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country has undergone for many years past, even prior to the revolution ; for they had not only awed the Creoles into patient submission, but controlled even the viceroys. They had subsequently united themselves with the aristocracy of the country, and taken a prominent part in the civil dissensions of Mexico.They became exceedingly hostile to Mr. Poinsett, certainly without any cause, for it is well known that he extended to them all the protection his public situation enabled him to do. They reported him to be the head of a great party, and accused him of exerting his influence to throw the country into confusion, in order to check its rising greatness and prosperity, because they were incompatible with the welfare of his own, and circulated such extraordinary stories of his magic and mysterious influence, that the country people devoutly crossed themselves when they heard his name. When the Friar Arenas, with a singular mixture of madness and folly, disclosed his plot, they sought to induce him to accuse Mr. Poinsett of being the chief conspirator, and of having given him the plans; and the Sol, the organ of that party, sent forth daily paragraphs, to prepare the public mind to receive and believe this accusation. The poor friar actually meditated this horrible act of treachery; he was told it might save his life; but upon finding he could not hope for mercy unless he should substantiate his charges, he desisted from making them, to the great disappointment of all the honourable men who were concerned in this transaction. Before he was led to execution, he sent a message to Mr. Poinsett, to intreat his forgiveness for having entertained so infamous a design. We have seen the testimony of this fact in writing, signed by the person who was employed on this occasion by that wretched man! They reported him to be concerned in every scheme that was devised, either in favour of liberal principles, or to restore the country to the yoke of Spain. When the revolution of December, 1828, took place, it was said that Mr. Poinsett had concealed in his house the principal conspirator, and although both the attack and defence were conducted in the most bungling manner, as the former was crowned with success, they imputed the direction to him. When the Spaniards invaded the country, an attempt was made to persuade the people that the expedition was composed of Americans, called into Mexico by Mr. Poinsett. This assertion was actually made in congress, when the motion was brought forward to expel him from the country. When it was ascertained that the expedition really consisted of Spaniards, they declared, with equal effrontery, that Mr. Poinsett was an emissary of Ferdinand VII., known to be well paid by him, and that he had invited his sovereign to invade the Mexican territory. When Mr. Obregon committed suicide at Washington, they did not hesitate to accuse the government of the United States of having assassinated him, and said they had been instigated to commit the murder of the Mexican minister by Mr. Poinsett.—In short, there was nothing too extravagant or improbable for them to report, or their partisans to credit. Such was the extreme ignorance of one portion of some of the state legislatures, and the malevolence of others, that they actually embodied these absurdities in solemn manifestoes, and published them to the world. They were answered satisfactorily by Mr. Poinsett in a formal examination; and to those public documents we refer our readers, for a further knowledge of this most foul and infamous persecution.
Art. IX.-Cuadro Estadistico de la siempre fiel Isla de Cuba
correspondiente al año de 1827; formado por una Comision de Gefes y oficiales, de orden y baxo la direccion del Escelentisimo Señor Capitan General Don Francisco Dionisio Vives; precedido de una descripcion Historica, Fisica, Geographica, y acompañada de cuantas notas son conducientes
para la ilustracion del Cuadro. Habana: 1829. Statistical account of the ever faithful Island of Cuba, for the
year 1827; prepared by a commission of military and civil officers, by order and under the direction of the Most Excellent Captain General Don Francisco Dionisio Vives; preceded by an Historical, Physical, and Geographical description, and accompanied by such notes as are required for its perfect understanding. Havana: 1829. Folio: pp. 90, with tables.
The age in which we live has been fertile in changes, affecting not only the physical, but also the moral, condition of man. In vain would we close our eyes to this truth; it breaks upon us from all parts, and evinces in a manner too plain to be overlooked, the new direction which the world has taken ; no longer, giving a free range to the imagination, can man roam at large through the wide fields of fancy; he is soon recalled to realitiesto facts, by the all-powerful influence of public opinion. That this change, if kept within the bounds of moderation, will be productive of good, cannot be doubted ; while it is equally certain, that if not restricted within due limits, it will deprive him of the exertions of some of his most valuable faculties, and, in a manner, depose him from the high standing assigned to him by his Maker, as a reasoning, reflecting, and imaginative being.
No greater proof of this change can be seen, than in the proneness of our species, at this day, to the study of statistics, which may be termed a new pursuit, and which is, or, at least, ought to be made the foundation of political economy-a science, concerning which all descant, though few, perhaps, understand its real object, and still fewer can agree upon its first principles. We are the more struck with the change, when we see it extending itself to those whom we should have supposed to be the very last to be affected by it. When we reflect upon the dark veil with which the Spanish government has been wont to conceal its politics—when we remember the jealous care with which it has for ages wrapped in obscurity and silence the internal condition and resources of its colonies, we cannot but be struck with surprise and pleasure at seeing this policy abandoned, and the whole wealth and situation of the island of Cuba revealed to us in a detailed account, stamped with all the authority of an official document.
