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OLD MEXICO, OR NEW SPAIN.
Breadth 600] *| 89 and 30° North Latitude.
D Gulph of Mexico; south-east, by Terra Firma; southwest, by the Pacific Ocean; divided into the three following audiences, viz. Audiences.
Chief Towns. . Galicia, or Guadalajarra, Guadalaiseta :
Mexico, N. Lat. 19° 54'. Mexico Proper,
Vera Cruz. Guatimala,
Guatimala. Climate, foil and productions.] Mexico, lying principally in the torrid zone, is excessively hot. This country is mountainous in the interior parts, but along the eastern shore it is flat and marshy, and is overflowed in the rainy seasons, which renders it very unhcalthy. The trees are cloathed with perpetual verdure, and blossom and bear almost the whole year round. The cotton and cedar-trees, and those which bear the cocoa, of which chocolate is made, abound here. Mexico, like all the tropical countries, is rather more abundant in fruits than in grain. Pine-apples, pomegra- nates, oranges, lemons, citrons, figs, &c. are here in great plenty and per fection. Mexico produces also a great quantity of sugar, especially towards the Gulf of Mexico.
The chief mines of gold are in Veragua and New Grenada, bordering upon Darien and Terra Firma. Those of silver, which are much more rich, as well as numerous, are found in several parts, particularly in the province of Mexico.
The mines of both kinds are always found in the most barren and mountainous parts of the country; nature making amends in one respect for defects in another.
Of the gold and silver which the mines of Mexico afford, great thingt have been said. Those who have enquired most into this subject compute the revenues at twenty-four millions of money; and this account is probably just, since it is well known that this, with the other Spanish provinces in South America, supply the whole world with silver.
The Spanish commerce in the article of cocoa is immense. It grows on a tree of a middling lize, which bears a pod about the size of a cucumber, containing the cocoa. It is said that a small garden of cocoas, produces to the owner 20,000 crowns a year.
Inhabitants, character and government.] The present inhabitants of Mexico may be divided into whites, Indians and negroes. The whites are born in Old Spain, or they are creoles, that is, natives of Spanish A. merica. The former are chiefly employed in government and trade, and have nearly the same character with the Spaniards in Europe; only a
determined, as his last refource, 'to try what effect the interposition of Montezuma might have to footh, or overawe his subjects. This unfor tunate prince, at the mercy of the treacherous Spaniards, and reduced to the fad necessity of becoming the instrument of his own disgrace, and of the Navery of his subjects, advanced to the battlements in his royal robes, with all the pomp in which he used to appear on solemn occasions. Ac fight of their sovereign, whom they had long been accustomed to honour, and alınost to revere as a god, the weapons dropped from their hands, every tongue was filent, all bowed their heads, and many proftrated themselves on the ground. Montezuma addreffed them with every argument that could mitigate their rage, or persuade them to cease from hostilities. When he ended his discourse, a fullen murmur of disapprobation ran through the crowd; fo this fucceeded reproaches and threats ; and their fury rising in a moment, they violently poured in whole flights of arrows, and vollies of stones, upon their unhappy monarch; two of the arrows ftruck him in the body, which, with the blow of a stone on his temple, put an end to his life. Guarimozin succeeded Montezuma, and maintained a vigorous opposition against the assaults of Cortes. he like his predeceffor, after a noble defence, was forced to submit. Previous to this, being aware of his impending fate, he had ordered that all his treasures fhould be thrown into the lake. While a prisoner, on fufpicion of his having concealed his treasure, he was put to the torture, which was done by laying him on burning coals; but he bore whatever the refined cruelty of his tormentors could inflia, with the invincible fortitude of an American warrior. One of his chief favourites, his fellow sufferer, being overcome by the violence of the anguish, turned a dejected eye towards his mafter, which seemed to implore his permiffion to reveal all that he knew. But the high spirited prince darted on him a look of authority, mingled with fcorn, and checked his weakness by alking, Am I now repoling on a bed of flowers ? Overawed by the reproach, he persevered in dutiful filence, and expired. Cortes, ashamed of a scene fo horrid, rescued the royal vi&im froin the hands of his tortu, rers, and prolonged a life for new indignities and sufferings. Cortes died in Spain, in the year 1547, in the 628 year of his age. Envied by his contemporaries, and ill requited by the court which he served, he has been admired and celebrated by succeeding ages. By his own desire te was carried to Mexico, and buried there.
I ara la midedans joined to
S a peninsula, joined to North America by the Ithmus of Daries,
Belonging to Amazonia,
Portugal. Paragua, or La Plata,
TERRA FIRMA, OR CASTILE DEL ORO,
Miles. Length 1400 Breadth 700 s
Between The Equator, and 12" North Latitude. „Boundaries.) Bolume ocean and Surinam ; fouth, by Amazonia and
, by the Peru; west, by the Pacific Ocean.
Climate, foil and productions.] The climate here, especially in the northa ern parts, is extremely hot and sultry during the whole year. From the month of May to the end of November, the reason called winter by the inhabitants, is almoft a continual fucceflion of thunder, rain and tempests; the clouds precipitating the rains with such impetuosity, that the low lands exhibít the appearance of an ocean, Great part of the country is of consequence almoft continually flooded; and this, together with the exceflive heat, so impregnates the air with vapours, that in many provinces, particularly about Popayan and Porto-Bello, it is extremely un, wholefome. The soil of this country is very different, the inland parts being exceedingly rich and fertile, and the coasts sandy and barren. It is impossible to view without admiration, the perpetual verdure of the woods, the luxuriancy of the plains, and the towering height of the mountains, This country produces corn, sugar, tobacco and fruits of all kinds ; the molt remarkable is that of the manzanillo free. It bears a fruit resembling an apple, but which, under this fpecious appearance, contains the mox subtile poison. The bean of Carthagena is the fruit of a species of willow, about the bigness of a bean, and is an excellent and never failing remedy for the bite of the most venomous ferpents, which are very fraqueot all over this country. Among the natural merchandize of Terra Firma, the pearls found on the coaft, particularly in the bay of Panama, are not the leaft considerable. An immense number of negroe flaves are employed in fishing for these, and have arrived at a wonderful dexterity in this occupation. They are sometimes, however, devoured by sharks, while they dive to the bottom, or are crushed against the felves of the rocks.
Chief Towns.] Panama is the capital of Terra Firma Proper, and is Situated upon a capacious bay, to which it gives its name. It is tbe great seceptacle of the vast quantities of gold and filver, with other rich mer