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rica. It is even observable that in Mexico this species of cultivation has made a much more considerable progress than that of corn. In these climates, the same extent of ground, for example an acre of 5368 square metres*, yields to the cultivator from 80 to 100 francs in wheat, 250 francs in cotton, and 450 francs in sugart. The difference in the value of the produce being then so enormous, we ought by no means to wonder that the Mexican colonist gives to colonial commodities a preference over barley and wheat. But this predilection will never disturb the equilibrium which has hitherto existed between the different branches of agriculture, because, fortunately a great part of New Spain, situated under a climate more cold than temperate, is unfit for the production of sugar, coffee, cocoa, indigo and cotton.
The cultivation of the sugar cane has made such rapid progress within these last years, that the exportation of sugar at the port of Vera Cruz actually amounts to more than
* 57780 square feet. Trans.
+ This estimate is looked upon as the most exact by the colonists of Louisiana near New Orleans. They calculate on 20 bushels of wheat, 250 pounds of cotton, and 1000 pounds of sugar per acre. This is the mean produce; but it may be easily conceived that these results must be modified by a number of local circumstances.
half a million of arrobas, or 6,250,000 kilogrammes*, which at three piastres the arroba, is equal to seven millions and a half of francst. We have already observed that the ancient Mexicans were only acquainted with the sirop of honey, that of the metl (agave) and the sugar of maize cane. The sugar cane, cultiyated from the remotest antiquity in the East Indies, in Chinat, and in the South Sea Islands, was imported by the Spaniards, from the Canary Islands into the Island of St. Domingo, from whence it was successively introduced into the Island of Cuba and New Spain. Peter D'Atienza planted the first sugar canes about the year 15209 in the environs of the town of Conception de la Vega. Gonzalo de Velosa constructed the first cylinders; and in 1535 more than 30 sugar works were already established in the Island of St. Domingo, of which many were served by a hundred Negro slaves,
* 13,793,750 lb. avoird. Trans. + & 312,525 sterling. Trans.
# I am even tempted to believe that the process used by us in the making of sugar, has been brought from Oriental Asia. I recognized at Lima in Chinese paintings representing the arts and trades, cylinders placed horizontally and put in motion by a mill, cauldrons and purifying appara. tus such as are now to be seen in the West Indies.
Not in 1506 as is generally said.-Oviedo, who came to America, in 1513, şays expressly, that he saw the first sugar works established at St. Domingo. (Historia natural de Indias, Lib. IV. c. 8.)
and cost from 10 to 12 thousand ducats in expense of erection. It is remarkable enough that among the first sugar mills (trapiches) constructed by the Spaniards in the beginning of the 16th century, some of them were already put in motion not by horses but by hydraulical wheels, although these same water mills (trapiches) or molinos de agua, have been introduced in our days into the Island of Cuba, as a foreign invention, by refugees from Cape François.
In 1553 the abundance of sugar was already so great in Mexico, that it was exported from · Vera Cruz and Acapulco into Spain and Peru*.
This last exportation has long ceased, as Peru produces now more sugar than is necessary
* “Besides gold and silver, Mexico furnishes also much sugar and cochineal, two very precious commodities, feathers and cotton.-Few Spanish vessels return without a cargo, which is not the case in Peru, that has however falsely the reputation of being richer than Mexico. This last country has also preserved a much greater number of its inhabitants. It is a very fine and very populous. country, to which nothing is wanting but more frequent rains... New Spain exports to Peru, horses, beef, and sugar.” -This remarkable passage of Lopez de Gomara, who describes so well the state of the Spanish Colonies towards the middle of the 16th century, is only to be found in the edition de la conquista de Mexico, published at Medina del Campo, 1553, fol. 139. It is wanting in the French translation printed at Paris in 1587, p. 191.
for its own consumption. As the population of New Spain is concentrated in the interior of the country, we find fewer sugar works along the coast, where the great heats and abundant rains are favourable to the cultiyation of the sugar, than on the ascent of the Cordilleras, and in the more elevated parts of the central table land. The principal plantations are in the intendancy of Vera Cruz, near the towns of Orizaba and Cordova; in the intendancy of Puebla, near Guautla de las Amilpas, at the foot of the Volcan de Popocatepetl; in the intendancy of Mexico, to the westward of the Nevado de Toluca, and to the south of Cuernavacca, in the plains of San Gabriel; in the intendancy of Guanaxuato, near Celaya, Salvatierra and Penjamo, and in the valley of Santiago; in the intendancies of Valladolid and Guadalaxara, to the southwest of Pazcuaro and Tecolotlan. Although the mean temperature most suitable to the sugar cane is 24° or 25o of the centigrade Thermometer*, this plant may however be successfully cultivated in places where the mean annual heat does not exceed 19° or 20°4. Now the decrease of the caloric being nearly a degree of the Centigrade Thermometer for every 200 metrest of elevation, we find in general,
* From 750 to 770 of Fahrenheit. Trans.
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°. 77 ; that of Quito, is 15o. 8 instead of 11°. 57. 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 metress. 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 metresl, in a narrow valley surrounded by high Cordil