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wandering Indians, is equally burdensome to the public treasury, and inimical to the progress of civilization among the Indians. Not having ever travelled in the provincias internas, I cannot take upon me to say whether or not a general pacification is practicable. We frequently hear at Mexico, that for the security of the colonists, the tribes of savages who wander about in the Bolson de Mapimi, and to the north of New Biscay, ought not to be repulsed, but exterminated. Fortunately however, this barbarous counsel has never yet been listened to by the government, and we learn from history, that such measures are not necessary. In the 17th century, the Apaches, and the Cicimeques, carried their incursions beyond Zacatecas, towards Guanaxuato, and the Villa de Leon, but since the increase of civillization in these countries, the tribes of Indians
3. New Mexico:
4. Californias: San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco. 5. Intendancy of San Luis Potosi. Nacogdoch, Espiritu Santo, Bejar, Cohahiula, San Juan Bautista del Rio Grande, Aquaverde, Bavia.
The presidios which have the strongest garrisons, are in italics. None of these posts contain more than 140 soldiers.
have gradually withdrawn to a distance. It is to be hoped in the same manner, that in proportion as the population and public prosperity shall increase in the provincias internas, these warlike hordes will retire, first, behind the Gila, next to the west of the Rio de Colorado, which flows into the sea of Cortez; and lastly into the northern and desert regions, in the neighbourhood of the mountains of New California. This last province, of which the shore alone is inhabited, is yet six hundred leagues distant from Russian America, and more than two hundred from the mouth of the Rio Colombia, where the inhabitants of the United States have projected the formation of a colony. The defence of the ports of San Francisco, Monterey, and San Diego, is entrusted to a body of not more than 200 men, and there are not above three guns in San Francisco; but these forces have been sufficient for forty years, in seas which are only frequented by merchant vessels, carrying on the fur trade. With respect to Mexico proper, or that part of the kingdom situated under the torrid zone, it is sufficient to glance at the atlas which accompanies this work, and especially the physical sections, to be convinced that there is scarcely a country on the globe, of which the military defence is more favoured by the configuration of the ground. Narrow
and crooked paths, like those of Saint Gothard
and the greatest part of the passes of the Alps, lead from the coast towards the interior table
land, in which the population, civilization, and
wealth of the country are concentrated. The
slope of the Cordilleras is more rapid on the
Vera Cruz than on the Acapulco road; and although the currents of the South Sea, and several meteorological causes, render the western coast less accessible than the eastern coast, Mexico may be considered as better fortified by nature, on the Atlantic side, than on the side opposite to Asia. However, to preserve this country from invasion, the internal resources must alone be looked to ; for the state of the ports' situated on the coast, washed by the gulph of Mexico, will not admit of the keeping up a maritime force. . . . The vessels destined by the court of Spain to protect Vera Cruz have always been stationed at the Havannah; and this port, which contains numerous and excellent fortifications, has always been considered as the military port of Mexico. An enemy's squadron can only anchor at the foot of the castle of Saint John d’Ulua, which rises like a rock in the middle of the sea. This celebrated fort contains no other water but that of the cisterns, which have
lately undergone an amelioration, being subject to split from the discharge of the artillery; but persons of skill are of opinion that the fort of Ulua is capable of resisting, till the extreme insalubrity of the climate affect the health of the besiegers, and the land forces descend from the central table land. At the entrance of - the port of Acapulco, the Island Grifo contains a point much more capable of being fortified than the shoal of the Gallega in the port of Vera Cruz. - To the north and south of Vera Cruz the coast is low, and the mouths of the rivers from bars are only accessible to boats. The defence of the coast was organized fifteen years ago, when the fear of an invasion occasioned considerable assemblages of troops near Orizaba, and when for two centuries and a half Mexico was first seen to assume a warlike attitude. It was then found that numerous posts and signals, flat-bottomed boats with guns of a large calibre, and light cavalry capable of repairing rapidly to the threatened points, were the most useful and least expensive mode of defence. . . An enemy who lands may proceed towards the table land either by Xalapa and Perote, turning by the north side of the mountain of the Coffre, or by ascending the Cordilleras by Cordoba to the south of the Volcan d’Orizaba. These roads present in a great measure the same difficulties as those which must be sur- . mounted in ascending from Guayra to Caracas, from Honda to Santa Fe, or from Guayaquil to the beautiful valley of Quito. On the Xalapa road, at the entrance of the table land of la Puebla there is a small fort which bears the pompous name of the fortress of Saint Charles of Perote, which requires more than a million of francs annually for the expence of keeping it up. This fort can only be useful as a depôt for arms and ammunition. The surest means of obstructing the enemy's way and to retard his progress, would be to fortify the defiles themselves, for the military defence of the passage. - * . . The facility of prohibiting all access to the table land by a very small number of troops wn divided is so generally acknowledged in the country, that the government did not think proper to yield to the demands of those who were against the making of the road of Xalapa, from the danger which would thence arise to the military defence of New Spain. It felt that such considerations would paralyze all undertakings for the public prosperity, and that a mountainous people, rich in agriculture, mines, and commerce, require an active communication with the coasts. The better these