ent movements of their federative machine, the task will every day become less difficult, and the chances will be multiplied of their obtaining by the shortest process a substantially free government. Whether Mexico is in a condition to make this experiment with a just hope of success, time and the energies of the people must decide.

The substance of the present work, as the author gives us to understand, was communicated in letters to a friend at intervals during a rapid journey through the country. It is written in the form of a diary, and thus contains the interest and spirit with which objects are described on the spot, and incidents are narrated as they occur. Mr Poinseit sailed from Charleston on the 28th of August, 1822, in the corvette Jobn Adams, and, after touching for a short time at Puerto Rico, he entered the port of Vera Cruz in Mexico, on the 18th of October following. In this city he was politely and kindly received by the American Vice Consul, accepted an invitation to dine with Santa Ana, a young and ,brave general, and governor of the place, by whom he was treated in a cordial and hospitable manner.

Here he remained three days viewing different parts of the city, and making preparation for his journey into the interior.

Some confusion exists among writers of good authority respecting the origin of the present city of Vera Cruz. It is often represented as having been founded by Cortes, and the first town established by the Spaniards in North America. But this is a mistake. Cortes landed and had a battle with the natives, in what is now called the province of Tobasco, nearly a hundred leagues to the west of the present site of Vera Cruz, and at that place be built a small city named by him Madonna della Victoria, which for many years was the capital of the province. In sailing up the coast from this point, Cortes, first disembarked at the mouth of the river Antigua, and here be founded the colony of Vera Cruz, several miles to the westward of the present city, which was not built till nearly a century afterwards.* But whatever may have been the location of the city of Vera Cruz, it was, during the three hundred years of colonial servitude, the only port in which goods were allowed to be entered, or from which vessels could sail. The harbor, or rather anchorage of the present city, is exposed and unsafe. Vessels are obliged to put to sea when the north wind blows, or run the hazard of being driven on shore. The strong castle of San Juan de Ulloa stands on an island, overlooking the city, and commanding the entrance of the barbor. This castle was the last retreat of the remains of the royalist forces, which had been sent to quell the revolution in New Spain. Since Vera Cruz has ceased to be the exclusive port of trade, it has declined greatly from its former rank in wealth and business. Alvarado at the south, and Tampico at the north, are now the principal points at which commerce centres.

* Clavigero says, that three cities by the name of Vera Cruz were built near the same place on the coast of New Spain. The two first were ancient Vera Cruz and New Vera Cruz planted on the same sands wbere Cortes lavded. The first settled by Cortes in 1519, and was called Villarica of Vera Cruz (Villarica della Veracroce.) The next was settled four or five years after, near the site of the other. And the third, or present city of Vera

All things being in readiness our traveller prepared to take up his departure for the interior. On descending into the court yard, he observes, 'I found an escort of six dragoons well mounted, a bat mule loaded with my baggage, and a carriage not unlike a French cabriolet, drawn by three mules, and conducted by a postillion. This vehicle is called a volante. The chaise is suspended by twisted leather thongs, and has altogether a ruinous breakdown appearance." With this equipage he was to be conveyed to Jalapa, a distance of somewhat more than sixty miles. The journey proved by no means a tedious or disagreeable one, if we may judge from the author's good humored manner of relating the few incidents which befel him. The vehicle broke down but once, the mules were not more obstinate, nor the muleteers more quarrelsome, than is usual, the people at the inns were sufficiently accommodating, and, as the travellers carried their owo beds and provisions, they would have been unreasonable not to be contented with their lodging and fare.

Two days and a half brought them in sight of the towers and turrets of the ancient and beautiful city of Jalapa, once among the most celebrated in the new world. It was now the residence of Eschevarri, captain general of the provinces

Cruz, was built by order of the Count of Monterey, Viceroy of Mexico, at the end of the sixteenth, or beginning of the seventeenth century. It received the title of city from Phillip III, in the year 1615. Storia Antica del Messico, Lib. VIII. s. 12. VOL. XX.NO. 46


of Puebla, Oaxaca, and Vera Cruz, who reteived the author courteously, and in whose suit were two Americans, a physician and an engineer. This is the same Eschevarri, who, after the downfal of Iturbide, refused to submit to the government, or obey the orders of the executive of the federal republic. He was seized and taken to Mexico a prisoner, by the patriot general Guerrero. Many things in Jalapa present themselves to gratify an inquisitive traveller. The inhabitants are distinguished for their hospitality to strangers, their lively dispositions, and social habits. The wealthy people of Vera Cruz resort hither in the summer to avoid the heat and diseases incident to the low country at this season. The houses are spacious and many of them handsome, having cominonly a large inner court planted with trees and flowers, and containing a fountain. Some of the churches are elegant in their architecture, and splendid in their interior decorations, and the profusion of gold and silver on the altars and walls bears testimony to the former wealth of the place, The aspect of the surrounding country is bold and picturesque; the valleys are clothed with a deep verdure ; mountains rise in the distant view, and the lofty summit of Orizaba, ascending to an elevation of seventeen thousand feet above the level of the ocean, is distinctly seen with its snow capped peak situated at a distance of nearly fifty miles to the south west.

