« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
them in ten years; but no tree was ever cut down; and this long and laborious labour produced no other effect than an increase of expence to government. If it should be proved by new investigation, that the cutting of a canal in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec would not be advantageous, the government should at least encourage the inhabitants of that province to improve the road by the Portillo de Petapa, to the new port of la Cruz. Part of the productions of the kingdom of Guatimala, those of the intendancy of Oaxaca and Tehuantepec might come at all times by this way to Vera Cruz. In 1804 at my departure from New Spain the carriage of goods on the backs of mules from Tehuantepec to Vera Cruz by Oaxaca, amounted to 80 piastres per load”; and the muleteers took three months in going a road which is not 75 leagues in a straight line. In conveying the productions by the way of the Isthmus and the river of Huasacualco, the load would only cost 16 piastrest of carriage; and as they take only ten days from the Passo de la Fabrica to Vera Cruz, nearly 70 days are gained on the whole passage. The consulado of Vera Cruz, which has displayed the most praiseworthy zeal for the opening of this new road for internal commerce, abolished in 1SOS the duty of 5 per cent. to which all goods embarked on the Rio Huasacualco were subject. This duty was known by the absurd denomination of hot-country duty (derecho de tierra caliente). I have thought it important to publish in the greatest detail every thing relative to the projected communications between the two seas. The topography of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is altogether unknown in Europe; and from authorities which I have quoted, we cannot doubt that this point of the globe deserves no less the attention of government than the Rio Chamaluzon, the Lake of Nicaragua, the Isthmus of Panama, the Bay of Cupica, and the ravin de la Raspadura at Choco. . . . The foreign commerce of New Spain, from the position of the coasts, is naturally composed of the commerce of the South Sea, and that of the Atlantic Ocean. The ports on the eastern coast are Campeche, Huasacualco, Vera Cruz, Tampico, and Nuevo Santander; if we may give the name of ports to roads surrounded with shallows, or mouths of rivers shut by bars, and presenting a very slight shelter from the fury of the north winds. We have already in the third chapter," detailed the physical causes which give a particular character to the Mexican coast opposite to Europe. We have also spoken of the fruitless endeavours which have been
* 6l. 6s. ster. Trans. + 3!. 7s. 10d. Trans.
made since 1524, to discover a safer port than Vera Cruz. . The vast shore which stretches from Nuevo Santander to the north and northwest, is still very little known, and we may repeat in our days, what Cortez wrote to the emperor Charles the 5th, three years after the taking of Tenochtitlan, “that there remains to be discovered the secret of the coast which extends from the Rio de Panuco to Florida.” " For centuries, almost all the maritime commerce of New Spain has been concentrated at Vera Cruz. When we bestow - a glance on the chart of that port, we see that the pilots of Cortez's squadron were right in comparing the port of Vera Cruz to a pierced bag. The Island of Sacrifices, near which the vessels remain in quarantine, and the sandbanks of Arecise del Medio, Isla Verde, Anegada de dentro, Blanquilla, Galleguilla and Gallega, form, with the continent between the Punta Gorda, and the small cape Mocombo, a sort of creek, which is open to the north-west; and when the north winds (los nortes) blow with all their force, the vessels at anchor before the castle of San Juan d’Ulua, lose their anchors and are driven to the east. After getting out of the channel which separates the Island of Sacrifices from the Isla Verde, they are in 24 hours driven by the winds as far as the port of Campeche. Eighteen years ago, la Castilla, a ship of the line, moored by nine cables to the bastion of the castle of Ulua, tore off in a tempest the bronze rings which were fixed to the wall of the bastion; and it struck on the coast, in the very port, near the sand bank of los Hornos, to the west of the Punta Mocambo. It was by an extraordinary fatality, in this vessel, that the great quadrant was lost, which was used in the observations of the unfortunate Chappe, and which was re-demanded by the Academy of Sciences of Paris, to verify its divisions. The good anchorage in the port of Vera Cruz is between the castle of Ulua, the town, and the sand banks of La Lavandera. Near the castle we find six fathoms water; but the channel by which the port is entered, is hardly four fathoms in depth, and 380 metres * in breadth. ' ' ' ' ' ' ' The principal objects of eaportation at Vera Cruz are according to the declarations at the customs, taking an average of several years of peace : - -- Gold and silver in ingots, or converted into coin or wrought plate, to the value of seventeen millions of piastres.f Cohineal (grana, granilla, and polvos de grana) nearly four thousand zurrones, or four hun
* Cartas de Cortez, p. 340 and 382.
dred thousand kilogrammes, to the value of two millions four hundred thousand piastres. * Sugar, five millions and a half of kilogrammes, one million three hundred thousand piastres, t Flour, to the value of three hundred thousand piastres. # w - Mexican indigo, eighty thousand kilogrammes, value two hundred and eighty thousand piastres. S . * * Salted provisions, dry legumes, and other eat. ables, one hundred thousand piastres. || Tanned hides, eighty thousand piastres. T Sarsaparilla, ninety thousand piastres. ** Vanilla, sirty thousand piastres. ft. * * Jalap, one hundred and twenty thousand kilogrammes, sirty thousand piastres, ft Soap, fifty thousand piastres, §§ Campeachy wood, forty thousand piastres. || ||
* 504,000l. Sterling. Trans. + 273,000l. Sterling. Trans. of 63,000l. Sterling. Trans. . § 43,6801. Sterling. Trans. . . . . . . . . | 21,000l. Sterling. Trans. T 16,800l. Sterling. Trans. ** 18,900l. Sterling. Trans. ft 12,600l. Sterling. Trans. if Ditto. Trans. §§ 10,500l. Sterling. Trans. || || 8,400l. Sterling. Trans.