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lected during his life by his fellow citizens*, who loaded him with eulogies after his death Gama became by his own unassisted efforts an able and well informed astronomer. He published several me moirs on eclipses of the moon, on the satellites of Jupiter, on the alınanac and chronol gy of the ancient Mexicans, and on the climate of New Spain; all of which announce a great precision of ideas and accuracy of observation. If I have allowed myself to enter into these details on the literary merit of three Mexican savans, it is merely for the sake of proving from their example, that the ignorance which European pride has thught proper to attach to the Creoles is neither the effect of the climate nor of a want of moral energy; but that this ignorance, where it is still observable, is solely the effect of the insulation, and the defects in the social instistutions of the colonies.
If, in the present state of things, the cast of whites is the only one in which we find almost exclusively any thing like intellectual cultivation, it is also the only one which possesses great wealth. This wealth is unfortunately still more unequally
* The celebrated navigator Alexander Malaspina, during his stay at Mexico, observed along with Gama. He recommended him with much warmth to the court, as is proved by the official letters of Malaspina, preserved in the archives of the viceroy.
distributed in Mexico than in the capitania general of Caraccas, the Havanah, and especially Peru. At Caraccas, the heads of the richest families possess a revenue of 200,000 livres*. In the island of Cuba we find revenues of more than 6 or 700,000 francst. In these two industrious colonies agriculture has founded more considerable fortunes than has been accumulated by the working of the mines in Peru. At Lima an annual revenue of 80,000 francs is very uncommon i. I know in reality of no Peruvian family in the possession of a fixed and sure revenue of 130,000 francs s. But in New Spain there are individuals who possess no mines, whose revenue amounts to a million of francs ll. The family of the Count de la Valenciana, for example, possesses alone, on the ridge of the Cordillera, a property worth more than 25 millions of francss, without including the mine of Valenciana near Guanaxuato, which, come munibus annis, yields a nett revenue of a million and a half of livres **, This family, of which the present head, the young Count de Valenciana, is distinguished for a generous character and a noble desire of instruction, is only divided into three
* 83341. sterling. Trans. + 25,0021. or 29,1691. sterling. Trans. 1 33331. sterling. Trans. $ 54171. sterling. Trecke ll 41,6701. sterling, Trans. 9 1,041,7501 sterling. Trans. ** 62,5051. sterling. Trans,
branches; and they possess altogether, even in years when the mine is not very lucrative, more than 2,200,000 francs of revenue*. The Count de Regla, whose youngest son, the Marquis de San Christobal t, distinguished himself at Paris for his physical and physiological knowledge, constructed at the Havanah, at his own expence, in acajou and cedar (cedrella) wood, two vessels of the line of the largest size, which he made a present of ta' his sovereign. It was the seam of la Biscaina, near Pachuca, which laid the foundation of the fortune of the house of Regla, The family of Fagoaga, well known for its beneficence, intelligence, and zeal for the public good, exhibits the example of the greatest wealth which was ever derived from a mine. A single seam which the family of the Marquis of Fagoaga possesses in the district of Sombrerete left in five or six months, all charges deducted, a nett profit of 20 millions of francs .
From these data one would suppose capitals in the Mexican families infinitely greater than what are really observed. The deceased Count de la
* 91,6741. sterling. Trans.
+ M. Terreros (this is the name by which this modest savant is known in France) preferred for a long time the instruction which his abode at Paris enabled him to procure, to the great fortune which he could only enjoy living in Mexico. 833,4001. sterling. Trans.
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Valenciana, the first of the title, sometimes drew from his mine alone, in one year, a nett revenue of no less than six millions of livres *. This annual revenue, during the last twenty-five years of his life, was never below from two to three millions of livrest; and yet this extraordinary man, who came without any fortune to America, and who continued to live with great simplicity, left only behind him at his death, besides his mine, which is the richest in the world, ten millions in property and capital f. This fact, which may be relied on, will not surprise those who are acquainted with the interior management of the great Mexican houses. Money rapidly gained is as rapidly spent. The working of mines becomes a game in which they embark with unbounded passion. The rich proprietors of mines lavish im. mense sums on quacks, who engage them in new undertakings in the most remote provinces. In a country where the works are conducted on such an extravagant scale, that the pit of a mine frequently requires two millions of francs to pierce, the bad success of a rash project may absorb in a few years all that was gained in working the richest seams. We must add, that from the internal disorder which prevails in the greatest part of the
* 250,0201. sterling. Trans:
416,7001. sterling. Trans.
great houses of both Old and New Spain, the head of a family is not unfrequently straitened with a revenue of half a million*, though he display no other luxury than that of numerous yokes of mules.
The mines have undoubtedly been the principal sources of the great fortunes of Mexico. Many miners have laid out their wealth in purchasing land, and have addicted themselves with great zeal to agriculture. But there is also a considerable number of very powerful families who have never had the working of any very lucrative mines. Such are the rich descendants of Cortez or the Marquis del Valle. The Duke of Monteleon, a Neapolitan lord, who is now the head of the house of Cortez, possesses superb estates in the province of Oaxaca, near Toluca, and at Cuernavaca. The nett produce of his rents is actually no more than 550,000 francst, the king having deprived the duke of the collection of the alcavalas and the duties on tobacco. The ordinary expenses of ma. nagement amount to more than 125,000 francs f. However, several governors of the marquesado have become singularly wealthy. If the descend. ants of the great conquistador would only live in Mexico, their revenue would immediately rise to more than a million and a half G.
* 20,835). sterling. Trans.
+ 22,9181. sterling. Trans.