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486 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [noon v.
in Mexico; but very considerable progress
can. xn.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 489
getation affords the most precious productions **, and where the workman may choose at will the accidents of colour and form among the roots, the medullary prolongations of the wood, and the kernels of fruits, these toys of the Indians may one day become an important article of exportation for Europe. We know what large sums of money this species of industry brings in to the inhabitants of Nuremberg, and the mountaineers of Berchtolsgaden, and the Tyrol,'who however, can only use in the manufacture of boxes, spoons, and children’s toys, pine, cherry, and walnut-tree wood. The Americans of the United States send to the island of Cuba, and the other West India Islands, large cargoes of furniture, for which they get the woodchiefly from the Spanish colonies. This branch of industry will pass into the hands of the Mexicans, when, excited by a noble emulation, they shall begin to derive advantage from the productions of their own soil.
\Ve have hitherto spoken of the agriculture, the mines, and the manufactures, as the three principal_ sources of the commerce of New Spain. It remains for us to exhibit a view of the exchanges which are carried on with
* Swietenia Cedrela and Caesalpinia wood; trunks of Desmanthus and Mimosa, of which the heart is a red, approaching to black.
490 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [BOOK v.
the interior, the mother country, and with other parts of the New Continent. Thus we shall successively treat of the interior commerce, which transmits the superfluous produce of one Mexican province to another; of the foreign commerce with'America, Europe, and Asia; and the influence of these three branches of commerce on the public prosperity, and the augmentation of the national wealth. We shall not repeat the just complaints respecting the restriction of‘ commerce, and the prohibitory system, which serve for basis to the
colonial legislation of Europe. It would be
diflicult to add to what has been already said on that subject, at a time when the great problems of political economy occupy the mind of every man. Instead of attacking principles, whose falsity and injustice are universally acknowledged, we shall confine ourselves to the collection of facts, and to the proving of what importance the commercial relations of Mexico with Europe may become, when they shall be freed from the fetters of an odious monopoly, disadvantageous even to the mother country.
The interior commerce comprehends both the
carriage of produce and goods into the inte
rior of the country, and the coasting along
the shore‘ of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. This commerce is not enlivened by an in
can. x1r.] KINGDOM OF NEW SPAIN. 491
terior navigation on rivers or artificial canals; for, like Persia, the greatest part of New Spain is in want of navigable rivers. The Rio del Norte, which from its breadth hardly yields to the Mississipi, flows through regions susceptible of the highest cultivation, but which in their present state exhibit nothing but a vast desert. This great river has no greater influence on the activity of the inland trade, than the Missouri, the Cassiquiare, and the Ucayale, which run through the savannahs and uninhabited forests of North America. In Mexico, between the 16° and 23° of latitude, the part of the country where the population is most concentrated, the Rio de Santiago alone, can be rendered navigable at a moderate expence. The length of its course*, equals that of the Elbe and the Rhone. It fertilizes the table lands of Lerma, Salamanca, and Selaya, and might serve for the conveyance of flour from the intendancies of Mexico. and Guanaxuato, towards the western coast. We have already proved’r, that if, on the one hand, we must renounce the project of establishing an inland navigation between the capital and the port of Tampico, on the other, it would be very easy to cut canals in the valley of Mexico,
_ * The Rio Santiago, the old Rio Tololotlan, is more than
from the most northern point, the village of
The communications with Europe and Asia,
two seas, is distant in a straight line from
Vera Cruz 69 leagues, 66 from Acapulco,