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east of the port of Tehuantepec, near la Barra de Tonala. They terminate on the shore of the Atlantic, near the bay of Honduras.
The name of New Spain was at first only given in the year 1518 to the province of Yucatan, where the companions in arms of Grijalva were astonished at the cultivation of the fields and the beauty of the Indian edifices. Cortes, in his first letter to the emperor Charles V. in 1520, employs the denomination of New Spain for the whole empire of Montesuma. This empire, if we may believe Solis, extended from Panama to New California. But we learn from the diligent researches of a Mexican historian, the abbé Clavigero*, that Montezuma the sultan of Tenochtitlan had a much smaller extent of country under his clominion. His kingdom was bounded towards the eastern coast by the rivers of Guasucualco and Trapan, and towards the western coast by the plains of Soconusco, and the port of Zacatula. On looking into my general map of New Spain, divided into intendancies, it will be found, that according to these limits, the empire of liontezuma included only the intendancies of Vera Cruz, Oaxaca, la Puebla, Mexico, and Valladolid.
I think its area may
be estimated at 15,000 square leagues.
Towards the beginning of the 16th century, the
* Dissertazione supru i confini di Anahuac. See Storia antica del Messico. T. IV. p. 265.
river of Santiago separated the agricultural nations of Mexico and Mechoacan from the barbarous and pastoral hordes called Otomites and Cicimecs. These savages frequently carried their incursions as far as Tula, a town situated near the northern bank of the valley of Tenochtitlan. They occupied the plains of Zelaya and Salamanca, now admired for their fine cultivation, and the multitude of farms scattered over their surface.
Neither should the denomination of Anahuac be confounded with that of New Spain. Before the conquest all the country between the 14th and 21st degrees of latitude was included under the name of Anahuac. Besides the Aztec empire of Montezuma, the small republics of Tlaxcallan and Cholollan, the kingdoms of Tescuco (or Acolhoacan) and Mechuacan, which comprised part of the intendancy of Valladolid, belonged to the ancient Anahuac.
Even the name Níexico is of Indian origin. It signifies in the Aztec language the habitation of the God of war, called Meritli or Huitzilopochtli. It appears, however, that before the year 1530 the city was more commonly called Tenochtitlan than Mexico. Cortes*, who had made
very Jittle progress in the language of the country, called the capital, through corruption,
* Historia de Nueva España, por Lorenzana (Mexico, 1770, p. 1.)
Temixtitan. These etymological observations will not be found too minute in a work which treats exclusively of the kingdom of Mexico. The audacious man who overturned the Aztec monarchy considered this kingdom sufficiently extensive to advise* Charles V. to unite the title of emperor of New Spain to that of Roman emperor.
We are tempted to compare together the extent and population of Mexico, and that of two empires with which this fine colony is in relations of union and rivalry. Spain is five times smaller than Mexico. Should no unforeseen misfortunes occur, we may reckon that in less than a century the population of New Spain will equal that of the mother country.
The United States of North America since the cession of Louisiana, and since they recognize no other boundary than the RioBravo del Norte, contain 240,000 square leagues. Their population is not much greater than that of Mexico, as we shall afterwards see on examining carefully the population and the area of New Spain.
If the political force of two states depended solely on the space which they occupy on the globe, and
* Cortez says, in his first letter, dated from Villa Segura de la Frontera, the 30th October, 1520 : “ Las cosas de esta terra son tantas y
que Vuestra Alteza se puede entitular do nuevo Emperador de ella, y con titulo y non menos merito, que el de Alemaña, que por la gracia de Dios, Vuestra Sacra Magestad possee." (Lorenzana, p. 38.)
on the number of their inhabitants; if the nature of the soil, the configuration of the coast ; and if the climate, the energy of the nation, and above all the degree of perfection of its social institutions, were not the principal elements of this grand dynamical calculation, the kingdom of New Spain might, at present, be placed in opposition to the confederation of the American republics. Both labour under the inconvenience of an unequally distributed population; but that of the United States, though in a soil and climate less favoured by nature, augments with an infinitely greater rapidity. Neither does it comprehend, like the Mexican population, nearly two millions and a half of aborigines. These Indiaus, degraded by the despotism of the ancient Aztec sovereigns, and by the vexations of the first conquerors, though protected by the Spanish laws, wise and humane in general, enjoy very little, however, of this protection, from the great distance of the supreme authority. The kingdom of New Spain has one decided advantage over the United States. The number of slaves there, either Africans or of mixed race, is almost nothing; an advantage which the European colonists have only begun rightly to appretiate since the tragical events of the revolution of St. Domingo. So true it is, that the fear of physical evils acts more powerfully than moral considerations on the true interests of society, or the principles of philanthropy and of justice, so.
often the theme of the parliament, the constituent assembly, and the works of the philosophers.
The number of African slaves in the United States amounts to more than a million, and constitute a sixth part of the whole population. The southern states, whose influence is increased since the acquisition of Louisiana, very inconsiderately increase the annual importation of these negroes. It is not yet in the power of Congress, nor the chief of the confederation (a magistrate* whose name is dear to the true friends of humanity), to oppose this augmentation, and to spare by that means much distress to the generations to come.
* The present president, Mr. Thomas Jefferson, author of she excellent Essay on Virginia.