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Geographical introduction.- Vol. i. p. 1.
BOOK I. General considerations on the extent and physical aspect of the
kingdom of New Spain. Influence of the inequalities of the soil on the climate, agriculture, commerce, and military defence of the country.
CHAPTER I. Extent of the Spanish possessions in America. Comparison
of these possessions with the English colonies, and with the Asiatic part of the Russian empire. Denominations of New Spain, and of Anahuac. Boundary of the empire of the Aztec kings. Vol. i. p. 5.
CHAPTER II. 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 and 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-Guallaga.-Gulf of St. George. Vol. i. p. 16.
CHAPTER III. Physical aspect of the kingdom of New Spain compared
with that of Europe and South America.- Inequalities of the soil.-Influence of these inequalities on the climate, cultivation, and military defence of the country.—State of the coasts.- Vol. i. p. 46.
BOOK II. General population of New Spain. Division of the inhabitants
Vegetable productions of the Mexican territory.- Progress of
the cultivation of the soil.-Influence of the mines on
In publishing maps, of New Spain, differing in many respects from any which have hitherto been published, it is incumbent on me to give some account to astronomers and naturalists of the materials which I have employed. When an author makes nothing more than a compilation; when he draws from sources not generally known, and merely collects what is scattered in printed works or engraved maps, a simple nomenclature of the articles employed may serve for analysis. It is otherwise when a map is founded on the astronomical observations or measurements of an author himself; when he has had recourse to plans and manuscript notes preserved in archives or buried in convents. In the latter case, which is mine, the geographer has a right to demand a satisfactory exposition of the means employed for verifying the position of the most important points. In offering this exposition to the public, I shall carefully distinguish the results of simple combinations, from what has been immediately deduced
from astronomical observations, and geodaæsical or barometrical measurements made on the spot. I shall endeavour to give a succinct analysis of the materials which I had at command, reserving, however, the purely astronomical details for the collection of observations and measurements which I publish conjointly with M. Oltmanns. In following this course, the different parts of my work, the statistical account of Mexico, the historical relation of my journey in the tropics, and the astronomical volume, will all serve, I flatter myself, to prove that a desire of accuracy and the love of truth have been my guides during the course of my expedition. May my feeble labours contribute something to dispel the darkness which for so many ages has covered the geography of one of the finest regions of the earth!
1. REDUCED MAP OF TUE KINGDOM OF NEW
I Drew up this map at the Royal School of Mining (Real Seminario de Mineria) in the year 1803, a short time after my departure from the city of Mexico. M. d'Elhuyar, director of this school, had long been collecting facts regarding the position of the mines of New Spain, and the thirty-seven districts into which they are divided, under the denomination of Deputaciones de Alinas. He was
desirous of having a detailed map, on which the most interesting mines were marked, constructed for the use of the supreme college, called Tribunal de Mineria. A labour of this nature was in fact very necessary, both for the administration of the country, and for those who wish to know its national industry. In vain do we seek in the greater number of maps published in Europe for the name. of the city of Guanaxuato, which contains 70,000 inhabitants; or for that of the celebrated mines of Bolaños, Sombrerete, Batopilas, and Zimapan. None of the maps which have hitherto appeared show the position of the Real de Catorce in the intendancy of San Luis Potosi, a mine from which there is annually drawn nearly 20 millions of francs* of silver; and which, from its proximity to the Rio del Norte, appears already to have tempted the cupidity of several colonists recently established in Louisiana. Having begun to cal. culate the greater number of my astronomical observations, that I might have some fixed points on which others could be established, and having at my.disposal a considerable number of materials and manuscript maps, I conceived the idea of extending the plan which I had at first formed. Instead of merely inserting in my map the names of three hundred places known for considerable mining undertakings, I proposed to unite together all the
*838,400l. sterling. Trans.