Page images

50 universal in the Spanish colonies, and the hatreds which divide the casts of greatest affinity, the effects of which shed a bitterness over the life of the colonists, are solely due to the political principles by which these regions have been governed since the sixteenth century. A government, aware of the true interests of humanity, will be able to diffuse information and instruction, and by extinguishing gradually the monstrous inequality of rights and fortunes, will succeed in augmenting the physical prosperity of the colonists; but it will find immense difficulties to overcome before rendering the inhabitants sociable, and teaching them to consider themselves mutually in the light of fellow citizens.

Let us not forget that in the United States society is formed in a very different manner from what it is in Mexico and the other continental regions of the Spanish colonies. Penetrating into' the Alleghany mountains, the Europeans found immense forests, in which a few tribes of hunters wandered up and down, attached by no tie to an uncultivated soil. At the approach of the new colonists, the natives gradually retired towards the western savannas in the neighbourhood of the Mississippi and the Missoury. In this manner free men of the same race and the same origin became the first elements of a new people. "In North America," says a celebrated statesman," a traveller who sets out from a great town where the social state has attained to perfection, traverses successively all degrees of civilization and industry, which keep diminishing till he arrives in a few days at the rude and unseemly hut formed of the trunks of trees newly cut down. Such a journey is a sort of practical analysis of the origin of nations and states. We set out from the most complicated union to arrive at the most simple elements; we travel in retrogression the history of the progress of the human mind; and we find in space what is due only to the succession of time*."

In New Spain and Peru, if we except the missions, the colonists nowhere returned to the state of nature. Fixing themselves in the midst of agricultural nations, who themselves lived under governments equally complicated and despotic, the Europeans took advantage of the preponderancy of their civilization, their cunning, and the authority they derived from the conquest. This particular situation, and the mixture of races of which the interests are diametrically opposite, became an inexhaustible source of hatred and disunion. In proportion as the descendants of the Europeans became more numerous than those sent over directly by the mother country, the white race divided into two parties, of which the ties of blood cannot heal the resentments.

* M. de Talleyrand in his Essay on Colonisation.

The colonial government from a mistaken policy wished to take advantage of these dissensions. The greater the colony, the greater the suspicion of the administration. According to the ideas which unfortunately have been adopted for ages, these distant regions are considered as tributary to Europe. Authority is there distributed not in the manner which the public interest requires, but according as the dread of seeing a too rapid increase in the prosperity of the inhabitants seems to dictate. Seeking security in civil dissensions, in the balance of power, and in a complication of all the springs of the great political machine, the mother country foments incessantly the spirit of party and hatred among the casts and constituted authorities. From this state of things arises a rancour which disturbs the enjoyments of social life.




Of the political division of the Mexican territory, and the proportion of the population of the intendancits to their territorial extent.Principal cities.

Before giving the table which contains a particular statistical account of the intendancies of New Spain, we shall discuss the principles on which the new territorial divisions are founded. These divisions are entirely unknown to the most modern geographers; and we here repeat what we have already stated in the introduction to this work, that our general map of New Spain is the only one which contains the limits of the intendancies established since 1776.

Mr. Pinkerton,in the second edition of his Modern Geography*, has endeavoured to give a minute description of the Spanish possessions in North America; and he has contrived to mix several exact notions derived from the Viajero Universal, with the most vague data furnished by the dictionary of M. Alcedo. This author, who believes himself to possess a singular knowledge of the true territorial divisions of New Spain, considers the provinces of Sonora, Cinaloa, and la Pimeria, as parts of New Biscay. He divides what he calls the dominion (domaine) of Mexico into the districts of Nueva Galicia, Panuco, Zacatula, &c. &c. According to this principle we should

* It is this moment announced (Bibliotheque Americaine, 1808, No. 9) that M. Pinkerton boasts of having availed himself of my manuscripts for his work on Mexico. I communicated, with the frankness natural to me, several manuscript notes to M. Bourgoing, M. Alexander Laborde, and several other savans of equal respectability. I never communicated any thing to M. Pinkerton; and the manner in which he treated me in his Geography, before my return to Europe, was not calculated to produce an intimacy between us. A compiler as inaccurate as he is arrogant, M. Pinkerton, in the style which is peculiar to him, finds every thing which is repugnant to the ideas formed by him in his closet *' ridiculous, disgusting, and absurd." Not knowing that the map of La Cruz is drawn up from that of Father Caulin, he will allow no other course to the rivers but what he finds indicated by the former. He pushes his scepticism so far, that if we would believe him, M. Depons, the author of the Voyage a la Terre-Ferme, does not even know the name of the country in which he lived for four years! The notes of the new edition of M. Pinkerton's Geography especially contribute to diffuse the most erroneous ideas in physics and descriptive natural history.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »