American couple

An American Man and Woman in their proper Habits.

AMERICA, the fourth and last quarter of the world, is divided into North and South America.  North America contains Mexico, (or New Spain,) New Mexico, and California, Florida, Canada, (or New France,) Nova Scotia, New England, New York, New Jersey, Pennsilvania [sic], Maryland, Virginia, and Carolina.  South America contains Terra Firma, the land of the Amazons, Brazil, Peru, Chili [sic], Paraguay, and Terra Magellanica.


An Account of MEXICO, or NEW SPAIN.

MEXICO is so called from its chief city; and New Spain since the Spaniards settled there.  It has the sea of Mexico on the east, its gulph [sic], Florida, and New Mexico on the north, and the southern sea on the west and south.  The air is temperate and healthful, and the soil fruitful, producing wheat, barley, pulse, and maize; and variety of fruits, as citrons, lemons, oranges, pomegranates, apples, pears, cherries, cocoa nuts, figs, &c. with great plenty of roots, plants, and herbs.  There are some rich mines of gold and silver, in which about 4000 Spaniards continually work.  The people are civil, and excel in painting and music: they are subject to the King of Spain: their religion is a mixture of Paganism and Christianity.

An Account of NEW MEXICO, or GRANADA.

THIS part of the world is not fully discovered by the Europeans.  The soil is sandy and barren, the air healthful and temperate, but not a little subject to hurricanes, thunder and lightning.  There are some silver mines, turquoise, emeralds, crystal, &c.  The natives are naturally good and civil, governed by a captain named Casich [Probably "cacique"? says "cacique" is a tribal chief in Latin America, particularly of the Spanish West Indies and Brazil from the 16th century. The term is a Spanish or Portuguese variation of the Taíno word cacike or the Arawak word kassequa, both meaning "chieftain"], whom they choose themselves.  They are given to idolatry, and some adore the sun, others believe in a God, and some of them have no religion at all.


An Account of FLORIDA.

FLORIDA is a large and fruitful country in North America, bounded on the north-east by Carolina, on the south, and some part of the west, by New Galicia [comprised roughly the present states of Jalisco and Nayarit with S. Sinaloa, in W. Mexico] and some countries not yet discovered. The air is very temperate, and soil extremely fertile, and produces grain, herbs, and fruit in great abundance. --- Ferdinando Soto, after the conquest of Peru, entered this country May 25, 1538, and gave it the name Florida, because the flowers were then on the ground, but died of grief, for being disappointed of the treasures which he expected.  The native inhabitants were extirpated by the Spaniards, who disregarded every principle of humanity when the security of their acquisitions in the New World was in question; but this fine country was conquered from them by the English, to whom it was confirmed by the peace of Paris [in 1763]; its importance was however never sufficiently considered by them, and to gratify the jealousy of Spain it was restored to her at the peace of 1783 [in separate preliminary articles to the 1783 treaty of Paris]. --- It was divided into East and West: St. Augustine and Pensacola are its chief towns; and its commodities furs, pearls, and the most delicious fruits.  The Spaniards regard it as forming a desirable frontier between them and the United States of America; but as the soil and climate are inferior to none in the world, it will doubtless one day emerge from its obscurity, become populous, and hold a high rank in the world [good prediction - especially with retirees!].


An Account of CANADA.

CANADA is the chief province now possessed by the English in America; it is bounded by New Britain [in the Schreibers map of the 1740s, Nouvelle Bretagne is given as an alternate name for the Labrador] and Honduras Bay on the North and East [this probably refers to the earlier bounds of New France, which included Louisiana]; by Nova Scotia, New England, and New York on the South; and by some of the great lakes, the new settlements of the United States, and the yet remaining possessions of the native Indians, on the West.  The soil and climate are not very different from those of New England,  though it has a much severer winter; but the air is very clear, the summer hot and pleasant. --- The meadow grounds are well watered, yield excellent grass, and breed vast numbers of cattle.

