National Geographic : 1898 Apr
GEOGRAPHIC LITERATURE Geographical and Statistical Notes on Mexico. By Matias Romero. Pp. xiv + 286. New York: G. P . Putnam's Sons. The modest title conveys an inadequate idea of the scope of this book, which is a compendium of useful and interesting data as to the resources and commercial progress of our sister Republic. The high official position of Senor Romero has procured for him data inaccessible to most writers, while his long diplomatic service in the United States has enabled him to select wisely the statistical matter herein presented. He treats clearly, from original sources, mining, railways, revenues and expenditures, for eign trade in general, and especially the commercial relations between Mexico and the United States, the data in many cases extending to 1897. The volume closes with an interesting article on "The Drainage of the Valley of Mexico," a problem that for 500 years baffled the local engi neers, but which, now finally resolved, will be practically completed in June, 1898. The subject of railways occupies the most space, as is proper, they con stituting the most potent factor in the late astonishing development of Mexico. Senor Romero's account of the mining industries will command attention, not only from the interesting manner in which it is presented, but also from the pr dominating part played by silver in late years. Mex ico has coined silver to the value of $3,530,000,000, and has used one-fourth as much more in the arts, etc. The coinage during the colonial period (1537-1821) averaged annually $7,500,000, during the independence (1822-'73) $15,600,000, and under the republic $24,700,000. It is estimated that the annual output of silver in Mexico will ultimately reach $100,000,000. The commercial relations between Mexico and the United States are treated fully, and the statistical tables illustrate forcibly the steadily in creasing trend of Mexican trade toward this country. In 1872-'73, the first regular report of the Mexican statistical bureau, the imports from the United States were valued at $6,430,000, in 1896-'97 they amounted to $23,535,000, consisting principally of manufactures of metal, wood, and cotton, and raw cotton, although corn figured largely, owing to the failure of the crop in Mexico. In the same years Mexico exported to the United States $1(i,430,000 (1872--'73), and $30,714,000 (1896-'97). The increase in exports is almost entirely in merchandise, the principal articles being copper, coffee, and fibers. The excellencies of Mexican climates scarcely appear in the meager meteorological data presented, and the value of the table on page 89 is impaired by the misprint of 1869 for the correct year, 1896. It is much to be regretted that so valuable a publication has no general map. A.W.G.