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View of the other Spanish Possessions and Conquests in the New World. Cinaloa.
Sonara. New Navarre, New Mexico. Chili. Таси.
Rio de la Plata. Terra Firma. New Granada. Galleons. Effect of the Spanish Settlements with regard to the Colonies. Depopulation with respect to Spain. Idleness and Poverty. Register-Ships. Trade of Acapulco. Revenue.
sessions of Spain in the New World which have attracted the greatest attention, yet her other dominions there are far from being inconsiderable, either in extent or value. The greater part of them were reduced to subjection during the first part of the sixteenth century by private adventurers, who fitted out their small armaments either in Hispaniola or in Old Spain : and if our limits would allow us to follow each leader in his progress, we should discover the same daring courage, the same persevering ardour, the same rapacious desire of wealth, and the same capacity of enduring and surmounting every thing in order to attain it, which distinguished the operations of the Spaniards in their greater American conquests. Instead, however, of entering into a detail of this kind, it will be right to give a brief description of those provinces of Spanish America which have not hitherto been mentioned.
The jurisdiction of the viceroy of New Spain
extends over several provinces which were not subject to the dominion of the Mexicans. The countries of Cinaloa and Sonara, that stretch along the east side of the Gulf of California, as well as the immense kingdoms of New Navarre and New Mexico, which bend towards the west and north, and did not acknowledge the sovereignty of Montezuma or his predecessors, are reduced, soine to a greater, others to a less degree of subjection to the Spanish yoke. They extend through the most delightful part of the temperate zone, and have a communication either with the Pacific Ocean or with the Gulf of Mexico, and are watered by rivers which not only enrich them, but may become subservient to commerce. The number of Spaniards settled in these provinces is extremely small; but from the rich mines that have been discovered, opened, and worked with success, they are becoming more populous, and may soon be as valuable as any part of the Spanish empire of America.
The peninsula of California was discovered by Cortes in the year 1536, but the Spaniards have made little progress in peopling it. Don Joseph Galvez, who was sent by the court of Spain to visit it, brought a very favourable account: he found the pearl fishery on its coasts to be valuable, and he discovered mines of gold of a very promising appearance. From its vicinity to Cinaloa and Sonara, California may, perhaps, hereafter be no longer regarded among the desolate and almost useless districts of the Spanish empire.' On the east of Mexico, Yucatan and Honduras are comprehended in the government of New Spain. They stretch from the Bay of Campeachy beyond Cape Gracias a Dios, and derive their value prinVol. XXIV.
cipally from the logwood tree, which for the purposes of dyeing has become an article in commerce of great value. Still farther east than Honduras lie the two provinces of Costa Riga and Veragua, which are of but small value, and merit no particular attention.
The most important province depending on the viceroyalty of Peru is Chili, the inhabitants of which were, in a great measure, independent of the incas, and for a considerable time successfully resisted the arms of the Spaniards. The mountainous parts of the country are still possessed by tribes of the original inhabitants, who are formidable neighbours to the Spaniards, with whom, during the course of two centuries, they have been obliged to maintain almost perpetual hostility.
That part of Chili which may be properly deemed a Spanish province, is a narrow district extended along the coast from the desert of Atacamas to the island of Chiloe, above 900 miles. Its climate is the most delicious in the New World. The soil is very fertile, and accommodated to European productions : among these are corn, wine, and oil. All the fruits imported from Europe altain to full maturity there, and the animals of our hemisphere multiply and improve. Nor has Nature exhausted her bounty on the surface of the earth ; she has stored its bowels in various parts with mines of gold, of silver, of copper, and of lead.
To the east of the Andes, the provinces of Tucuman and Rio de la Plata border on Chili, and stretch from north to south 1300 miles, and in breadth more than a thousand. This country forms itself into two great divisions, one on the north and the other to the south of Rio de la Plata. The former comprehends Paraguay, the fa
mous missions of the Jesuits, and several other districts. The capital of La Plata is Buenos-Ay. res, the most considerable sea-port in South America. From this town a great part of the treasure of Chili and Peru is exported to Old Spain. Most of the country is inhabited by native Americans. The Jesuits were indefatigable in their endeavours to convert the Indians to the belief of their reli. gion, and to introduce among them the arts of civilized life ; and they met with surprising success. More than 300,000 families were formerly subject to the Jesuits, living in obedience and with an awe bordering on adoration. But in 1767 the Je. suits were sent out of America by royal authori. ty, and their subjects were put upon the same footing with the other inhabitants of the country.
All the other territories of Spain in the New World, the islands excepted, of whose discovery and reduction an account has already been given, are comprehended under two great divisions; the former denominated the kingdom of Terra Firma, the provinces of which stretch along the Atlantic from the eastern frontier of New Spain to the mouth of the Oromoko ; the latter the new kingdom of Granada, situated in the interior country. Terra Firma is divided into twelve large provinces, which contain a vast deal of mountainous country: the valleys are deep and narrow; and being for a great part of the year flooded, the whole district is perhaps the most unhealthy part of the torrid zone. The plains are fertile, and produce great abundance of corn, fruits, and drugs. No place abounds more in rich pasturage, or has a greater stock of black cattle. Its capital city, Panama, is situated upon one of the best harbours of the South Seas. Hither is brought all the trea. sure which the rich mines of Peru and Chili pay
to the king, or produce upon a private account. In the bay is a pearl fishery of great value. The town contains 5000 houses elegantly built of brick and stone, disposed in a semicircular form, and enlivened with the spires and domes of several churches and monasteries. Al Carthagena, the second town in Terra Firma, the galleons on their voyage from Spain put in first, and dispose of a considerable part of their cargo. The fleet of galleons consists of about eight men of war, laden with every kind of merchandize, as well as with inilitary stores for Peru. No sooner are these ships arrived in the haven of Carthageng than expresses are immediately dispatched to the adjacent towns, that they may get ready all the treasure which is deposited there to meet the galleons at Porto Bello. Here all persons concerned in the various branches of this extensive traffic assemble, and business of wonderful extent and importance is negociated in a short time. In about a fortnight the fair is over; during which the display of gold and silver and precious stones on the one hand, and of all the curiosities and variety of European fabrics on the other, is as. tonishing Heaps of wedges and ingots of the precious metals are rolled about on the wharfs like things of little or no value. At this time an hundred crowns are given for a mean lodging, a thousand for a shop, and provisions of every kind are proportionably dear.
The new kingdom of Granada is so far elevated above the level of the sea, that though it approaches almost to the equator, the climate is remarkably temperate. Some districts yield gold with so great profusion, that single labourers have been known to collect in a day what was equal in value to 2501.