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ravin, and to the progressive fall of the table land from 2500 to 800 metres* of absolute height. Carriages may. run from Mexico to Santa Fe, in an extent which exceeds the length

which the chain of-the Alps would have if it was ::: prolonged without interruption from Geneva to

the shores of the Black Sea. In fact, the cen-
tral table land is travelled in four wheel car-
riages in all directions, from the capital to
Guanaxuato, Durango, Chihuahua, Valladolid,
Guadalaxara, and Perote; but in the present
bad state of the roads, waggons are not esta-
blished for the conveyance of goods. They
give the preference to the employment of beasts
of burden; and thousands of horses and mules
cover in long files (requas) the roads of Mexico.
A considerable number of Mestizoes and Indians
are employed to conduct these caravans. Pre-
ferring a wandering life to every sort of seden-
tary occupation, they pass the night in the open
air, or in sheds, (tambos, or casas de communi-
dad) which are constructed in the middle of the
villages for the convenience of travellers. The
mules feed at liberty in the Savannahs; but.
when the great droughts have parched up the
grass, they feed them on maize either in herb,
(zacate) or in grain.

The roads which lead from the interior table

* From 8201 to 2624 feet. Trans. c.

land to the coasts, and which I call transversal, are the most difficult, and chiefly deserve the attention of government. The roads from Mexico to - Vera Cruz and Acapulco, from Zacatecas to New Santander, from Guada. laxara to San Blas, from Valladolid to the Port. : of Colima, and from Durango to Mazatlan passing by the western branch of the Sierra Madre, belong all to this class. The roads by which the capital carries on a communication with the ports of Acapulco and Vera Cruz, are naturally the most frequented. The value of the precious metals, of the agricultural productions, and of the goods of Europe and Asia which How through these two channels, amounts to the total sum of 320 millions of francs per annum*. These treasures pass along a road which resembles that of Airolo at the hospital of Saint Gothard. From the village of Vigas to L'Encero, the road to Vera Cruz is frequently nothing but a narrow and crooked path, and the most difficult, perhaps, in all America, with the exception of that, by which the goods of Europe are transported from Honda to Santa Fede Bogota, ind from Guayaquil to Quito. ., so it 38

The productions from the Philippine Islands band Peru, arrive by the road from Mexico; to Acapulco. It is carried along a less rapid slope

* 813,834,4QQ sterling, Trans.

of the Cordilleras, than the road leading from the capital to Vera Cruz. The slightest glance of the physical sections in the atļas accompanying this work; will:súffice to prove the justice of

this assertion. In the European road, as we . · have already observed *, we remain from the

valley of Mexico to beyond Perote, on the central plain, at an elevation of 2800 metres t'above the level of the ocean; and from that village we deseend with extreme rapidity to the ravin of the Plan del Rio, to the west of Rinconada. On the other hand on the road from Acapulco, which we designate by the name of the Asiatic Road, the descent begins at a distance of eight leagues' from Mexico, on the southern slope of the basaltic mouittain of Guarda. With the exception of that part which passes through the forest of Guchilaque,'it might be easy to render this road fit for carriages without any great expence of labour. It is broad and kept in tolerábly good order from Acapulco to the table land of Chilpanzingo; but it becomes narrow and extremely bad in advancing towards the capiital, especially from Cuernavaca to Guchilaqué,

and from thence to the summit of the high einiuntain called la Cruz del Marques. The odifficulties which are the greatest obstacles to sok pisSIE 3 TORO la

ord * Vol. I. p. 58. ... I + 7545 feet. Trans. *

communication, between the capital and the port of Acapulco, arise from the sudden swell of the waters of two rivers, the Papagallo and the Rio de Mescala. These torrents, which in times of drought are not more than 60 metres in breadth *, are from 250 to 300+ in the rainy season. At this period of the great swells, the loads are frequently stopt for seven or eight days on the banks of the Papagallo, which the muleteers dare not attempt to ford. I have still seen the remains of pillars constructed of enormous hewn stones, which the current had carried away before the arches were completed. A project was entertained in 1803, for making a new endeavour to throw a large stone bridge over the Rio Papagallo; and the government destined nearly half a million of francs f for this undertaking, which would have been of so great importance to the commerce of Mexico with the Philippine Islands. : The Rio de Mescala, which takes the name of Rio de Zacatula farther to the west, is almost as dangerous as the Papagallo. I passed it on a raft formed accord. ing to the old Mexican custom of the dried fruits of the gourd, on which reeds are fastened together; the raft is directed by two Indians,

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who support it with the one hand, and swim with the other. . - The construction and embellishment of a new road from Mexico to the port of Vera Cruz, have latterly become the object of the solicitude of government. A fortunate rivalship is dis played between the new council of commerce established at Vera Cruz, under the name of real tribunal del consulado, and the old consulado of the capital; and the latter is gradually beginning to shake off the inactivity with which it has so long been accused. The merchants of Mexico, having constructed at their expence an excellent causeway along the heights of Tiangillo and bas Cruzes, which separate the basin of Toluca from that of Mexico, wish the new road of Vera Cruz to pass through Orizaba; while the merchants of Vera Cruz who have country houses at Xalapa, and who maintain numerous commercial relations with that town, insist that the new carriage road (cumino corretero) should go by Perote and Xalapa. After a discussion of several years*, the consulado of Vera Cruz profited by the arrival of the viceroy, Don Josef de Yvirigarras, who declared himself in favour of the road by Xalapa as of the greatest utility, and who gave the direction

* See Vol. 17. p. 270.

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