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Kingdom of Mexico--situation-territorial division
favourable position of mining districts-rivers-lakesroads.
Among the colonies subject to the king of Spain, Mexico occupies the first rank, both on account of its territorial wealth, and on account of its favourable position 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 agricul. ture 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 is the industry of the inhabitants turned towards the productions of the vegetable kingdom. The fertility of the soil is greater in the provinces of Cumana, of New Barcelona,' and Venezuela, on the banks of the lower Orinoco, and in the northern parts of New Grenada, than in the king
dom of Mexico, of which several regions are barren, destitute of water, and incapable of vegetation. But when we consider the greatness of the population of Mexico, the number and proximity of its considerable cities, the enormous value of its metallic produce, and its influence on the commerce of Europe and Asia ;-when we examine 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.
The denomination 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 38th and 10th degrees of latitude.
The advantages afforded by this vast empire, from the wealth of its natural productions, the fertility of its soil, the facility which a man possesses there of choosing, with thermometer in hand, in a space of a few square leagues, the temperature or climate which he believes the most favourable to his age, his physical constitution, or to the species of cultivation to which he is most attached, appear to be unrivalled. Nothing can exceed the beauty of those delicious countries, situated half way up the ascent, in the region of oaks and pines, between 3,090 and 5,000 feet above the level of the sea; where a perpetual spring reigns, where the most delicious fruits of the Indies are cultivated beside those of Europe, and where these enjoyments are troubled neither by a multitude of insects, nor by the fear of the yellow fever (vomito), nor by the frequency of earthquakes. There does not exist a region in which man, with less labour, can supply inore abundantly the wants of a numerous family. .
In the short statistical account we shall give of New Spain, we shall confine ourselves to those subjects which are interesting considered with relation to the important science of political economy. The face of a country, the grouping of its mountains, the extent of its plains, the elevation which determines their temperature; every thing, in a word, which regards the construction of the earth, has the most intimate connexion with the progress of the population and the welfare of its inhabitants. It is this construction which influences the state of agriculture, varied according to the variations of climate, the facility of internal commerce, more or less favoured by the nature of the ground: lastly, the military defence, on which depends the external safety of the colony. These are the only considerations which can render geological descriptions interesting to the statesman, when he calculates the territorial force and riches of nations.
The Kingdom of New Spain, to which the capital city and seat of government has given the name of the Kingdom of Mexico, the most northern part of all Spanish America, extends from the 16th to the
38th degree of north latitude. The length of this vast region, in the direction of S.S.E. to N.N.W., is about 1,800 miles; its greatest breadth lies under the 30th degree. From the Red River in the province of Texas, to the island of Tiburon on the coasts of the intendancy of Sonora, it measures from east to west 1,100 miles. This space of seventy-nine degrees equals not only the length of all Africa, but 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. . ,
In its present state New Spain is divided into twelve intendancies, to which we must add three other districts, very remote from the capital, which have preserved the simple denomination of provinces. These fifteen divisions are,
I. UNDER THE TEMPERATE ZONE, 738,000
square miles, with 677,000 souls, or rather
less than one inhabitant to the square mile. A. REGION OF THE NORTH, an interior region. 1. Provincia de Nuevo Mexico, along the
Rio del Norte to the north of the parallel
of 31°. 2. Intendencia de Nueva Biscaya to the
south-west of the Rio del Norte, on the central table-land which declines rapidly from Durango towards Chihuahua.