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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
central table land is travelled in four wheel
carriages 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 cams 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,
(zacatg) or in grain.

The roads which lead from the interior table

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land to the coasts, and which I call transversal,
are the most diflicult, and chiefly deserve the
attention of government. The roads from
Mexico to Vera Cruz and Acapulco, from
Zacatecas to New Santander, from Guadalaxara
to San Blas, from Valladolid to the Port of
Colima, and from Durango to‘Mazatlan passing
by the western branch of the Sierra Madre, be-
long all to this class. The roads by which the
capital carries on a comrnunication with the
ports of Acapulco and Vera Cruz, are naturally
the most frequented. The value of the pre-
cious metals, of the agricultural productions,
and of the goods of Europe and Asia which
flow through these two channels, amounts to the
total sum of S20 millions of francs per annum. *
These treasures pass along a road which resem-A
bles that of Airolo at the hospital of Saint G0~
thard. 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 difli.
cult, perhaps, in all America, with the excep-
tion of that, by which the goods of Europeiare
transported from Honda to Santa Fe de Bogota,
and from Guayaquil to Quito.

The productions from the Philippine Islands
and Peru, arrive by the road from Mexico to
Acapulco. It islcarried along a less rapid slope

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4 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [noon v.

of the Cordilleras, than the road leading from the capital to Vera ,Cruz. The slightest glance of the physical sections in the Atlas accompanying this work, will suflice 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 metrest above the level of the ocean ; and from that village we descend 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 mountain 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 tolerably good order from Acapulco to the table land of Chilpanzingo; but it'becomes narrow and extremely bad in advancing towards the capital, especially from Cuernavaca to Guchilaque, and from thence to the summit of the high

mountain called la Cruz del Marques. The

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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 800+ 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 mule-
teers dare not attempt to ford. I have still
seen the remains of pillars constructed of enor-
mous hewn stones, which the currentehad carried
away before the arches were completed. A
project was entertained in 1808, for making a
new endeavour to throw a large stone bridge
over’ the Rio Papagallo; andthe government
destined nearly half a million of francsi 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 far-
thelfto the west, is almost as dangerous as the
Papagallo. I‘ passed it on a raft formed accord-
ing to the oldihMe'xican custom of the dried
fruits of the gourd, on which reeds are fastened
together; the raft is direcltedby 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 govemment. A fortunate rivalship ‘is dis, »played between the new Council-of commerce established at Vera Cruz, under the name of -real tribunal del consulada, and the old consu-.~ lado of the capital; and the latter is gradually beginning to shake ofi‘ 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 las 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 (camino carre. lero) 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 asfof the greatest utility, and who gave the direction of it to

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