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threads of the Pite; but it weighs less by nearly a ninth than that of Misantla. I know not the quantity of vanilla produced in the province of Honduras and annually exported from the small port of Truxillo, but it appears to be very inconsiderable.
The forests of Quilate yield in very abundant years 800 millares of vanilla; a bad harvest in very rainy years amounts only to 200. The mean produce is estimated thus
Millares. Misantla and Colipa ...... 700
The value of these 910 millares is at Vera Cruz from 30 to 40,000 piastres. We must add the produce of the harvests of Santiago and San Andres Tuxtla, for which I am in want of sufficiently accurate data. It frequently happens that the harvest of one year does not pass all at once into Europe, but that a part of it is reserved to be added to that of the following year. In 1802, 1793 millares of vanilla left the port of Vera Cruz. It is astonishing that the total consumption of Europe is not greater.
The same eastern slope of the Cordillera on which the vanilla is produced, produces also the sa>sa parilia (zarza) of which there was exported from Vera Cruz in 1803 nearly 250,000* kilogrammes! and the Jalap (Purga de Xalapa) which is the root, not of the mirabilis jalapa, of the M. longiflora, or of the M. dichotoma, but of the convolvolus jalapa. This convolvolus vegetates at an absolute height of from 13 to 14 hundred metresJ on the whole chain of mountains extending from the Volcan d'Orizaba to the Cofre de Perote. We did not meet with it in our herborfzations around the town of Xalapa itself; but the Indians who inhabit the neighbouring villages brought us some excellent roots of it collected near Banderilla to the east of San Miguel el Soldado. This valuable remedy is procured in the Subdelegacion de Xalapa, around the villages of Santiago, Tlachi, Tihuacan de los Reyes, Tlacolula, Xicochimalco, Tatatila, Yxhuacan, and Ayahualulco; in the jurisdiction de San Juan de los Llanos, near San Pedro Chilchotla and Quimixtlan; in the partidos of the towns of Cordoba, Orizaba and San Andres Tuxtla. The true Purga de Xalapa delights only in a temperate climate or rather an almost
* 551,750lb. avoird. Trans.
f The sarsaparilla employed in commerce proceeds from several species of smilax, very different from the S. Sarsaparilla. See the description of the ten new species, brought by us in the species of M. WUMewns. T. iv. P. i. p. 773.
% From 4264 to 4592 feet. Tram.
cold climate, in shaded valleys and on the slope of mountains. I was so much the more surprized, therefore on learning after my return to Europe that an intelligent traveller who has displayed the greatest zeal for the good of his country, Thiery de Menonville* had asserted that he found the jalap in great abundance in the arid and sandy tracts in the neighbourhood of the port of Vera Cruz, and consequently under a climate excessively warm, and at the level of the ocean.
Raynal assertst that Europe consumes annually 7500 quintals of jalap. This estimate appears too much by one half; for from the most accurate information which I was able to procure at Vera Cruz, there was only exported from that port in 1802, 2921 and in 1803, 2281 quintals of jalap. The price at Xalapa is from 120 to 150 francs the quintal.
We did not see during our stay in New Spain, the plant which it is pretended, yields the root of Mechoacan, (the Tacuache of the Tarasck Indians, and the Tlalantlacuitlapilli of the Aztecs.) We never even during the course
* Thiery, p. 59. This jalap of Vera Cruz appears to be the same with that found by Mr. Michaux, in Florida. See the Memoir of Mr. Desfontaines, on the Convolvulus Jalapa, in the Annates du Museum d'Histoire Naturellt. f.ii. p. 120.
f Hist.Philos. T.ii.p. 68.
of our travels in the antient kingdom of Michoacan, which is part of the intendancy of Valladolid, heard any mention made of it. The abbe Clavigero* relates that a physician of the late king of Tzintzontzan, communicated the knowledge of this remedy to the religious missionaries of the expedition of Cortez. Does there really exist a root, which under the name of Mechoacan, is exported from Vera Cruz, or does this remedy which is the same as the jeticucu of Marcgravef, come from the coast of Brazil? It appears even that antiently the true Jalap was called Mechoacan, and that by one of those mistakes so frequent in the history of medecines, the denomination has been afterwards transferred to the root of another plant.
The cultivation of Mexican Tobacco, might become a branch of agriculture of the very highest importance, if the trade in it were free; but since the introduction of the monopoly, or since the establishment of the royal farm, (el estanco real de Tabaco) by the Visitador Don Joseph de Galvez in 1764, not only a special permission is necessary to plant tobacco, and the cultivator obliged to sell it to the farm, at a price arbitrarily fixed according to the worth
* Storia anticadi Messico, T. ii. p. 212. t Linn. Mat. Medica, 1749, p. 28. Murray Apparatus medkaminum, T.i. p. 62.
of the produce; but the cultivation is even limited solely to the environs of the towns of Orizaba and Cordoba, and the partidos of Huatusco and Songolica, situated in the intendancy of Vera Cruz. Officers with the title of guardas de tabaco, travel the country for the purpose of pulling up whatever tobacco they find planted beyond those districts which we have named, and fining those farmers who think proper to cultivate what is necessary for their own consumption. It was believed the contraband trade would be diminished, by limiting the cultivation to an extent of four or five square leagues. Before the establishment of the farm, the intendancy of Guadalaxara, and especially the partidos of Autlan, Ezatlan and Ahuzcatlan, Tepic, Santixpac and Acaponeta, were celebrated for the abundance and excellent quality of the tobacco which they produced. These formerly happy and flourishing countries, have been decreasing in population since the plantations were transferred to the eastern slope of the Cordillera.
The Spaniards first obtained their knowledge of tobacco in the West India Islands. The word, adopted by all the nations of Europe, belongs to the language of Hayti or St. Domingo; for the Mexicans called the plant yetl, and the Peruvians sayri*. The Indians * Hernandez, Lib. v. c. 51. p. 173. Clavigero, T. ii.