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military positions, have been published at the expense of your Majesty; and you gave orders that there should be annually published in a Peruvian journal at Lima a state of the commerce, finances, and population.
There was still wanting a statistical essay on the kingdom of New Spain. I digested the great number of materials which I possessed into a work, of which the first sketch drew the attention of the viceroy of Mexico in a manner which redounded to his honour. I should be happy if I could flatter myself that my feeble efforts, under a new form, and more carefully digested, are not unworthy of being presented to your Majesty.
They breathe the sentiments of gratitude which I owe to the government who protected me, and to the noble and loyal nation who received me, not as a traveller, but as a fellow-citizen. How can we displease a good king, when we speak to him of the national interest, of the improvement of social institutions, and the eternal principles on which the prosperity of nations is founded?
Vol. i. b \
I am, with the greatest respect,
your Catholic Majesty's very humble
THE BARON DE HUMBOLDT.
Paris, 8th March, 1808.
Vegetable productions of the Mexican territory.-Progress of
In publishing maps of New Spain, differing in
nany respects from any which have hitherto
Deen published, it is incumbent on me to give
iome account to astronomers and naturalists of
he materials which I have employed. When an
uthor makes nothing more than a compilation;
'hen he draws from sources not generally known,
nd merely collects what is scattered in printed
rorks or engraved maps, a simple nomenclature
f the articles employed may serve for analysis.
t is otherwise when a map is. founded on the
'tronomical observations or measurements of an
thor himself; when he has had recourse to plans
d manuscript notes preserved in archives or
ried in convents. In the latter case., which is
ne, the geographer has a right to demand a
tisfactory exposition of the means employed
r verifying the position of the most important
)ints. In offering this exposition to the public,
shall carefully distinguish the results of simple
>mbinations, from what has been immediately
VoL. I. B