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found necessary to engage the clergy in the cause, whose power, if it equal their revenues, must be of great moment in the state. The ecclesiastical establishment consists of the archbishop of Mexico, and eight bishops; viz. those of Puebla, Guadalaxara, of Valladolid, Durango, Monterey, Oaxaca, Sonora, and Yucatan or Merida.
Their revenue is raised by tithes, and is given by M. de Humboldt as follows.* Archbishop of Mexico,
$130,000 Bishop Puebla,
6,000 The hierarchy of Mexico is accordingly one of the richest in the world, and will, we apprehend, in the progress of things be one of the first of the old institutions to undergo a reform. The bishop of Puebla is at present at the head of the provisional government.
The riches of the Mexican soil, exclusive of the precious metals, are well known to be unsurpassed by those of any other region. Among the agricultural products are those, which might doubtless become the source of greater wealth, than all the mines of silver and gold. Mexico produces wheat, maize, cotton, indigo, pimento, sugar, tobacco, the agave, cocoa, and the cochineal plant. It has the banana, the principal article of food for the poor peasantry, and the manioc, which yields the cassava bread, and possesses the valuable properly
* This table is copied into the corner of Mr Robinson's map, as a part of that information, which, having had from respectable sources, and being confirmed by his own observations, he thinks entitled to much confidence.' Among others, to which Mr R. applies this remark, are the following very instructive statements « The Europeans in New Spain are to the natives as
is to 85. The proportion of births to the population is as to 5. The proportion of deaths to the population is as to 34.' The following valuable table is also found in the corner of Mr Robinson's map, published in 1819. • Population of the Missouri territory, in 1817,
Do in the state of Louisiana, do
in the Alabama territory, do
of resisting the attacks of insects. It produces the potato, tomatas, rice, and the ordinary esculents of Europe ; and on the table land the European fruit trees, such as plumbs, apricots, figs, cherries, peaches, melons, pears, and apples, are successfully cultivated. The olive and the vine are checked by nothing, but the illiberal policy of the mother country, which thinks it necessary to discourage their growth in the colonies, for the sake of protecting the wine and oil of Spain. Besides these, the tropical productions, as guavas, ananas, sapotes, mameis, oranges, and lemons; vanilla, sasaparilla, and jalap, (which takes the name from the town of Xalapa, where it is found,) odoriferous gums, medicinal plants, and drugs, the dying woods, such as logwood, the fine woods for furniture, the silk-worm, honey and wax, and the pearl fishery of the coast of California, contribute their respective shares to the natural wealth of this favored region.
But the most celebrated source of wealth in this region is the gold and silver mines. The eleventh chapter of M. de Humboldt's political essay is devoted to this subject, and is one of the most elaborate and interesting in his work. Mr Bonnycastle has condensed into a few pages the most prominent general statements. The Mexican mines are, it is well known, the richest in the world ; and have long approved themselves as such, notwithstanding the imperfect and wasteful manner in which they have been wrought. Much improvement, however, has taken place in this respect during the last generation. The directors of the mines have, in some instances, been sent to the school of Freiberg, near Dresden, for education, and the school of the mines in the city of Mexico itself is now on a footing to compare advantageously with any similar institution in the world. The amalgamation and other processes introduced with such success by Werner, at Freiberg, as to prevent the mines in that district from being deserted, are fully adopted in Mexico; and should it be possible effectually to introduce the steam engine, which the comparative want of fuel makes questionable, there is little doubt that, with the return of a settled order of things, the value of the mines will vastly increase.
The mining stations for gold and silver in New Spain amount to five hundred, and Humboldt supposes the number of mines, in all these stations, to be three thousand. The best and most productive of the silver mines are found at a height
above the level of the sea of from 5,900 to 9,840 feet. Three mines alone have produced more than half as much again as all the rest put together. These are the mines of Guanaxuato, Catorce, and Zacatecas. The quantity of silver exported from New Spain to Europe and India per annum is about one million six hundred and fifty thousand pounds weight.
Gold is generally procured by washings. It is found in abundance in the alluvial regions of Sonora, in the sands of Hiaqui, and in Pimeria, where grains of a very large size have been discovered. It is also found in the mines of Oaxaca and elsewhere in veins. The produce of gold in New Spain is stated by M. de Humboldt to amount, in the most favorable years, to one million of dollars, and the produce of the silver to twenty-two millions of dollars. Mr Robinson gives the annual coinage of gold at 14,000,000, and of silver at 50,000,000 of dollars. Mr Wilcocks makes the annual amount of gold and silver $28,000,000; and we have heard it stated in a private quarter, which we think entitled to confidence, to amount to $32,000,000 in the best years. According to the letter of Mr Wilcocks, it has been excessively reduced in consequence
of the disturbed state of the country, and will this year amount to not more than four millions of dollars.
The richest mine in America, and of consequence in the world, is the Valenciana, one of the mines of Guanaxuato. The principal vein of silver ore, in this mine, is twenty-two feet in breadth ; and as it is quite dry, it is wrought at much less expense, than the majority of the American mines. We have thought our readers would be amused with an account of this mine somewhat in detail, in the words of M. de Humboldt. · The Valenciana,' says he,* offers an example almost unique of a mine, which for forty years has never yielded its proprietors less than two or three millions of francs (400,000 or 600,000 dollars) annual profit. It appears that the portion of the vein of Guanaxuato, which runs from Tepeyac to the northwest, had been partially wrought to the close of the sixteenth century. Since that period, this whole region had been neglected, and it was not till 1760, that a Spaniard, who had gone very young to America, attacked the vein in one of the points, which had been hitherto thought destitute of silver. M. Obregon, for this was his name, was without fortune; but enjoying a good reputation, he found friends, who, from time
* Tom. II. 528.
to time, advanced him small sums to continue his labors. In 1766, the operations had reached a depth of two hundred sixty feet, and the expenses of working the mine still exceed, by far, its product. Possessing the same passion for mines that others have for gaming, Mr Obregon preferred subjecting himself to any privation, rather than abandon the enterprize. In 1767, he entered into partnership with a small merchant of Rayas, named Otero, little thinking that, in a few years, he and his friend were to become the richest individuals in Mexico, perhaps in the world. In 1768 the mine began to yield a large amount of metal. As the shafts were wrought lower, they approached the region, already described as the deposit of the immense mineral wealth of Guanaxuato. In 1771 immense masses of sulphuretted silver, mixed with native silver and red silver ore, were derived from this mine. Since this period to 1804, the Valenciana has not ceased to yield annually the enormous sum stated above. There have been years so productive, that the net profit of the two proprietors of the mines has amounted to $1,200,000. M. Obregon, better known as the count de la Valenciana, preserved, in the possession of this immense wealth, that simplicity of manners, and frankness of character, which distinguished him in less prosperous circumstances. When he first attacked the vein, above the ravine San Xavier, the wild goats wandered on the hill, where, ten years after, he saw a village of seven or eight thousand inhabitants. Since the death of the old count, and of his friend Don Pedro Luciano Otero, the property of the mine has been divided among several families. It exists in twenty-four shares, of which ten belong to the descendants of the count Valenciana, twelve to the family of Otero, and two to the family of Santana. I knew at Mexico two sons of M. Otéro, minors, of which each had a capital of $1,300,000, exclusive of the annual produce of their share in the mines, which was $80,000 to each. We must be still more surprised at the constancy and equality of the produce of the mine de la Valenciana, when we reflect that the abundance of rich mines has considerably diminished, and that the expenses of working them have advanced in a frightful progression, after the shafts attain a depth of 1640 feet. Tbe sinking and walling up of the three old shafts cost the first count of Valenciana near $1,200,000.' • To form an idea of the immense expense of working the mine,
New Series, No. 10. 35
it is sufficient to state, that in its present condition it requires annually, For workmen of various sorts employed in the mine, $680,000 For powder, tallow, wood, copper, steel, and other requisite supplies,
$1,580,000 The consumption of powder amounts to $80,000 a year, and that of steel for instruments of mining to $30,000. The number of laborers in the interior of the mine is 1800; and adding 1300 men, women, and children, who are employed in labors directly connected with the mine, the number amounts to 3100. The direction of the mine is entrusted to an administrator, who has $12,000 salary a year, and through whose bands $1,200,000 pass. This adininistrator, who is under no check whatever, has below him one miner, three sub-miners, and nine master-miners. These officers visit the works daily, carried by men, who have a sort of saddle attached to the back, and are called little horses, cavallitos.'
Such is the most productive of the American mines. M. de Humboldt's chapter contains a number of very curious and instructive researches on every point of interest connected with them, particularly on the whole amount of the precious metals, which have passed from America to Europe and the east, since 1492 up to 1803, and which he estimates from the best data at 5445 millions of dollars. We will only add a fact, perhaps not generally known, that of all the mines in America, the government possesses but one, that of Huancavelica in Peru, which has been long abandoned, and which formerly yielded a large quantity of mercury. The mines are all the property of individuals, who receive from government the concession, as it is called, of a certain extent on a vein or stratum, on the condition of paying a percentage on the produce of the mine. This percentage amounts on an average to 111 per cent. on the silver, and 3 per cent. on the gold. Had the boundary of the United States been established to be the Rio bravo del Norte, as it was claimed to be till the late Florida treaty, our territory would have been brought within a short distance of the capital of Mexico, and would have included some of the richest silver mines, in the government of San Luis Potosi.
We cannot forbear to make an extract from M. de Humboldt's