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486 POLITICAL ESSAY ON THE [noon v.

in Mexico; but very considerable progress
has also been made in other branches of in-
dustry dependent on luxury and wealth.
Chandeliers, and other ornaments of great
value, were recently executed in gilt bronze,
for the new cathredal of Puebla, of which
the bishop possesses more than 550,000 livres
of revenue.* Although the most elegant car-
riages driven through the streets of Mexico
and Santa Fe de Bogota, at @800 and 52700
metres'I' of elevation above the surface of the
ocean, come from London, very handsome
ones are also made in New Spain. The cabinet-
makers execute articles of -furniture, remarkable
for their form and the colour and polish of the
wood, which is procured from the equinoctial
region adjoining the coast, especially from the
forests of Orizaba, San Blas, and Colima. It
is impossible to read without interest in the
gazette of Mexico i, that even in the provin-
cias internas, for example at Durango, two
hundred leagues north of the capital, harp-
sichords and piano-fortes are manufactured.
The Indians display an indefatigable patience
in the manufacture of small toys, in wood,
bone, and. wax. In a country where the ve-

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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.

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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

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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
170 leagues in length. i
1- Chap. iii. and viii.

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from the most northern point, the village of
Huehuetoca, to the southern extremity, the
small town of Chalco.

The communications with Europe and Asia,
being only carried on from the two ports of
Vera Cruz and Acapulco, all the objects of
exportation and importation necessarily pass
through the capital, which has become through
that means the central point of the interior
commerce. Mexico, situated on the ridge of
the Cordilleras, commanding as it were the

two seas, is distant in a straight line from

Vera Cruz 69 leagues, 66 from Acapulco,
79 from Oaxaca, and 440 leagues from Santa
Fe of New Mexico. From this position of
the capital, the most frequented roads, and
the most important for commerce, are, 1st,
the road from Mexico to Vera Cruz, by Puebla
and Xalapa; Qd, the road from Mexico to
Acapulco by Chilpanzingo; 3d, the road from
Mexico to Guatimala, by Oaxaca; 4<th, the
road from Mexico to Durango and Santa Fe
of New Mexico, vulgarly called el camino dc
tierra dentro. We may consider the roads
which lead from Mexico, either to San Luis
Potosi and Monterey, or to Valladolid and
Guadalaxara, as ramifications of the great
road of the provincias internas. When we
examine the physical constitution of the coun-
try, we see, that whatever may one day be

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