Page images

ed for a long time in the inundated city. The waters, however, only retired in 1634, when from very strong and very frequent earthquakes the ground of the valley opened, a phenomenon which (as the incredulous say) was of no small assistance to the adorable virgin in her miracle. The Marquis de Ceralvo, viceroy, set the engineer Martinez at liberty. He constructed the calzada (dike) of San Christobal, such nearly as we now see it. Sluices (compertuas) admit the communication of the lake of San Christobal With the Jake of Tezcuco, of which the level is generally from 50 to 32 decimetres lower *. Martinez had already begun, in 1609, to convert a small part of the subterraneous gallery of Nochistongo into an open trench. After the inundation in 1634, he was ordered to abandon this work as too tedious and expensive, and to finish the desague by enlarging his old gallery. The produce of a particular impost on the consumption of commodities (derecho de sisas") was destined by the Marquis de Salinas for the expenses of the hydraulical operations of Martinez. The Marquis de Cadereyta increased the revenues of the desague by a new imposition of 25 piastres on the importation of every pipe of Spanish wine. These duties still subsist, though but a small part of them is applied to the de

* From lis to 125 inches. Trans.

sague. In the beginning of the 18th century the court destined the half of the excise on wines to keep up the great fortifications of the castle of San Juan d'Ulua. Since 1779 the chest of the hydraulical operations of the valley of Mexico does not. draw more than five francs of the duties levied on each barrel of wine from Europe imported at Vera Cruz.

The operations of the desague were carried on with very little energy from 1634 to 1637, when the Marquis de Villena (Duke d'Escalona,) vice, roy, gave the charge of it to Father Luis Flores, commissary general of the order of St. Francis. The activity of this monk is much extolled, under whose administration the system of desiccation was changed for the third time. It was definitively resolved to abandon the gallery (socabon), to take off the top of the vault, and to make an immense cut through the mountain (tajo abierto), of which the old subterraneous passage was merely to be the water-course.

The monks of St. Francis contrived to retain the direction of hydraulical operations. It was so much the easier for them to do this, as at that epoqua* the viceroyalty was almost consecutively in the hands of Palafox, a bishop of Puebla, Torres, a bishop of Yucatan, a count de Barios, who ended his brilliant career by becoming a barefooted Carmelite, and Enriquez de Ribera, a * From oth June, 1641, to 13th December, 1673.

monk of St. Augustin, archbishop of Mexico. "Wearied with the monastical ignorance and de* lay, a lawyer, the fiscal Martin de Solis, obtained from the court of Madrid, in 1675, the administration of the desague. He undertook to finish the cut through the chain of the mountains in two months; and his undertaking succeeded so well, that 80 years were hardly sufficient to repair the mischief which he did in a few days. The fiscal, by advice of the engineer Francisco Posuelo de Espinosa, caused more earth to be thrown at one time into the water-course than the shock of the water could carry along. The passage was stopt up. In 1760 remains of what had fallen in by the imprudence of Solis were still perceptible. The Count de Monclova, Viceroy, very justly thought that the tardiness iof the monks of St. Francis was still preferable to the rash activity of the jurisconsult. Father Fray Manuel Cabrera was reinstated in 1687 in his place, of superintendant (superintendente de la Real obm del desague de Huehuetoca). He took Jiis revenge of the fiscal, by publishing a book, which bears the strange title of" Truth cleared up and impostures put to flight, by which a powerful and envenomed pen endeavoured to prove, in an absurd report, that the work of the desague was completed in 1675*."

* Verdad aclarada y desvanecidas imposturas, con que h ardiente y envenemdo de una pluma poderosa en esta Nueva

The subterraneous passage had been opened and walled in a few years. It required two centuries to complete the open cut in a loose earth, and in sections of from 80 to 100 * metres in breadth, and from 40 to 50 f in perpendicular depth. The work was neglected in years of drought; but it was renewed with extraordinary energy for a few months after any great swelling or any overflow of the river of Guautitlan. The inundation with which the capital was threatened in 1747 induced the Count de Guemes to think of the desague. But a new delay took place till 1?52, when after a very rainy winter there were strong appearances of inundation. There were still at the northern extremity of the subterraneous opening of Martinez 2310 Mexican varas, or 1938 metres;};, which had never been converted into an open trench (Jujo abierlo). This gallery being too narrow, it frequently happened that the waters of the valley had not a free passage towards the Salto de Tula.

At length, in 1767, under the administration of a.Flemish viceroy, the Marquis de Croix, the body of merchants of Mexico, forming the tribunal of the Consulado of the capital, undertook to finish the desague, provided they were allowed to levy the duties of sisa and the duty on wine, as an indemnification for their advances. The work was estimated by the engineers at six millions of francs*,. The consulado executed it an expense of four millions of francs f; but in place of completing it in five years (as had been stipulated), and in place of giving a breadth of eight metres J to the water-course, the canal was only completed in 1789 of the old breadth of the gallery of Martinez. Since that period they have been incessantly endeavouring to improve the work by enlarging the cut, and especially by rendering the slope more gentle. However, the canal is yet far from being in such a state that fallings in are no more to be apprehended, which are so much the more dangerous as lateral erosions increase in the proportion of the obstacles which impede the course of the water.

Espana, en un dictamen mal instruido, quiso persuadir averse acabado y pcrfeccionao el ano de 1675, la Jabrica del Real Detague de Mexico.

* From 262 to 328 feet. Trans.

\ From 131 to 164 feet. Trans.

X 6356 feet. Trans.

On studying in the archives of Mexico the history of the hydraulical operations of Nochistongo, we perceive a continual irresolution on the part of the governors, and a fluctuation of ideas calculated to increase the danger instead of removing it. We find visits made by the

* 250,020?. sterling. Trans, f 166,680/. sterling. Trans. % 26|feet. Trans.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »