered either in the pod or the stalk (garganta) are designated garro.) A prudent purchaser examines over and over the pacquets which he sends in the
The competition among long experience is necessary to A, single stained pod (man
and Colipa ; as a
by particular names (mojo negro, mojo blanco,
The habilitadores have purchased, for the last twelve years, the thousand of vanilla of the first class at an average price of 25 or 35 piastres ; the thousand of zacate at ten, and of rezacåte at four piastres. In 1803, the price of the grande fina was. 50, and the zacate 15 piastres. The purchasers, far from paying the Indians in ready money, supply them in barter, and at a very high price, with brandy, cocoa, wine, and more especially with cotton cloth, manufactured at Puebla. In this barter consists part of the profits of these monopolists.
The district of Papantla, formerly an. Alcaldia mayor, is situated 18 leagues to the north of Misantla ; it produces very little vanilla, and that little is, besides, badly dried, though very aromatic. The Indians of Papantla, as well as those of Nautla, are accused of introducing themselves furtively' into the forests of Quilate; for the sake of collecting the fruit of the epidendrum, planted by the natives of Misantla. In the intendancy of Oaxaca, the village of Teutila is celebrated for the superior quality of the vanilla produced in the neighbouring forestsi It appears, that this variety was the first which was introduced into Spain in the sixteenth century; for even at this day, the baynilla de Teutila is considered at Cadiz as preferable to every other. It is indeed dried with much care, being pricked with pins, and suspended by
threads of the Pite; but it weighs less by nearly a ninth than that of Misantla. I know not the quantity of vanilla produced in the province of Honduras, and annually exported from the small port of Truxillo ; but it appears to be very inconsiderable. The forests of Quilate yield, in very
years, 800 millares of vanilla; a bad harvest in
very rainy years amounts only to 200. The mean produce is estimated thus
Misantla and Colipa
700 100 110
The value of these 910 millares is, at Vera Cruz, from 30 to 40,000 piastres. We must add the produce of the harvests of Santiago and San Andres Tuxtla, for which I am in want of sufficiently accurate data. It frequently happens that the harvest of one year does not pass all at once into Europe, but that a part of it is reserved to be added to that of the following year. In 1802, 1793 millares of vanilla left the port of Vera Cruz. It is astonishing, that the total consumption of Europe is not greater.
The same eastern slope of the Cordillera, on which the vanilla is produced, produces also the sarsaparilla (zarza) of which there was exported
from Vera Cruz, in 1803, nearly 250,000 kilogrammes t, and the Jalap (Purga de Xalapa) which is the root, not of the mirabilis jalapa, of the M. longiflora, or of the M. dichotoma, but of the convolvolus jalapa. This convolvolus vegetates at an absolute height of from 13 to 14. hundred metres I on the whole chain of mountains extending from the Volcan d'Orizaba, to the Cofre de Perote. We did not meet with it in our herborizations around the town of Xalapa itself; bnt the Indians who inhabit the neighbouring villages brought us some excellent roots of it collected near Banderilla, to the east of San Miguel el Soldado. This valuable remedy is procured in the Subdelegacion de Xalapa, around the villages of Santiago, Tlachi, Tihuacan de los Reyes, Tlacolula, Xicochimalco, Tatatila, Yxhuacan, and Ayahualulco; in the jurisdiccion de San Juan de los Llanos, near San Pedro Chilchotla and Quimixtlan ; in the partidos of the towns of Cordoba, Orizaba, and San Andres Tuxtla. The true Purga de Xalapa delights only in a temperate climate, or rather an almost
* 551,750 lb. avoird. Truns.
† The sarsaparilla employed in commerce proceeds from several species of smilax, very different from the S. Sarsa, parilla. See the description of the ten new species, brought by us in the species of M. Willdenow. T. iv. p. i. p. 773. From 4264 to 4592 feet. Trans.
cold climate, in shaded valleys, and on the slope of mountains. I was so much the more surprized, therefore, on learning after my return to Europe, that an intelligent traveller who has displayed the greatest zeal for the good of his country, Thiery de Menonville, had asserted that he found the jalap in great abundance in , the arid and sandy tracts in the neighbourhood of the port of Vera Cruz, and consequently under a climate excessively warm, and at the level of the ocean.
Raynal asserts t, that Europe consumes annually 7500 quintals, of jalap. This estimate appears too much by one half; for from the most accurate information which I was able to procure at Vera Cruz, there was only exported from that port in 1802, 2921, and in 1803, 2281 quintals of jalap. The price at Xalapa, is from 120 to 150 francs the quintal.
We did not see, during our stay in New Spain, the plant which, it is pretended, yields the root of Mechoacan, (the Tacuache of the Tan rasck Indians, and the Tlalantlacuitlapilli of the Aztecs.) We never, even during the course
* Thiery, p. 59. This jalap of Vera Cruz, appears to be the same with that found by Mr. Michaux, in Florida. See the Memoir of Mr. Desfontaines, on the Convolvulus Jalapa, in the Annales du Museum Histoire Naturelle. t. ii. p. 120. Hist. Philos. t. ï.