Page:Travels in Mexico and life among the Mexicans.djvu/590

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TRAVELS IN MEXICO.

make his purchases himself in New York, or our other great markets, he must leave here in the fall, when it will require forty to fifty days to reach his destination by the way of New Orleans, His goods must then be purchased and shipped to Indianola, on the Gulf of Mexico, to be sent to San Antonio; or to St. Louis, and thence by water to Independence. Now comes the most difficult part of the transportation: wagons, mules, harness, and the various trappings, must be purchased, and teamsters procured,—all of which requires much time and

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MEXICAN CART.

a large outlay. The large Missouri wagons, which carry from 5,000 to 5,500 pounds each, cost, all equipped, from $1,200 to $1,300 each, and twenty of these, which is not a large train, $26,000. Then each team must have its teamster, at $25 per month, and a wagon-master, or director of the train, at $100. Besides the ten mules to each team, fifteen or twenty extra are required, as on their long journeys accidents cannot be avoided. Men to herd and take care of the animals must also be provided, and, finally, provisions for the journey. This will give an idea of the expense of fitting out a caravan, or train; and if the merchant gets back with his goods in ten months from the time he left, without encounters from hostile Indians, or the loss of any of