Jalapa was one of the cities visited by Cortes, and he built there the convent of San Francisco, which is still standing in a good state of preservation. From this convent, in addition to the features of natural scenery above described, Humboldt says the ocean may be seen. Jalapa is memorable as the place in which the great fair was held, or where all the goods imported into Vera Cruz, and of course nearly all the foreign articles that circulated in New Spain, were sold at a certain season of the year. Merchandise was packed in suitable parcels at the port, and transported to this city on mules, where it was stored in warehouses till the time of sale. The fair was open for six months, and then closed for the same period, during which no sales could be made, as the goods that remained on hand were held in custody by the king's officers, till the periodical return of the fair. Purchasers came froin all parts of the interior for several hundred miles around, and brought in exchange gold, silver, indigo, cochineal, venilla, and such other articles as the European trafficers would receive. Credit was rarely given, and the profits to the merchant were very great. These persons were little else in fact, than agents for the Spanish government, which held an entire monopoly of trade, as far as the laws could secure it. The opening and closing of the fair were attended with pompous public processions and religious ceremonies, by each of which the church was sure to be the richer, either from the exactions demanded by the laws, or the voluntary donations of the traders, whose hopes of future gain, or gratitude for past success, added a spur to their generosity. For a long period Jalapa exbibited in the months of the fair a scene of gaiety, bustle, and business nowhere else to be witnessed in the new world.

On leaving this city we find our travellers carried along in vehicles of different construction from that, in which they had set out from Vera Cruz. 'A littera is a case six feet long and three wide, with three upright poles fixed on each side to support a top and curtains of cotton cloth. The case is carried by means of long poles passing through leather straps, which are suspended from the saddle of the mules, in the same manner as a sedan chair is borne by porters. A mattress is spread at the bottom of the case, on which the traveller reclines.' Such was the luxurious posture in which the author commenced his journey to Puebla, the next great city on the road to Mexico. It is obvious that he was very much at the mercy of the mules, and that his comfort depended mainly on the orderly manner in which these animals, not proverbial for their accommodating temper, chose to direct their steps over the narrow passes and steep ascents. No accident is recorded, nor any uncommon event, except now and then a sensation of strange tossing to and fro, somewhat annoying to the repose of the recumbent tenant of the littera. Our travellers seemed nowise reluctant, however, to change their equipage, for on the second day they encountered a coach at Nopaluco, returning from Vera Cruz to, Mexico, which they succeeded in hiring for the rest of the journey. When in motion, this carriage had a most imposing presence, measuring twelve feet between the axles, and drawn by ten mules under the guidance of two postillions. But it moved at the rate of five miles an hour, and with all its burden of passengers, trunks, boxes, and mattresses, it was soon rolling in the streets of Puebla.

This city was founded by the Spaniards in 1533, is situated sixtyfive miles southeast of Mexico, and in size and splendor is the second city in New Spain. Mr Bullock, in his volume of travels recently published, says it contains ninety thousand inhabitants, sixty churches, twenty three colleges, thirteen nunneries, and nine monasteries. Humboldt estimated the population at sixtyseven thousand eight hundred, but the Intendant told Mr Poinsett, that in 1820 there were only sixty thousand. From these statements the town seems to be on the decrease, and Mr Bullock's account in this particular must have been taken from the estimate of some former period. But at the present day the city puts on the air of great magnificence and wealth, both in its public buildings, churches, and private dwellings, and in the customs and general appearance of the inhabitants. The following is the description given by our author of the cathedral, which forms the entire side of a large open square.

“The interior of the cathedral is richly ornamented, and is really magnificent. The grand altar is strikingly splendid—the platform, which is raised some feet above the level of the rest of the church, is inlaid with marble of different colors. The interior of it is appropriated for the cemetery of the bishops of Puebla. The walls are composed of black and white marble, and the whole vaulted with an elliptic arch. The canopy which rests on this platform is. supported by eight double marble columns, the effect of which is destroyed by brass ornaments and gilded capitals. The ceiling of the canopy is highly ornamented with stucco and gold. The custodia is of variegated marble ; the front of embossed silver, and so constructed as to slide down and display the Host to the congregation. The custodia itself is surmounted by five bronze figures. In front of this altar is suspended an enormous lamp of massive gold and silver very beautifully wrought. The pulpit near it is cut out of a mass of carbonate of lime, which is found near Puebla. It receives a high polish, and is semi-transparent. A row of lofty columns supporting the arches, runs round the whole interior of the building. The sanctuaries are numerous and are mented with a profusion of gilding, and some bad paintings.' p. 39.

A nearly similar description might be given of several other churches, which differ little from this except in their dimen


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