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pears to have been constructed towards the middle of the eighteenth century. The rapid ascents have been carefully avoided ; and the charge which is brought against the engineer, of lengthening too much the road, will be dropt when wheel carriages shall be substituted to the carriage of goods on the backs of mules. The construction of this road will probably cost more than 15 millions of francs"; but we hope that so beautiful and useful a work will not suffer any interruption. It is an object of the highest importance, for those parts of Mexico the most remote from the capital, and the port of Vera Cruz; for when the road shall be completed, the price of iron, mercury, spirituous liquors, paper, and all the other commodities of Europe, will experience a sensible fall in price; the Mexican flour, which has hitherto been dearer at the Havannah than the flour of Philadelphia, will be naturally preferred to the latter; the exportation of the sugars and hides of the country will be more considerable; and the transportation of goods on waggons will require a much smaller number of mules and horses than are now employed. These changes will produce a double effect on subsistence; and the scarcities which have almost periodically hitherto desolated Mexico will be more rare, not only because the consumption of maize will be less, but because the agriculturist, stimulated by the hope of selling his flour at Vera Cruz, will lay out more of his ground in the cultivation of wheat. During my stay at Xalapa in the month of February, 1804, the new road constructed under the direction of Don Garcia Conde, had been commenced on those points which presented the greatest difficulties, namely, the ravin called the Plan del Rio, and the Cuesta del Soldado. They intend to place columns of porphyry along the road, for the purpose of indicating both the distances, and the elevation of the surface above the level of the ocean. These inscriptions, which are no where to be met with in Europe, will be particularly interesting to a traveller, who is climbing the eastern ascent of the Coru. dillera: they will quiet his mind by announcing to him that he is approaching that fortunate and elevated region, in which the scourges of black vomiting, and yellow fever are no longer to be dreaded. The old road of Xalapa leads from Rincomada eastwards, by the old Vera Cruz vulgarly called la Antigua. After passing below this village, the river of the same name, nearly 200 metres" in breadth, we follow the coast by
f 600,000l. sterling. Trans.
Punta Gorda and Vergara, or if the tide is high, we take the road of la Manga de Clayo, which does not rejoin the coast till the very port of Vera Cruz. It would be advantageous to construct a bridge over the Rio de la Antigua, near la Ventilla, where the bed of the river is only 107 meters * in breadth, by which means the Xalapa road would be shortened more, than six leagues, and, without, touching old Vera Cruz, it would lead immediately from the Plan, del Rio, by the bridge of la Ventilla, Passo de Ovejas, Cienegade Olocuatla, and Loma de San Juan to, Vera Cruz. This, change is so much. the more desirable, as it is the journey from Encero to the coast, which is the most dangerous to the health of the inhabitants of the in-, terior of Mexico, when they descend from the table land of Perote, and the heights of Xalapa. The suffocating heat which prevails in that arid. and naked plain, has a powerful effect on indi..., viduals whose nervous system has never been accustomed to such a violent irritation. The heat, added to the fatigues of the journey, disposes the organs more easily to receive the deleterious miasmata of the yellow fever; and the ravages of that pestilential malady, would be greatly diminished therefore by shortening that, part of the road which crosses the arid plains of: the sea coast. o
* 350 feet. Trans.
The road from Mexico to Vera Cruz, by Orizaba is the least frequented: it passes by Nopoluca, San Andres, Orizaba, Cordoba, and Cotastla. The group of porphyritic mountains which contain the summits of the Pic d’Orizaba and the Coffre de Perote, prevent the engineer from tracing in a straight line, the road from the capital to the port of Vera Cruz. On the Xalapa road, we turn the great mountain of the Coffre on the north ; and on the Orizaba and Cordova road, we turn the Pic d’Orizaba on its southern slope. One of these roads deviates to the north, and the other to the south ; but the greatest deviation is that by Orizaba. This last road would be considerably abridged, if, instead of going to Vera Cruz by Cotastla and the Venta de Xamapa, they were to pass through the hilly country, known by the name of the Sierra de Atoyaque. According to an estimate of the Regidores of the Villa de Cordova, the construction of this new road would cost 1,416,800 piastres.”
The principal objects of the interior commerce of New Spain are, 1st. The productions and goods imported or exported at the two ports of Vera Cruz and Acapulco, of which we shall afterwards speak; 2d. the exchange which is carried on between the different provinces,
* 297,528l. Sterling.
and particularly between Mexico, properly so called, and the Provincias Internas. 3d. Several productions of Peru, Quito, and Guatimala, which are conveyed through the country to be exported at Vera Cruz for, Europe. Were it not for the great consumption of commodities in the mines, the interior commerce could not have any great activity between provinces which enjoy in a great measure the same climate, and which consequently possess the same productions. The elevation of the soil gives the southern regions of Mexico, that middle temperature which is necessary for the cultivation of European plants. We have already stated, that the same latitude produces the bamana, the apple, the sugar cane, and wheat, the manioc, and the potatoe. The nutritive gramina which vegetate among the ices of Norwa
and Siberia, cover the Mexican fields of the torrid zone. Hence, the provinces situated under the 17" and 20° of latitude, very seldom require the flour of New Biscay. Fortunately, the cultivation of maize animates the interior commerce, much more than the cerealia of Europe. As it seldom happens that the maize harvest is equally good over a large extent of ground, one part of Mexico is in want, while another abounds with it, and the price of the Janega differs in two neighbouring intendancies