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Temirtitan. These etymological observations will not be found too minute in a work which treats exclusively of the kingdom of Mexico. The audacious man who overturned the Aztec monarchy considered this kingdom sufficiently extensive to advise* Charles V. to unite the title of emperor of New Spain to that of Roman emperor. .
We are tempted to compare together the extent and population of Mexico, and that of two empires with which this fine colony is in relations of union and rivalry. Spain is five times smaller than Mexico. Should no unforeseen misfortunes occur, we may reckon that in less than a century the population of New Spain will equal that of the mother country. The United States of North America since the cession of Louisiana, and since they recognize no other boundary than the RioBravo del Norte, contain 240,000 square leagues. Their population is not much greater than that of Mexico, as we shall afterwards see on examining carefully the population and the area of New Spain.
If the political force of two states depended solely on the space which they occupy on the globe, and on the number of their inhabitants; if the nature of the soil, the configuration of the coast; and if the climate, the energy of the nation, and above all the degree of perfection of its social institutions, were not the principal elements of this grand dynamical calculation, the kingdom of New Spain might, at present, be placed in opposition to the confederation of the American republics. Both labour under the inconvenience of an unequally distributed population; but that of the United States, though in a soil and climate less favoured by nature, augments with an infinitely greater rapidity. Neither does it comprehend, like the Mexican population, nearly two millions and a half of aborigines. These Indians, degraded by the despotism of the ancient Astec sovereigns, and by the vexations of the first conquerors, though protected by the Spanish laws, wise and hurnane in general, enjoy very little, however, of this protection, from the great distance of the supreme authority. The kingdom of New Spain has one decided advantage over the United States.
* Cortez says, in bis first letter, dated from Villa Segura de la Frontera, the 30th October, 1520: “Las cosas de esta terra son tantas y tales que Vuestra Alteza se puede entitular de nuevo Emperador de ella, y con titulo y non menos merito, que el de Alemaña, que por la gracia de Dios, Vuestra Sacra Magestad possee." (Lorenzana, p. 38.)
The number of slaves there, either Africans or of mixed race, is almost nothing; an advantage which the European colonists have only begun rightly to appretiate since the tragical events of the revolution of St. Domingo. So true it is, that the fear of physical evils acts more powerfully than moral considerations on the true interests of society, or the principles of philanthropy and of justice, so
often the theme of the parliament, the constituent assembly, and the works of the philosophers.
The number of African slaves in the United States amounts to more than a million, and constitute a sixth part of the whole population. The southern states, whose influence is increased since the acquisition of Louisiana, very inconsiderately increase the annual importation of these negroes. It is not yet in the power of Congress, nor the chief of the confederation (a magistrate* whose name is dear to the true friends of humanity), to oppose this augmentation, and to spare by that means much distress to the generations to come.
* The present president, Mr. Thomas Jefferson, author of ' the excellent Essay on Virginia.
Configuration of the coast.-Points where the two seas are least
distant from one another.-General considerations on the possibility of uniting the South Sea und Atlantic Ocean.-Rivers of Peace and Tacoutche-Tesse. Sources of the Rio Bravo and Rio Colorado.—Isthmus of Tehuantepec.- Lake of Nicaragua.—Isthmus of Panama.-Bay of Cupica.-Canal of Choco.—Rio Guallagu.-Gulf of St. George.
Tue kingdom of New Spain, the most northern part of all Spanish America, extends from the 16th to the 38th degree of latitude. The length of this vast region in the direction of S.S.E. to N.N. W. is nearly 270 myriametres (or 610 common leagues); its greatest breadth is under the parallel of the 30th degree. From the Red River of the province of Texas (Rio-Colorado) to the isle of Tiburon, on the coast of the intendancy of Sonora, the breadth from east to west is 160 myriametres (or 364 leagues).
The part of Mexico in which the two oceans, the Atlantic and the South-Sea, approach the nearest to one another, is unfortunately not that part which contains the two ports of Acapulco and Vera Cruz, and the capital of Mexico. There are, according to my astronomical observations, from Acapulco to Mexico an oblique distance of 2° 40' 19", (or 155885 toises*); from Mexico to Vera Cruz 2° 57' 9" (or 158572 toisest); and from the port of Acapulco to the port of Vera Cruz, in a direct line, 4° 10'7". It is in these distances that the old maps are most faulty. From the observations published by M. de Cassini, in the account of the voyage of Chappe, the distance from Mexico to Vera Cruz appears 5° 10' of longitude, instead of 2° 57', the real distance between these two great cities. In adopting for Vera Cruz the longitude given by Chappe, and for Acapulco that of the map of the Depót drawn up in 1784, the breadth of the Mexican isthmus betwixt the two ports would be 175 leagues, 75 leagues beyond the truth;
The isthmus of Tehuantepec, to the S. E. of the port of Vera Cruz, is the point of New Spain in which the continent is narrowest. From the Atlantic Ocean to the South-Sea the distance is 45 leagues. The approximation of the sources of the rivers Huasacualco and Chimalapа seems to favour the project of a canal for interior navigation; a project with which the Count of Revillagigedo, one of the most zealous viceroy's for the public good, has been for a long time occupied. When we come to speak of the intendancy of Oaxaca, we shall return to this object, so important to all civilized Europe. We must confine our
* 997664 feet. Trans.
+ 1014960 feet. Trans.