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the great number of materials which I possessed into a work, of which the first sketch drew the attention of the viceroy of Mexico in a manner which redounded to his honour. I should be happy if I could flatter myself that my feeble efforts, under a new form, and more carefully digested, are not unworthy of being presented to your Majesty.
They breathe the sentiments of gratitude which I owe to the government who protected me, and to the noble and loyal nation who received me, not as a traveller, but as a fellow-citizen. How can we displease a good king, when we speak to him of the national interest, of the improvement of social institutions, and the eternal principles on which the prosperity of nations is founded ?
I am, with the greatest respect,
THE BARON DE HUMBOLDT. Paris, 8th March, 1808. Vol. 1. b
General considerations on the ertent and physical aspect of the
General population of New Spain. Division of the inhabitants
Vegetable productions of the Mexican territory.—Progress of
In publishing maps of New Spain, differing in many respects from any which have hitherto been published, it is incumbent on me to give Some account to astronomers and naturalists of the materials which I have employed. When an author makes nothing more than a compilation; when he draws from sources not generally known, and merely collects what is scattered in printed works or engraved maps, a simple nomenclature of the articles employed may serve for analysis. It is otherwise when a map is founded on the astronomical observations or measurements of an author himself; when he has had recourse to plans and manuscript notes preserved in archives or buried in convents. In the latter case, which is mine, the geographer has a right to demand a satisfactory exposition of the means employed for verifying the position of the most important points. In offering this exposition to the public, I shall carefully distinguish the results of simple combinations, from what has been immediately deduced WOL. I. B