The work, the title of which we have prefixed to this article, bears on its face every mark of authenticity. It is stated to be the result of an official investigation, undertaken by order of the very able and intelligent gentleman, who, in the capacity of Captain General, has, for seven years past, superintended the affairs of that colony. Don Francisco Dionisio Vives is advantageously remembered in this country, where he resided for a considerable time, as minister from the king of Spain ; during which time, his conduct was such as to create, among all those who had the opportunity of knowing him, a high respect for his talents, and a lively interest in his future career. In the year 1822, he was appointed to his present situation, which, however, he reached only in 1823. On his arrival, he found the colony in the most critical condition, and soon satisfied himself that it required a thorough knowledge of the resources of the island, and of its actual situation, to save it from impending ruin, and to secure it, in a military point of view, against all contingencies. The orders which he immediately issued for the collection of materials in relation to this subject, were attended with very unsatisfactory results; and when an attempt was made, in 1825, to collate them, they were found to exhibit a sketch of the island too meager, and too uncertain to be useful. Not discouraged by this partial failure, he appointed, in April of that year, a committee of military and civil officers, with instructions to travel over the island, and collect, by their own personal inspection, all the observations necessary for a complete statistical, topographical, and descriptive account of Cuba.
In the execution of these duties they experienced great difficulties, both physical and moral, having to contend with much distrust and opposition on the part of the inhabitants, ing unused to similar inquiries, first attached to them sinister motives, and were more frequently willing to mislead, than to assist the commissioners. With patience and long suffering they
however succeeded in overcoming these obstacles, and at last concluded their investigations to their satisfaction. The materials, thus obtained, were placed in the hands of a committee of three persons, from their own number, to whom we are indebted for this valuable addition to our knowledge of Cuba. The work was compiled under the immediate direction of the Captain-general ; it may therefore be considered as an official paper, and is entitled to the highest confidence ; since, as far as it goes, it betrays no disposition to exaggeration or concealment. Facts are stated with due order and precision; but there are some points on which the authors are silent; not from ignorance, but probably, as we infer, from a justifiable de-' gree of prudence on the part of the authorities of the island. Thus it gives us no insight into its military condition; nor does the census indicate, as preceding ones have done, the number of troops in Cuba. We might also wish for more detailed information on the subject of its finances, its sources of revenue, and on the objects of its disbursements ; topics which are dismissed in a few lines. Nor is it quite satisfactory in relation to the civil and judicial administration ; but, in the actual condition of Cuba, and with its present form of government, it is not a matter of surprise that information on these points should be suppressed ; and we have too much reason to be grateful for what is given to us, to permit ourselves to repine at what is withheld. We are informed by the authors that a map of the island is in preparation ; and that it will be founded upon new and extensive observations, and a careful comparison of those made by all preceding astronomers or geographers. Such a work is much wanted. When we bear in mind the great debt which we owe to the Spanish navy for the scientific researches it has at all times made, we are led to anticipate, that this map will remove the doubts which remain as to many of the points on the coast of Cuba, a knowledge which can be to no nation so valuable as to our own, whose already extensive trade with that island is increasing every year.
The authors refer, for more ample accounts, to Baron Humboldt's Political Essay on the Island of Cuba, “ from whose respectable work they have taken all that could be adapted to their concise description, and which was not in opposition to more correct data relating to the geography and topography of the country.” In the following pages, we purpose to lay before our readers an abstract of the information which we have gathered from a close perusal of this work, as well as from inquiries of persons conversant with the present condition of the colony.
We need scarcely state that Cuba is the westernmost of the leeward group; while, at the same time, it is the largest, the most interesting at this day, and, from its peculiar position, the most commanding island in the West India archipelago. It stretches in an E. S. E. direction, from long. 67° 46' 45", to long. 78° 39' 15" west of the Cadiz meridian, (corresponding to 74° 3' 45" and 84° 56' 15" west from Greenwich,)* and from lat. 19° 48' 30", to 23° 12' 45" north ; its extreme points being, to the north, the point of Hicacos ; to the east, the point of Mayzi; to the south, English point; and to the west, Cape San Antonio. Its total length is therefore 10° 52' 30", which, in that latitude, corresponds to 605 miles; its total breadth is 3° 24' 15" of latitude, corresponding to 204 miles; but, its form is so irregular, that its breadth from north to south no where exceeds 117 miles, and sometimes falls short of 30 miles; without including every irregularity of its shores, its periphery exceeds 570 leagues. The area of the island, properly speaking, is 31,468 square miles; to which may be added 13394 square miles for the area of the keys and islands attached to it; giving an aggregate superficies of nearly 33,000 square miles.
Its shores are for the most part dangerous, and difficult of approach, being generally surrounded by a chain of keys, of reefs, and of shoals, which, to the inexperienced mariner, are subjects of great apprehension; but, between these keys there are safe channels, known to the practised pilot, and which have too often been the skulking places of daring smugglers and blood-thirsty pirates. In addition to the port of Havana, one of the finest in the world, there are many safe and capacious harbours, which may after a while become the seats of extensive commerce. The coast is generally low and swampy ; but, on some points of the island, it is high and bold, offering to navigators many good landmarks. In some places, the shores present fine sandy beaches. The safest navigation on the coast of Cuba, is said to be between the point of Mariel and the bay of Matanzas to the north; and between Cape Maize and Cape Cruz to the south ; also, the part enclosed by the bay of Xagua, on the southern shore. The best harbours are Bahia-Honda, Havana, Matanzas, Cabañas, Mariel, and Nuevitas, on the north side of the island, and Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, (Cumberland,) and the bay of Xagua, on the south side. Besides these, there are many other ports that promise to become very important in a commercial point of view, as soon as the population shall have extended into their neighbourhood.
The old principle of the Spanish government, now nearly, if not quite exploded, was calculated to retard very much the prosperity of the island. It was at one time the favourite policy of the court of Spain, to restrict the trade to two or three points on the coast, such as Havana, Santiago de Cuba, and Tri
* From 2° 51' 45" east to 8° 00'45" west of the Washington meridian.