Page:Our Sister Republic - Mexico.djvu/377

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363
THE COLLEGE OF MINES.

even an attempt at founding such a school had been made in the United States. The building—cut granite, commenced in 1780 and completed about the beginning of the present century—is one of the largest, and most beautiful and substantial structures on the continent. It is three stories in height and built on the general plan in Mexico, with capacious patios or court-yards surrounded by broad corridors, everything being of stone, even down to the floors. From the flat stone roof the view of the city is magnificent. The college was intended to give young men a complete practical education in all that pertains to mines and mining, engineering, etc., etc. Provision was made for an astronomical observatory, and the scientific apparatus was always of the latest, best, and most complete character. But the college has suffered sadly from war and violence, and it will take years of peace to fully restore it. In 1846—7, the American troops were quartered there. What damage they did I am of course unable to say, but it is certain that when the French evacuated Mexico, a vast number of the richest and most intrinsically valuable specimens in the collection of minerals and metals disappeared; and a great portion of the most costly scientific apparatus had been wantonly destroyed, or rendered useless when the Republicans re-entered the city. At present there are but about thirty students in the college which could easily accommodate five hundred, or even one thousand. Efforts are being made to repair the damage, and place the college once more in a perfect condition.

The collection of minerals, all neatly arranged in glass cases, and carefully catalogued and labeled, is very large; larger, I think, than any two in the United