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and cost from 10 to 12 thousand ducats in expense of erection.
of erection. It is remarkable enough that among the first
mills (trapiches) constructed by the Spaniards in the beginning of the 16th century, some of them were already put in motion not by horses, but by hydraulical wheels, although these same water mills (trapiches) or molinos de agua, have been introduced in our days into the Island of Cuba, as a foreign invention, by refugees from Cape François.
In 1553 the abundance of sugar was already so great in Mexico, that it was exported from Vera Cruz and Acapulco into Spain and Peru. * This last exportation has long ceased, as Peru produces now more sugar than is necessary
“ Besides gold and silver, Mexico furnishes also much sugar and cochineal, two very precious commodities, feathers and cotton.-Few Spanish vessels return without a cargo, which is not the case in Peru, that has however falsely the reputation of being richer than Mexico. This last country has also preserved a much greater number of its inhabitants. It is a very fine and very populous country, to which nothing is wanting but more frequent rains.—New Spain exports to Peru, horses, beef, and sugar.”—This remarkable passage of Lopez de Gomara, who describes so well the state of the Spanish Colonies towards the middle of the 16th century, is only to be found in the edition de la conquista de Mexico, published at Medina del Campo, 1553, fol. 139. It is wanting in the French translation printed at Paris in 1587, p. 191.
for its own consumption. As the population of New Spain is concentrated in the interior of the country, we find fewer sugar works along the coast, where the great heats and abundant rains are favourable to the cultivation of the sugar,
than on’the ascent of the Cordilleras, and in the more elevated parts of the central table land. The principal plantations are in the intendancy of Vera Cruz, near the towns of Orie zaba and Cordova; in the intendancy of Puebla, near Guautla de las Amilpas, at the foot of the Volcan de Popocatepetl ; in the intendancy of Mexico, to the westward of the Nevado de Toluca, and to the south of Cuernavacca, in the plains of San Gabriel ; in the intendancy of Guanaxuato, near Celaya, Salvatierra, and Penjamo, and in the valley of Santiago; in the intendancies of Valladolid and Guadalaxara, to the south-west of Pazcuaro and Tecolotlan. Although the mean temperature most suitable to the sugar-cane is 24° or 25° of the centigrade thermometer *, this plant may however be successfully cultivated in places where the mean annual heat does not exceed 19° or 20°.+ Now the decrease of the caloric being nearly a degree of the centigrade thermometer for every 200 metres # of elevation, we find in general,
* From 75° to 77° of Fahrenheit. Trans.
under the tropics, on the rapid declivity of mountains, this mean temperature of 20° at 1000 metres of elevation * above the level of the ocean. On table land of a great extent, the heat is increased to such a degree by the reverbera. tion of the earth, that the mean temperature of the city of Mexico is 17° instead of 13°. 77; that of Quito, is 15o. 8 instead of 11°. 5.1 The result of these data is, that, on the central table land of Mexico, the maximum of heat at which the sugar-cane vegetates vigorously without suffering from frost in winter, is not 1000 but from 1400 to 1500 metres. In favourable exposures, especially in valleys sheltered by mountains from the north winds, the highest ļimit of sugar cultivation reaches as high as 2000 metres. In fact, if the height of the plains of San Gabriel, which contain many fine sugar plantations, is only 980 metres; on the other hand the environs of Çelaya, Salvatierra, Irapuato and Santiago, are beyond 1800 metres of absolute elevation. I have been assured that the
sugar-cane plantations of Rio Verde, situated to the north of Guanaxuato under 22° 30 of latitude, are at an elevation of 2200 metres ll. in a narrow valley surrounded by high Cordil
* 3280 feet. Trans.
62' 6 and 56. 6 of Fahr. Trans. # 60° 4 and 52° 9 of Fahr. Trans, § From 4592 to 4920 feet. Trans. Il 7211 feet. Trans,
leras, and so warm that its inhabitants frequently suffer from intermittent fevers. 1 discovered, on examining the testament of Cortez*, that in the time of this great man there were sugar works near Cuyoacan in the valley of Mexico. This curious fact proves what is indicated by several other phenomena, that this valley is colder in our days than it was at the commencement of the conquest, because a great number of trees then diminished the effect of the north winds which now blow with impetuosity. Those accustomed to see sugarcane plantations in the West India Islands, will learn with the same astonishment, that in the kingdom of New Granada the greatest quantity of sugar is not yielded in the plains, on the banks of the river de la Madalena, but on · the ascent of the Cordilleras, in the valley of Guaduas, on the road from Honda to Santa Fe, in a district, which, according to my barometrical measurement, is from 1200 to 1700 metres above the level of the sea.
* “I order an examination to be made whether in my estados lands have been taken from the natives to be planted with vines; I wish also an examination to be made as to the ground given by me in these last years to my domestic Bernardino del Castillo for the establishment of a sugar plantation near Cuyoacan." (Manuscript Testament of Hernan Cortez, executed at Seville, the 18th August, 1548, art. 48.)
+ From 3936 to 5576 feet. Trans.
Fortunately the introduction of negroes has not augmented in Mexico in the same proporțion as the sugar produce. Although in the intendancy of Puebla, near Guautla de la Amilpas, there are plantations (haciendas a cana) which yield annually more than froi twenty to thirty thousand arrobas * (from 500,00 to 750,000 kilogrammes t)almost all the Mexic sugar is manufactured by Indians, and cr sequently by free hands. It is easy to fore that the small West India Islands, notwithstanuing their favourable position for trade, will not be long able to sustain a competition with the continental colonies, if the latter continue to give themselves up with the same ardour to the cultivation of sugar, coffee, and cotton. In the physical as well as in the moral world, every thing terminates in a return to the order prescribed by nature, and if small islands, of which the population was exterminated, have hitherto carried on a more active trade with their
productions than the neighbouring continent, it is only because the inhabitants of Çumana, Cara
* This produce is very considerable, and it is only to be found in a single plantation in the Island of Cuba, of the name of Rio Blanco, belonging to the Marquis del Arcos, between Xarąco, and Matanzas, which annually produces 40,000 arrobas of sugar. There are not eight which yield for ten years in succession 35,000.
† Fror. 1,103,500 to 1,655,250 lb. avoird. Trans.