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opening the same route to the commerce of Vera Cruz. Goods to the value of more than 100 millions of livres * are annually transported on mules from the Atlantic coast over the interior table-land, while the flour, hides, and metals descend from the central table-land to Vera Cruz. The capital is the emporium of this immense commerce. The road, which, if no canal is attempted, is to be carried from the coast to Perote, will cost several millions of piastres. Hitherto the air of the port of Tampico has appeared not so prejudicial to the health of Europeans and the inhabitants of the cold regions of Mexico as the climate of Vera Cruz. Although the bar of Tampico prevents the entry of vessels into the port drawing more than from 45 to 60 decimetres watert, it would still be preferable to the dangerous anchorage among the shallows of Vera Cruz. From these circumstances a navigation from the capital to Tampico would be desirable, whatever expense might be
* 4,167,0001, sterling. Trans.
+ From 14.763, say 141 feet, to 19.615=19 feet 8 inches. M. Humboldt observes, vol. I. p. 82. “ that the coast of New Spain from the 18° to the 26° of latitude abounds with bars; and vessels which draw more than 32 centimetres (i. e. 121 inches) of water cannot pass over any of these bars without danger of grounding." How does the bar of Tampico then, which is within these latitudes, admit of vessels drawing 14 and 19 feet water? Trans.
requisite for the execution of so bold an under
. But it is not the expense which is to be feared in a country where a private individual, the Count de la Valenciana, dug in a single mine * three pits at an expense of eight millions and a half of francs f. Nor can we deny the possibility of carrying a canal into execution from the valley of Tenochtitlan to Tampico. In the present state of hydraulical architecture boats may be made to pass over elevated chains of mountains, wherever nature offers points of separaration which communicate with two principal recipients. Many of these points have been indicated by General Andreossy in the Vosges and other parts of France I. M. de Piony made a calculation of the time that a boat would take to pass the Alps, if by means of the lakes situated near the hospital of Mount Cenis a communication were established by water between Lans-le-bourg and the valley of Suze. This illustrious engineer proved by his calculation how much, in that particular case, land carriage was to be preferred to the tediousness of locks. The inclined planes invented by Reynolds, and carried to perfection by Fulton, and the locks of MM. Huldleston and Betancourt, two concep
* Near Guanaxuato. + 354,1951. sterling.
Andreossy, sur le Canal du Midi.
tions equally applicable to the system of small canals, have greatly multiplied the means of navigation in mountainous countries. But however great the economy of water and time at which we can arrive, there is a certain maximum of height in the predominant point beyond which water is no longer preferable to land carriage. The water of the lake of Tezcuco, east from the capital of Mexico, is more than 2276 metres * elevated above the level of the sea, near the port of Tampico! Two hundred locks would be requisite to carry boats to so enormous a height. If on the Mexican canal the levels were to be distributed, as in the Canal du Midi, the highest point of which (at Naurouse) has only a perpendicular elevation of 189 metres t, the number of locks would amount to 330 or 340. I know nothing of the bed of the Rio de Moctezuma beyond the valley of Tula (the ancient Tollan); and I am ignorant of its partial fall from the vicinity of Zimapan and the Doctor. I recollect, however, that in the great rivers of South America canoes ascend without locks for distances of 180 leagues, against the current, either by towing or rowing to elevations of 300 metres I; but notwithstanding this analogy, and that of the great works executed in Europe, I can hard
+ 620 feet. Trans.
* 7465 feet. Trans.
ly persuade myself that a navigable canal from the plain of Anahuac to the Atlantic coast is a hydraulical work, the execution of which is any. wise advisable. .
The following are the remarkable towns (ciu
dades y villas) of the intendancy of Mexico.
Mexico, capital of the kingdom of New Spain, height 2,277 metres*
Tezcuco, which formerly possessed very considerable cotton manufactories. They have suffered much, however, in a competition with those of Queretaro
Cuyoacan, containing a convent of nuns, founded by Hernan Cortez, in which, according to his testament, the great captain wished to be interred, « in whatever part of the world he should end his days." We have already stated that this clause of the testament was never fulfilled.
Tacubaya, west from this capital, containing the archbishop's palace and a beautiful plantation of European olive-trees.
Tacuba,the ancient Tlacopan, capital of a small kingdom of the Tepanecs.
Cuernavacca, the ancient Quauhnahuac, on the south declivity of the Cordillera of Guchilaque, in a temperate and delicious climate, finely adapted for the cultivation of the fruit-trees of Europe. Height * 1655 metres t.
Chilpansingo (Chilpantzinco), surrounded with fertile fields of wheat. Elevation 1080 metres I.
Tasco (Tlachco), containing a beautiful parish church, constructed and endowed towards the middle of the 18th century by Joseph de Laborde, a Frenchman, who gained immense wealth in a short time by the Mexican mines. The building of this church alone cost this individual more than
* 5429 feet. Trans.
+ M. Alzate affirms, in the Literary Gazette, published at Mexico (1760, p. 220), that the absolute height of places has very little influence in New Spain on the temperature. He cites as an example the city of Cuernavacca, which, according to him, is at the same height above the level of the sea with the capital of Mexico, and which only owes its delicious climate to its position south of a high chain of mountains. But M, Alzate has fallen into an error of more than 600 metres in the elevation of Cuernavacca. Cortez, who changes all the names of the Aztec language, calls this town Coadnabuced, a word in which we can with difficulty recognize Quauhnahuac. (Carta de Relacion al Emperador Don Carlos, paragraph 19.)
# 3542 feet. Trans.