« ElőzőTovább »
invaders from their places of retreat in the mountains. But the treasury of Mexico was so much exhausted by the vast sums drawn from it, in order to support the late war against Great Britain , that the viceroy could affort them no aid. The respect due to his virtues, accomplished what his official power could not effe&t. He prevailed with the merchants to advance about two hundred thousand pesos for defraying the expence of the expedition. The war was conducted by an officer of abilities; and after being protracted for three years, chiefly by the difficulty of pursuing the fugiti. ves over mountains and through defiles which were almost impassable, it terminated, in the year 1741, in the final submission of the tribes, which had been so long the object of terror to the two provinces. In the course of this service, the Spaniards marched through countries into which they seem not to have penetrated before that time, and discovered mines of such value, as was astonishing even to men acquainted with the riches contained in the mountains of the New World. At Cineguilla, in the province of Sonora, they entered a plain of fourteen leagues in extent, in which they found gold in grains, at the depth of only sixteen inches, of such a fize, that some of them weighed nine marks, and in such quantities, that in a short time ,, with a few labourers, they collected a thousand
marks of gold in grains, even without taking time to wash the earth that had been dug , which appeared to be fo rich, that persons of skill computed that it might yield what would be èqual in value to a million of pesos. Before the end of the year 1771 , above two thousand persons were settled in Cineguilla, under the government of proper magiftrates, and the inspection of several ecclefiafticks. As several other mines, not inferior in riches to that of Cineguilla, have been discovered, both in Sonora and Cinolog, k) it is probable that there neglected and thinly inhabited provinces, may foon become as populous and valuable as any." part of the Spanish empite in America.
California, 'its state, and probability of its improving:
The peninsula of California, on the other
k) See NOTE XXXVII,
its situation, muft be very desirable, the Spa. niards have made small progress in peopling it. Towards the close of the last century, the Jea suits, who bad great merit in exploring this neglected province, and in civilizing its rude inhabitants, imperceptibly acquired a dominion over it as complete as that which they possessed in their missions in Paraguay, and they laboured to introduce into it the same policy, and to govern the natives by the same maxims. In order to prevent the court of Spain from con. ceiving any jealousy of their designs and operations, they seem ftudio fly to have depre. ciated the country, by’representing the climate as so disagreeable and upwholesome, and the foil as fo barren, that nothing but a zealous defire of converting the natives, could have induced them to settle there. n) Several publick. fpirited citizens endeavoured to undeceive their sovereigns, and to give them a better view of California ; but in vain. At length, on the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish doa minions, the court of Madrid, as prone at that juncture to suspect the purity of the Order's intentions, as formerly to confide in them with implicit trust, appointed Don Joseph Galvez, whose abilities have since raised him to the high rank of minister for the Indies, to visit that peninsula. His account of the coun,
D) Venegas, Hift. of California , i. 26.
try was favourable; he found the pearl-fishery on its coasts to be valuable, and discovered mines of gold of a very promising appearance. o) From its vicinity to Cinaloa and Sonora, it its probable, that if the population of these provinces shall increase in the manner which I have supposed, Californią may, by degrees, receive from them such a recruit of inhabitants, as to be no longer reckoned among the desolate and useless districts of the Spanish empire.
· Yucatan and Honduras. Their decline.and revival. :: On the eaft of Mexico, Yucatan and Hon
duras are comprehended in the government of New Spain, though anciently they can hardly, be said to have formed a part of the Mexican empire. These large provinces, stretching from the Bay of Campeachy beyond Cape Gracias a Dios, do not, like the other territories of Spain in the New World, derive their value either from the fertility of their foil, or the richness of their mines; but they produce in greater abundance, than any part of America, the logwood tree, which, in dying some colours, is so far preferable to any other material, that the consumption of it in Europe is considerable, and it has become an article in commerce of great value. During a long period, no European nation intruded upon the
Spaniards in those provinces, or attempted to obtain and share in this branch of trade. But after the conquest of Jamaica by the English, it soon appeared what a formidable rival was now feated in the neighbourhood, of the Spanish territories, One of the first objects which tempted the English, was the great profit ariling from the logwood trade, and the facility of wresting some portion of it from the Spaniards. Some adventurers from Jamaica made the first attempt at Cape Catoche, the southeast promontory of Yucatan, and by cutting logwood there, carried on a gainful traffick. When most of the trees near the coast in that place were felled, they removed to the island of Trift, in the Bay of Campeachy; and in later times their principal station has been in the Bay of Honduras. The Spaniards, alarmed at this encroachment, endeavoured by negociation, remonftrances, and open force, to prevent the English from obtaining any footing on that part of the American continent, But after struggling against it for more than a century, the disasters of last war extorted from the court of Madrid a reluctant consent to tolerate this settlement of foreigners in the heart of its territories. p) The pain which this humbling, concession occafioned, seems to have prompted the Spaniards to devise a method of
p) Treaty of Paris, Art. xviii,