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under the tropics, on the rapid declivity of mountains, this mean temperature of 20° at 1000 metres of elevation* above the level of the ocean. On table land of a great extent, the heat is increased to such a degree by the reverberation of the earth, that the mean temperature of the City of Mexico is 17° instead of 13°. 7f; that of Quito, is 15°. 8 instead of 11°. &%. The result of these data, is, that on the central table land of Mexico, the maximum of heat at which the sugar cane vegetates vigorously without suffering from frost in winter, is not 1000 but from 1400 to 1500 metres§. In favourable exposures, especially in valleys sheltered by mountains from the north winds, the highest limit of sugar cultivation reaches as high as 2000 metres. In fact, if the height of the plains of San Gabriel which contain many fine sugar plantations, is only 980 metres, on the other hand the environs of Celaya, Salvatierra, Irapuato and Santiago, are beyond 1800 metres of absolute elevation. I have been assured that the sugar cane plantations of Rio Verde, situated to the north of Guanaxuato under 22° 30' of latitude, are at an elevation of 2200 metres ||, in a narrow valley surrounded by high Cordil
* 3280 feet. Trans.
leras, and so warm that its inhabitants frequently suffer from intermittent fevers. I discovered on examining the testament of Cortez * that in the time of this great man there were sugar works near Cuyoacan in the valley of Mexico. This curious fact proves what is indicated by several other phenomena, that this valley is colder in our days than it was at the commencement of the conquest, because a great number of trees then diminished the effect of the north winds which now blow with impetuosity. Those accustomed to see sugar cane plantations in the West India Islands will learn with the same astonishment, that in the kingdom of New Granada the greatest quantity of sugar is not yielded in the plains on the banks of the river de la Madalena, but on the ascent of the Cordilleras, in the valley of Guaduas, on the road from Honda to Santa Fe, in a district which according to my barometrical measurement, is from 1200 to 1700 metresf above the level of the sea.
* "I order an examination to be made whether in my estados lands have been taken from the natives to be planted with vines; I wish also an examination to be made as to the ground given by me in these last years to my domestic Bernardino del Castillo for the establishment of a sugar plantation near Cuyoacan." (Manuscript testament of Hernan Cortez, executedat Seville, the 18th August, 1548, art. 48.)
f From 3936 to 5576 feet. Tram.
Fortunately the introduction of Negroes has not augmented in Mexico in the same proportion as the sugar produce. Although in the intendancy of Puebla near Guautla de las Amilpas, there are plantations (haciendas de cana) which yield annually more than from twenty to thirty thousand arrobas* (from 500,000 to 750,000 kilogrammesf) almost all the Mexican sugar is manufactured by Indians and consequently by free hands. It is easy to foresee that the small West India Islands, notwithstanding their favourable position for trade, will not be long able to sustain a competition with the continental colonies, if the latter continue to give themselves up with the same ardour to the cultivation of sugar, coffee and cotton. In the physical as well as in the moral world, every thing terminates in a return to the order prescribed by nature; and if small islands, of which the population was exterminated, have hitherto carried on a more active trade with their productions than the neighbouring continent, it is only because the inhabitants of Cumana, Cara
* This produce is very considerable, and it is only to be found in a single plantation in the Island of Cuba of the name of Rio Blanco, belonging to the Marquis del Arcos, between Xaruco and Matanzas, which annually produces 40,000 arrobas of sugar. There are not eight which yield for ten years in succession 35,000.
f From 1,103,500 to 1,655,250 lib. avoird. Trans.
cas, New Granada and Mexico began very late to profit by the immense advantages derived by them from nature. But roused from a lethargy of many ages, freed from the shackles which a false policy imposed on the progress of agriculture, the Spanish colonies of the continent will gradually take possession of the different branches of the West India trade. This change, which has been prepared by the events of St. Domingo, will have the most fortunate issue in the diminution of the slave trade; and suffering humanity will owe to the natural progress of things what we had a right to expect from the wisdom of the European governments. Thus the colonists of the Havannah, well informed as to their true interests, have their eyes fixed on the progress of sugar cultivation in Mexico, and the coffee of the Caracas. They have long dreaded the rivalship of the continent, especially since the want of combustibles, and the excessive dearth of provisions, slaves, metallick utensils, and the necessary cattle, have considerably diminished the net revenue of the plantations.
New Spain besides the advantage of its population, has still another very important one in the enormous mass of capitals in the possession of the proprietors of mines, or in the hands of merchants who have retired from commerce. In order fully to feel the importance of this advantage, we must recollect that in the island of Cuba the establishment of a great sugar plantation, worked by 300 negroes, and yielding annually 500,000 kilogrammes* of sugar, requires an advance of two millions of livres Tournoisf, and that it brings in from 300,000 to 350,000J livres of revenue. The Mexican colonist may choose along the coast, and in the valleys of greater or less depth, the most suitable climate for the sugar cane; and he has less to fear from frost than the colonist of Louisiana. But the extraordinary configuration of the surface of New Spain throws great obstacles in the way of transporting sugar to Vera Cruz. The plantations now in existence are for the most part very remote from the coast opposite to Europe. The country having yet neither canals nor roads fit for carriage, the mule carriage of the sugar to Vera Cruz increases its price a piastre per arroba, or eight sous per kilogramme§. These obstacles will be much diminished by the roads now making from Mexico to Vera Cruz by Orizaba and by Xalapa, along the eastern slope of the Cordilleras. It is also probable that the progress of colonial agriculture will contribute to people the shores