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the climate of the Indies are unfavourable to that
austerity of life, and that spirit of order for which
the first monastical institutions were character-
ized; and when we cross the mountainous de-
serts of Mexico, we regret that those solitary
asylums in which the traveller receives assistance
from religious hospitality in Europe, are no
where to be found.

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which they possess on manufacturing industry. The mountains of the New Continent, like the mountains of the old, contain iron, copper, lead, and a great number of other mineral substances, indispensible to agriculture and the arts. If the labour of man has in America been almost exclusively directed to the extraction of gold and silver, it is because the_members of a society

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act from very different considerations from those. which ought to influence the whole society. Wherever the soil can produce both indigo and maize, the former prevails over the latter, although the general interest requires a preference to be given to those vegetables which supply nourishment to man, over those which are merely objects of exchange with strangers. In the same

manner, the mines of iron or lead on the ridge of

the Cordilleras, notwithstanding their-richness, continue to be neglected, because almost the

whole attention of the colonists is directed to veins of gold and silver, even when they exhibit on trial but small indications of abundance; Such is the attraction of those precious metals which by a general. convention have become the representatives oflabog; and subsistgngg, » 5

No doubt the Mexican nation can procure, by means of foreign commerce, all I the articles which are supplied to them by their own coun-' try; but in the midst of great wealth ‘in gold and silver, want is severely felt whenever the commerce with the mother country, or other parfs of Europe or Asia, has sufi'ered-4anyinterruption, whenever a war throws obstacles in the way _of maritime communication. FromiQ5 to 30 millions of piastres are sometimes heaped up in Mexico, while the manufacturers and miners

are suffering from the want of steel, iron, and

mercury. A few years -before my arrival in

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1300. In those times, when there 1s a total stagnation of foreign commerce, the Mexican industry is awakened for a time, and they then begin to manufacture steel, and to make use of the iron and mercury of the mountains of America. _ The nation is then alive to its true interest, and feels that true wealth con-sists in the abundance of objects of consumption, in that of things, and not in the accumulation of the sign by which they are represented. During the last war but one between Spain and America, they began to work the iron mines of Tecalitan, near Colima, in the intendancy of Guadalaxara. The tribunal de mimria expended more than 150,000 francs in extracting mercury from the veins of San Juan de la Chica; but the effects of so praise-worthy a zeal were only of short duration ; and the peace of Amiens put an end to undertakings which promised to give to the labours of miners a more useful direction for the public prosperity. The maritime communication was scarcely well opened, when they again preferred to purchase steel, iron, and mercury in the markets of Europe.

In proportion as the Mexican population shall increase, and from being less dependent on Europe, shall begin to turn their attention to the great variety of useful productions contained in

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er-mr. x1.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. l07

the bowels of the earth, the system of mining will undergo a change. An enlightened administration will give encouragement to those labors which are directed to the extraction of mineral substances of an intrinsic value ,- individuals will no longer sacrifice their own interests and those of the public to inveterate prejudices; and they will feel that the working of a mine of coal,'iron, or lead may become as profitable as that of a vein of silver. In the present state of Mexico, the precious metals occupy almost exclusively the industry of the colonists ; and When, in the subsequent part of this chapter, we shall employ the word mine (real, real de minas), unless the contrary is expressly stated, a gold or silver mine is to be uniformly understood. Having been engaged from my earliest youth in the study of mining, and having myself had the direction for several years of subterraneous operations, in a part of Germany which contains a great variety of minerals, I was doubly interested in examining with care the state of the mines and their management in New Spain. I had occasion to visit the celebrated mines of Tasco, Pachuca, and Guanaxuato, in which last place, where the veins exceed in richness all that has hitherto been discovered in other parts of the world, I resided for more than a month ; and I-had it in my power to compare the ‘difl ferent methods of mining practised in Mexico,

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