This country was originally settled by the French; and in so doing Louis XIV. seems to have formed the vast design of consolidating all North America under his dominion: the English, under Wolf [sic], Amherst, and Monkton [sic], conquered it in the years 1759 and 1760; and it was confirmed to us [the British] at the peace of 1763. --- The inhabitants were guaranteed in all their privileges; and the Roman Catholic religion is yet the most prevalent, though all others are tolerated.  It has been lately divided into two provinces, Upper and Lower Canada, each having its separate government and legislature.  Its trade and population are annually and rapidly increasing.


Quebec, its capital, is situated at the confluence of the rivers St. Laurence and St. Charles, about 320 miles from the sea, and is very strong both by nature and art; when taken by the immortal Wolfe it was supposed to contain about 15,000 inhabitants, independent of the garrison, and has since had considerable additions.  The trade between Canada and England, the greater part of which centers here, is supposed to employ eight sail of shipping, and near 2000 seamen.

An Account of TERRA FIRMA.

TERRA FIRMA, or the Firm Land [today's Venezuela], is a large country of South America, and contains eleven governments, subject to the King of Spain.  The air here is extremely hot, though wholesome, the soil very fertile, when well manured.  The natives are tawney [sic], robust, healthful, long lived, and go naked about the middle.  The commodities are gold, silver, and other metals; balsam, rosin, gum, long pepper, emeralds, sapphire, jasper, &c.  Here is one Spanish archbishopric and four bishoprics; but the natives are idolaters.

An Account of PERU.

PERU is in South America, a large country, divided into six provinces.  The air in some parts is very hot, in others sharp and piercing.  The soil is the richest of all the


Spanish plantations, abounding with exceeding high mountains and large pleasant vallies.  The commodities are vast quantities of gold and silver, valuable pearls, medicinal drugs, cochineal, tobacco, abundance of cotton, &c.  The natives are of a copper colour, tall and well made; but are so depressed by the Spaniards, it is impossible to form any judgment of their genius, virtues, or vices.

Of the Land of the AMAZONS.

THIS country is very little known, but as far as discovered the air is temperate, and the soil fertile.  There are on the banks of the river Amazon about fifty nations of fierce savage people, said to eat human flesh. --- The commodities are gold, silver, sugar, ebony, cocoa, tobacco, &c.  Their religion is Paganism, and language unknown.

An Account of BRAZIL.

BRAZIL is in the east of South America, bounded on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by some undiscovered countries between it and the mountains called Andes, on the north by Guiana, and on the south by Paraguay.  It was discovered by the Portuguese in 1501, and is still in great part subject to them.  The air is very temperate and wholesome, though under the torrid zone;


the soil fertile, and the country produces red or Brazil wood, sugar, amber, rosin, balm, tobacco, train oil [most likely whale oil], confectionary, &c.  The natives are reckoned cruel, but ingenious; have faint notions of religion, and speak several different languages, though they cannot pronounce either of the three letters L, F, R.  They are all naked, and neither sow nor reap, but live by hunting and by the fruits which the land produces of its own accord.

An Account of CHILI.

CHILI [the name is still spelled this way in French] is also a great country of South America, 400 leagues in length from north to south, is divided into three governments, and subject to the King of Spain.  In summer the air of this country is very warm, but in winter so extremely cold that it often kills man and beast.  The mountainous parts are generally dry and barren, but the vallies exceedingly fertile in maize, wheat, and other grain.  The people are white, tall, courageous, an warlike, but very gross Idolaters, the chief object of their worship being the devil, whom they call Eponamon, i.e. powerful.  The country is enriched with several mines of gold, and great quarries of jaspar [sic]. --- The commodities are gold, silver, maize, corn, honey, ostriches, and metals.  Most of them use the Spanish tongue, but some their ancient jargon.

A Museum for Young Gentlemen and Ladies - late 1790s