« 이전계속 »
two in most perfect state of preservation are the Mission of San José, a church on the San Antonio river, a few miles below the town of that name, a sketch of which is here given, and the Mission of San Xavier, on the Santa Cruz river, in the newly acquired territory, the view
of which, I regret to say, has been lost. Most of the buildings at these stations, however, were erected of perishable materials, adobe walls, and thatched roofs. As soon as the thatches were destroyed, the walls were washed down nearly to their bases by the rains. The Indians were required to cultivate the soil, and their families were domiciled in the immediate vicinity of the station. The most active and intelligent warriors were incorporated into the ranks of the military.
The downfall of this magnificent cordon of military and ecclesiastical establishments, and the return of the Indians to a savage life tenfold more ferocious than ever, is directly traceable to two causes. First, the revolution, where both the Monarchists and Republicans courted the co-operation of the Indians, and thus invited them to insubordination. Second, and more prominently, the attempts at amalgamation, by intermarriage of the whites and Indians.
This last cause, which is now operating so banefully over the whole of Spanish America, I do not think has been sufficiently estimated, in the attempts to account for the decline and retrograde march of the population of that entire region.
Wherever practical amalgamation of races of different color is carried to any extent, it is from the absence of the women of the cleaner colored race. The white makes his alliance with his darker partner for no other purpose than to satisfy a law of nature, or to acqu and when that is accomplished all affection ceases. Faithless to his vows, he passes from object to object with no other impulse than the gratification arising from novelty, ending at last in emasculation and disease, leaving no progeny at all; or if any, a very inferior and syphilitic race. Such are the favors extended to the white man by the lower and darker colored races,
that this must always be the course of events, and the process of absorption can never work any beneficial change. One of the inevitable results of intermarriage between races of different color is infidelity. The offspring have a constant tendency to go back to one or the other of the original stock; so that in a large family of children, where the parents are of a mixed race but yet of the same color, the children will be of every color, from dusky cinnamon to chalky white. This phenomenon, so easily explained without involving the fidelity of either party, nevertheless produces suspicion, followed by unhappiness, and ending in open adultery. .
The only mode by which a country can be benefited by the introduction of the white race is by the introduction of both sexes, which, with proper guards upon morals, results in exterminating or crushing out the inferior races, or placing them in slavery.
Throughout Mexico, wherever the white race has preserved its integrity, there will be found a race of people very superior in both mental and physical ability; a condition due to the excellence of the climate, which combines all the qualities requisite for the development of the human being in the highest degree.
From Eagle Pass upwards there are no settlements on the American side, and but a single one on the Mexican side. In places are found the remains of settlements from which the inhabitants have been driven or carried off by the savages. This district of country, extending along the river seventy miles, until within five or ten miles of the mouth of the San Pedro, or Devil's river, is nevertheless the most fertile and desirable portion of the whole Rio Bravo for settlement. On the Texas side it is watered by the beautiful, limpid streams of Las Moras, Piedras Pintas, Zocaté, and San Felipe, which come into the Rio Bravo at right angles, and at equal intervals.
A very extensive region of land is here within the water-level, and can be successfully irrigated; and if we may judge from the products of the settlement at Santa Rosa, in nearly the same parallel, all the sub-tropical fruits and cereals can be raised in these bottom lands to advantage ; while the uplands are clothed with a luxuriant growth of the most nutritious grasses. This country is unsurpassed in salubrity, and when the Indians are exterminated, and the adjacent mines shall receive their full development, it will be the paradise of Western Texas. Two causes will operate to postpone this to a very distant day : the proximity to the boundary, which affords so many facilities for the operations of banditti and horse-thieves ; and the character of the country beyond, which will be seen, as you ascend the river, to be incapable of continuous settlement, and which must for a long time remain the hiding-place of the wild Indians.
One source of wealth in these table lands, and which is common to all the table lands contiguous to the Rio Bravo as far down as Reynosa, I have not yet pointed out; that is, the extensive growth of certain indigenous plants, the virtues and properties of which are well known to the Mexican and Indian population, and will be found elaborated and specifically noticed in the botanical memoirs appended.
On the mesas, or table lands, which are unsuited to the purposes of cultivation, many plants are found growing useful in medicine and dyeing; and various yuccas, dasylirions, and agaves, genera well known for their useful fibres, which we now import from foreign countries. There are also extensive growths of shrubs and trees of the leguminous order, furnishing gums, tannin, and nutritious pods, highly relished by the herbiferous animals, wild and domestic.
I have before stated that the present head of steam navigation is Roma. At some distant day, no doubt, the navigation will be extended up as high as the mouth of Devil's river,
a distance, measured by the sinuosities of the river, of 567 miles; and with this in view, the assistants in charge of the lineal surveys have been directed to make special notes of the obstructions in the river. The large maps designating the boundary, and deposited in the Department of the Interior, will form the basis upon which estimates for this purpose can be made, but they are too voluminous to accompany this printed report. The ideas now suggested are from the notes of assistant Arthur Schott, who was charged with the lineal surveys of the river from Devil's river to Ringgold Barracks, and from my own observations.
The navigation of the river between Edinburgh and Roma is not free from obstructions, but they are mostly of shifting sand-bars, except the one formed by Island 13 on the boundary map, which may be improved by damming two of the three channels. Between Roma and Bellville the obstructions are principally occasioned by Islands 15, 16, 17, and 20, dividing the channel of the river; and the navigation may be improved in the same way by damming all the channels but one, and dredging the bottom of the one left open. It is above Bellville that obstructions become of rocky character, difficult to remove, such as are to be found at Islands 25, 30, 31, 33, 35, 39; and above Loredo, at the Heron islands, Las Islitas, Cazneau island, and Chess-Board island.
The worst of these are Islands 25, 30, and the Islitas ; 25 is sometimes called Major Brown's island, from the circumstance of the steamer Major Brown being detained there a whole season waiting for a rise of water ; No. 30 is a couple of small islands, at the foot of which the channel is only eleven or twelve feet wide. Of the three last-named obstructions, the Islitas is the most formidable. Here, in fact, there is no channel, and the rocky islands obstructing the passage of the water can only be passed at high water from June to September.
Other obstructions besides islands are caused by numerous reefs and spurs of rock. Just above Bellville there is a formidable obstruction of this kind, marked by the wreck of the steamer - Exchange;" this obstruction is formed by two reefs running in from the opposite sides, and overreaching each other, thus leaving but à crooked channel, through which the river passes at the rate of five miles per hour. A similar obstacle occurs about fifteen miles below Eagle Pass.
Other reefs occur running entirely across the river, and are disposed in steps, one above the other. In seasons of excessive dryness they are bare of water. Of such character are the obstructions noted in the field-notes of Mr. Schott as “the snares,” “the meshes," "the stone turtles," and the “ Devil's pen,” all situated between the Islitas and Eagle Pass.
In most cases the rocks forming the obstructions are sedimentary rocks of the upper cretaceous age, lying in horizontal strata ; these would yield easily to the pick. How far it would be prudent to resort to cutting away these natural dams, as a mode of improving the navigation, which would necessarily lower the pools above, would be a subject of investigation for each locality. My object in this report is only to present a general view of the character of the difficulties in the way, and to present such maps as would render unnecessary any general survey of the river hereafter.
Except where interrupted by arroyos, the country is uniformly level, no hill breaking the general view until we reach Eagle Pass; and it may be that in time the resources of the country will be sufficient to justify its connexion by railroad with San Antonio or Brownsville, in which event the improvement of the navigation of the river will become of minor importance.
Ascending beyond the mouth of the San Pedro or Devil's river, the whole character of the #
country changes. The bed of the river becomes hemmed in by rocký mural banks, the tops of which are beyond the reach of irrigation, and, from the aridity of the climate, they can never be made subservient to the purposes of agriculture. The general formation of the country is limestone, deposited in strata perfectly horizontal, and where the river has washed its way through the banks, presents the appearance of gigantic walls of dry-laid masonry. The course of the river from this point up to Fort Leaton, near the Presidio del Norte, a distance of 387 miles, is almost one continuous cañon, utterly unsuited to navigation, and, with a few exceptions, unsuited for settlement. Occasionally, this limestone formation, over 1,000 feet in depth, is broken through and upturned by igneous irruptions from below, forming stupendous mountains and gorges of frightful sublimity. I leave to the officers under my command, who bravely surveyed these chasms heretofore untrodden by white men, and probably by Indians; the task of describing in detail this section of the work, which was only visited by me at certain places to determine the latitude and longitude. Hii
My notices have been principally confined to the Texas side of the boundary. Before leaving the mouth of the Rio San Pedro to ascend the Rio Bravo, I will take a rapid view of the country on the Mexican side between this point and the Gulf. The most prominent topographical feature is a chain of lofty mountains of unequal elevation which cross the Rio Bravo about 250 miles above Rio San Pedro, and run in a southeasterly direction towards the Gulf. It is composed of a variety of ridges, preserving towards each other, and towards the river and the Gulf coast, a general parallelism. The principal range is called the Sierra Madre. The eastern slope of these mountains forms portions of the States of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas. The area between the Rio Bravo and the bases of these slopes is an arid, cretaceous plain,
with a spinose growth similar to that on the Texas side. Passing from this plain into the mountains, we encounter a soil made'up of the debris of the older rocks, and watered profusely by limpid streams having their sources in the crystalline rocks. And here, in the valleys formed by these mountains, we find large tracts of country within the influence of some irrigating stream, sheltered from the northers of the winter, and at an elevation above the sea sufficient to overcome the excessive heat of the summer due this parallel of latitude, producing all the fruits of the tropics and the cereals of the more northern climates. The climate is unsurpassed in salubrity, and nothing is requisite to make this region the garden-spot of the valley of the Rio Bravo but a stable form of government and security from the bands of roaming savages that plunder it at intervals.
In the more northern portions, as at Parras, the vine is grown with success', and a luscious wine is made, which, however, will not bear transportation. On the seacoast and southern portion, commencing at Santa Rosa, oranges, limes, &c., are cultivated successfully. Some of the mountains are rich in silver, and at Santa Rosa, as has been elsewhere noticed, the mines were once extensively worked by the Spaniards, and have now passed into the hands of an American company.
In no civilized country are statistics more difficult to obtain than in Mexico, and several attempts to obtain the population of this region, composing the largest portion of the States of Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas, have resulted in such discrepancies as to induce me to give credit to none. I have, however, made an estimate of the resident population of the Rio Bravo on both sides, from the Devil's river down, which I here present. This estimate is rather under than over the number, which has heretofore been registered too high :