Page images




[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

numbers obtained by the enumeration of 1793. I am aware that modern geographers admit only from two to three millions of inhabitants for Mexico. In all times the population of Asia has been exaggerated, and that of the Spanish possessions in America lowered. We forget that with a fine climate and fertile soil, population makes rapid advances even in countries the worst administered; and we also forget that men scattered over an ima mense territory suffer less from the imperfections of the social state than when the population is very concentrated.

We are uncertain as to the limits which ought to be assigned to New Spain to the north and east. It is not enough that à country has been run over by a missionary monk, or that a coast has been seen by a vessel of war, to consider it as belonging to the Spanish colonies of America, Cardinal Lorenzana printed at Mexico, even in 1770, that New Spain, through the bishopric of Durango, bordered perhaps on Tartary and Greenland *! We are now too well instructed in geograp’ıy to yield ourselves up to such vague suppositions. A viceroy of Mexico caused the American colonies of the Russians on the peninsula

[merged small][ocr errors]

#" Y aun se ignora si la Nueva España por lo mas remoto de la diocesis de Durango confina con la Tartaria y Groelandia, per las Californias con la Tartaria, y por el Nuevo Merico con la Groelandia.Lorenzana, p. 38.

of Alaska, to be visited from San Blas. The attention of the Mexican government was for a long time turned to the north-west coast, especially since the establishment at Nootka, which the court of Madrid was compelled to abandon to avoid a war with England. The inhabitants of - the United States carry their civilization towards the Missoury. They gradually approach the coast of the Great Ocean, to which the fur trade invites them. The period approaches when, through the rapid progress of human cultivation, the boundaries of New Spain will join those of the Russian empire, and the great confederation of American republics. At present, however, the Mexican government extends no farther along the western coast than the mission of St. Francis, to the south of Cape Mendocin, and the village of Taos in New Mexico. The boundaries of the intendancy of San Luis Potosi on the east towards the state of Louisiana are not very well determined; the congress of Washington endeavour to confine them to the right bank of the Rio Bravo del Norte, while the Spaniards comprehend under the deno. mination of province of Texas, the savanas which extend to the Rio Mexicano or Mermentas, to the east of the Rio Sabina.

The following table exhibits the surface and population of the greatest political associations of Europe and Asia. It will furnish curious comparisons with the present state of Mexico.

[ocr errors]

Russian empire

1. European part . 2. Asiatic part . .

The single government of Irkutzk

The single government of Tobolsk
All Europe
The United States of North America, viz.

1. With Louisiana
2. Without Louisiana*
3. Without Louisiana and the Indian territory (in Georgia and

Western Waters)
Hindostan on this side (en-deça) the Ganges +

* The calculations regarding America proceed on an erroneous estimation of the square mile. The territory without Louisiana amounts only to 117,478, and not 156,240 square leagues. See this explained in note, p. 278, by the translator. Trans.

of According to Arrowsmith's beautiful map of India, 1804. (Journal Astronomique de MM. Zach et Lin. denau, 1807, p. 361.) The rest of the data from the classical work of M. Hassel, Statistical View of the States of Europe, No. I. (1805,) in German.

Great political associations in 1308.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

English territory, of which the East India company possesses the

Allies and tributaries of the English company
Turkish empire in Europe, Asia, and Africa
Austrian monarchy .
France, according to M. Peuchet
Spain, according to M. Laborde
New Spain,

1. With the provincias internas 2. Without the provincias internas



[ocr errors]


118,378 51,289

5,837,100 5,413,950 We see from this table, which may suggest very curious considerations as to the disproportion of European cultivation, that New Spain is alınost four times larger than the French empire, with a population which till this day is seven times smaller. The points of analogy in a comparison of the United States * with Mexico are very strik

* The extent of territory of the United States is very difficult to estimate in square leagues, especially since the acquisition of Louisiana, the limits of which may be said to be very uncertain towards the west and north-west. According to M. Hutchins, the old geographer of the congress, and the author of the beautiful map of the countries situated beyond the Obio, the United States contained in 1795 a surface of 640 millions of acres, or (discounting the lakes) 589 millions. Now 640 acres make a square mile; consequently (reducing in the proportion of 144 ; 25) the 589 millions of acres are equivalent to 159,000 square leagues, of 25 to the degree. I have followed in the estimation of the territory in the preceding table the manuscript notes with which I was furnished by a respectable statesman, M. Gallatin, the American treasurer at Washington. According to these notes, the United States, without Louisiana, contain 900,000 square miles, or 156,240 square leagues. This number is less by one-ninth than what is generally adopted by the American geographers; but this difference proceeds from the more exact calculations of the surface of the lakes, and the more eastern position of the Mississipy, determined by the observations of M. Ellicot. M. Gallatin believes that the error of his estimation does not exceed 50,000 square miles. The half of these 156,240 square leagues belongs to the Indians, and can only be considered in the light of a country possessed by allies. I am of opinion that if we only include the regions

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »