« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
little for milk, butter and cheese. The latter is in great request among the Casts of mixed extraction, and forms a very considerable branch of exterior commerce. In the statistical table drawn up by the Intendant of Guadalaxara, in 1802, which I have frequently had occasion to cite, the annual value of dressed hides is estimated at 419,000 piastres, and that of tallow and soap at 549,000 piastres. The town of Puebla alone manufactures annually 200,000 arrobas of soap, and $2,000 ox hides; but the exportation of these articles at the port of Vera Cruz has hitherto been of very little importance. In 1803, it liardly amounted to the value of 140,000 piastres.
It appears that even in the 16th century, before the interior consumption had been aug. mented by the number and the luxury of the whites, New Spain supplied Europe with more hides than at the present day. Father Acosta *, relates that a fleet which entered Seville in 1587, carried 64,340 Mexican hides. The horses of the northern provinces, and particularly those of New Mexico, are as celebrated for their excellent qualities as the horses of Chili ;
Macartney, vol. ii. p. 153. and vol. iv. p. 59. The Greeks and Romans even only learned to make butter from their communication with the Scythians, Thracians, and the Germanic nations. ' Beckmann. I. c. b. iii. p. 289.
both descend, as it is pretended, from the Arab race; and they wander wild in herds, in the Savannahs of the Provincias Internas. The exportation of these horses to Natchez and New Orleans, becomes every year of greater importance. Many Mexican families possess in their Hatos de ganado, from thirty to forty thousand head of horses and oxen. The mules would be still more numerous, if so many of them did not perish on the highways from the excessive fatigues of journeys of several months. It is reckoned that the commerce of Vera Cruz alone, employs annually nearly 70,000 mules. More than 5000 are employed as an object of luxury in the carriages * of the city of Mexico.
The rearing of sheep has been wonderfully neglected in New Spain, as well as in all the Spanish Colonies of America. It is probable that the first sheep introduced in the 16th century, were not of the breed of travelling Merinos, and particularly that they were not of the Leon, Segovian, or Sorian breed. 'Since that time, `no care has been employed in the amelioration of the breed ; and yet in the part of Mexico, beyond the tropics, it would be easy to introduce the system of manage
* Havannah has 2500 Calashes, called Volantes, which require more than 3000 mules. In 1802, the number of horses in Paris was calculated at 35,000.
ment known in Spain by the
by the name
of Mesta, by which the sheep change their climate with the seasons, and are always in harmony with them. Nothing is to be feared for ages from the prejudice which these travelling Hocks might occasion to Mexican agriculture. At present the finest wool is reckoned to be that of the Intendancy of Valladolid.
It is worthy of remark, that neither the common hog*, nor the hens to be found in all the islands of the South Sea, were known to the Mexicans. The Picari (Sus tajassu) to be frequently met with in the cottages of the natives of South America, might have easily been reduced to a domestic state ; but this animal is only fit for the region of plains. Of the two varieties of hog which are now the most common in Mexico, the one was in
* Pedro de Cieca, and Garcilasso de la Vega, have preserved in their works the names of the Colonists who first reared in America the domestic animals of Europe. They relate that in the middle of the 16th century, two hogs cost at Peru 8000 livres, a camel 35,000, an ass 7700, a cow 1200, and a sheep 200 livres. Cieça Chronica del Peru (Antwerp 1554) p. 65. Garcilasso,
328. These enormous prices, besides proving the scarcity of the objects sold, prove also the abundance of the precious metals. General Belcalazar, who had purchased at Buza a sow for 4000 francs, could not resist the temptation of eating her at
the luxury which prevailed in the army of the Conquistadores.
troduced from Europe, and the other from the Philippine Islands. They have multiplied amazingly on the Central Table Land, where the valley of Toluca carries on a very lucrative trade in bacon.
Before 'the conquest there were very few poultry among the natives of the new continent. The maintenance of these birds require particular care in countries recently cleared, where the forests abound in carnivorous quadrupeds of every kind. Besides, the inhabitant of the Tropics does not feel the want of domestic animals so much as the inhabitant of the temperate zone, because he is freed by the fertility of the soil from the necessity of labouring a great extent of ground, and because the lakes and rivers are covered with an innumerable quantity of birds, easily caught, and yielding an abundant nourishment. A European traveller is astonished to see the savages of South America bestowing extreme pains in taming monkeys, Manaviri (Ursus caudivolvula) or squirrels, while they never endeavour to tame a great number of useful animals, "contained in the neighbouring forests. However, the most civilized tribes of the new continent reared in their stable-yards, before the arrival of the Spaniards, several gallinaceous birds, as hoccos, (Crax nigra, C. globicera,
and C. pauxi) turkies, (meleagris gallo-pavo) several species of pheasants, ducks, and moorhens, yacous, or guans, (penelope, pava de monte) and aras, (psittacci macrouri) which are considered delicate eating when young.
At this period, the cock, a native of the East Indies, and common to the Sandwich Islands, was totally unknown in America. This fact, important in its connection with the migration of the Malay tribes, has been contested in Spain since the end of the 16th century. Learned Etymologists proved that the Peruvians must have had hens previous to the discovery of the New World, because the language of the Incas designates the cock by a particular word, gualpa. They knew not that gualpa or huallpa, is a contraction of Atahuallpa, and that the natives of Cuzco gave in derision the name of a prince, detested on account of the cruelties exercised by him against the family of Huescar, to the cocks brought by the Spaniards, imagining, which appears strange enough to the ears of a European, they found some resemblance between the crowing of that bird and the name of Atahuallpa. This anecdote, to be found in the work of Garcilasso, (t. i. p. 331.) was related to me in 1802, at Caxamarca, where I saw, in the family of the Astorpilco, the descendants of the last Inca of Peru.