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between the 41° 43, of south latitude, and the 37° 48' of north latitude. This

This space of seventynine degrees equals not only the length of all Africa, but it even much surpasses the breadth of the Russian empire, which includes about a hundred and sixty-seven degrees of longitude, under a parallel of which the degrees are not more than half the degrees of the equator.

The most southern point of the new continent inhabited by the Spaniards is fort Maullin, near the small village of Carelmapu*, on the coast of Chili, opposite to the northern extremity of the island of Chiloe. A road is opening from Valdivia to this fort of Maullin; a bold but useful undertaking, as a stormy sea prevents navigators for a great part of the year from landing on so dangerous a

On the south and south-east of fort Maul. lin, in the gulfs of incud and Reloncavi, by which we reach the great lakes of Nahuelhapi and Todos los Santos, there are no Spanish establishments; but we neet with them in the islands near the eastern coast of Chilne, even in 43° 34' of south latitude, where the island Caylin (opposite the lofty summit of the Corcobuco) is inhabited by several families of Spanish origin

The most northern point of the Spanish colonies is the mission of Sun Francisco, on the coast of New California, seven leagues to the north-west of


* See note A, at the end of the work,

Santa Cruz. The Spanish language is thus spread over an extent of more than 1900 leagues in length. Under the wise administration of Count Florida Blanca, a regular communication of posts was established from Paraguay to the north-west coast of North America ; and a monk in the mission of the Guaranis Indians can maintain a correspondence with another missionary inhabiting New Mexico, or the countries in the neighbourhood of Cape Mendocin, without their letters ever passing at any great distance from the continent of Spanish America.

The dominions of the king of Spain in America exceed in extent the vast regions possessed by the Russian empire, or Great Britain, in Asia. 1 thought, therefore, that a view of these differences and of the striking disproportion between the area and the population of the mother country, compared with those of the colonies, could hardly fail to be interesting. To make this disproportion appear still more palpable, I have formed, accord. ing to exact scales, the drawings in the last plate. A red parallelogram which serves' for the base, represents the surface of the mother countries; and a blue parallelogram which reposes on the base, indicates the area of the Spanish and English possessions in America and Asia. These views, similar to those of M. Playfair, have something fearful in them, particularly when we fix our eyes on the grand catastrophe represented in the fourth


figure, of which the memory is still recent among .

This plate alone should suggest important considerations to those who superintend the pros. perity and tranquillity of the colonies. The dread of a future evil is undoubtedly in itself a motive of no great dignity; but it is a powerful motive of vigilance and activity for great political bodies, as well as for simple individuals.

The Spanish possessions in America are divided into nine great governments, which may be regarded as independent of one another.

Of these nine governments, five, viz. the viceroyalties of Peru and of New Grenada, the capitanias gene. rales of Guatimalu, of Portorico, and of Caraccas, are wholly comprised in the torrid zone; the four other divisions, viz. the viceroyalties of Mexico and Buenos Ayres, the capitanias generales of Chili and Havannah, including the Floridas, are composed of countries of which a great part is si-. tuated without the tropics, that is to say, in the temperate zone. We shall afterwards see that this position alone does not determine the nature of the productions of these fine regions. The union of se. veral physical causes, such as the great height of the Cordilleras, their enormous masses, the number of plains, elevated more than from two to three thousand metres * above the level of the ocean, give to a part of the equinoxial regions a temperature

From 6561 to 9842 feet. Trans.

adapted to the cultivation of the wheat and fruit trees of Europe. The geographical latitude has small influence on the fertility of a country, where, on the ridge and declivity of the mountains, nature exhibits a union of every climate.

Among the colonies subject to the king of Spain, Mexico occupies at present the first rank, both on account of its territorial wealth, and on account of its favourable position for commerce with Europe and Asia. We speak here merely of the political value of the country, considering it in its actual state of civilization, which is very superior to that of the other Spanish possessions. Many branches of agriculture have undoubtedly attained a higher degree of perfection in the province of Caraccas than in New Spain. The fewer mines a colony has, the more the industry of the inhabitants is turned towards the productions of the vegetable kingdom. The fertility of the soil is

greater in the provinces of C'umuna, of New Barcelona, and Venezuela ; and it is greater on the banks of the lower Orinoco,' and in the northern part of New Grenada, than in the kingdom of Mexico, of which several regions are barren, destitute of water, and incapable of vegetation. But on considering the greatness of the population of Mexico, the number of considerable cities in the proximity of one another, the enormous value of the metallic produce, and its influence on the commerce of Europe and Asia ; in short, on ex.

amining the imperfect state of cultivation observable in the rest of Spanish America we are tempted to justify the preference which the court of Madrid has long manifested for Mexico above its other colonies.

Thede nomination of New Spain designates, in general, the vast extent of country over which the viceroy of Mexico exercises his power. Using the word in this sense, we are to consider as northern and southern limits the parallels of the 98th and 10th degrees of latitude. But the captain-general of Guatimala, considered as administrator, depends very little on the viceroy of New Spain. The kingdom of Guatimala contains, according to its political division, the governments of Costa Rica and of Nicaragua. It is conterminous with the kingdom of New Grenada, to which Darien and the isthmus of Panama belong. Whenever in the course of this work we use the denominations of New Spain and Mexico, we exclude the captania-general of Guatimalı, a country extremely fertile, well peopled, compared with the rest of the Spanish possessions, and so much the better cultivated as the soil, convulsed by volcanos, contains almost no metallic mines. Ve consider the intendancies of Merida and Oaxaca as the most southern, and at the same time the most eastern parts of New Spain. The confines which separate Mexico from the kingdom of Guatimala are washed by the Great Ocean to the

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