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These poor Indians inhabit the ruins of the palace of Atahuallpa. Garcilasso relates, that the Indians imitated the crowing of the cock, by pronouncing in cadence words of four syllables. The partisans of Huescar had composed burlesque songs in derision of Atahuallpa, and three of his generals, named Quilliscacha, Chalchuchina, and Ruminavi. When we consult languages as historical monuments, we must care. fully distinguish what is ancient from what has been naturalized by custom. The Peruvian word for a cat, micitu, is as modern as huallpa. The Peruvians formed micitu from the radicalmiz, because they observed that the Spaniards made use of it in calling the cat, and they believed, therefore, miz to be the name of the animal.
It is a very singular phisiological phenomenon, that on the Table Land of the city of Cuzco, more elevated and colder than that of Mexico, hens have only begun to season to the climate, and to propagate, within the last thirty years. Till that period, all the chickens perished immediately after hatching. At present, the different varieties of hens, especially those of Mosambique, of which the flesh is black, have become common in both hemispheres, wherever the people of the old continent have penetrated. Several tribes of Savage Indians, who live in the vicinity of European
settlements have procured them.
When we were at Tomependa, on the banks of the river Amazons, we saw several families of Xibaros Indians, who had established themselves at Tatumbero in an almost inaccessible place between the cataracts of Yaraquisa and Patorumi ; and several hens were seen in the huts of these savages, when they were visited, for the first time, some years ago.
New Spain has supplied Europe with the largest and most useful of domestic gallinaceous birds, the turkey (totolin or huexolotl) which was formerly found wild on the back of the Cordilleras, from the Isthmus of Panama 'to New England. Cortez relates that several thousands of these birds which he calls hens (gallinas) were fed in the poultry-yards of the castles of Montezuma. From Mexico the Spaniards carried them to Peru, to Terra Firma, (Castilla del Oro) and the West India Islands, where Oviedo described them in 1515. Her. nandez even then very well observed that the wild turkies of Mexico were much larger than the domestic ones. The former are only now to be found in the northern provinces. They withdraw towards the north in proportion as the population increases, and consequently, the forests become more rare. An intelligent traveller, to whom we owe a very interesting description of the countries to the west of the
Alleghany mountains*, M. Michaux, informs us that the wild turkey of Kentucky sometimes weighs even 40 pounds; an enormous weight for a bird which flies so rapidly, especially when pursued. When the English, in 1584, landed in Virginia, turkies had for fifty years been introduced into Spain, Italy, and England.t. This bird did not then pass from the United States into Europe, as has been falsely maintained by many naturalists.
The Pintades (numida meleagris) designated so happily by the ancients under the name of aves guttatæ, are very rare in Mexico, while they have grown wild in the Island of Cuba. 'As to the musk-duck (anas moschata) called by the Germans, Turkish duck, which has become so common in our poultry-yards, Europe is indebted for it also to the New Continent. We found it wild on the banks of the river Madelena, where the male grows to a prodigious size. The ancient Mexicans had tame. ducks which they annually plucked, as the feathers were an important object of commerce. These ducks appear to have been crossed with the species introduced into Europe. The
goose is the only one of the birds of our poultry-yards which is no where to be found in the Spanish Colonies of the New Continent.
* Voyage de Michaux, p. 190.
The cultivation of the mulberry, and the rearing of silk-worms, were introduced by the care of Cortez, a few years after the siege of Tenochtitlan. There is a mulberry tree on the ridge of the Cordilleras peculiar to the equinoctial regions, the morus acuminata, Bonpl. which we found wild in the kingdom of Quito, near the villages of Piso and Puembo. · The leaf of this mulberry is not so hard as that of the red mulberry, (M. rubra) of the United States, and the silk-worms eat it like that of the white mulberry of China. This last tree, which, according to Olivier de Serres, was only planted in France, in the reign of Charles the Eighth, about the year 1494, was already very common in Mexico, about the middle of the 16th century. A considerable quantity of silk was then produced in the Intendancy of la Puebla, in the environs of Pa. nuco *, and in the Province of Oaxaca, where several villages of the Misteca still bear the names of Tepexe de la Seda (Silk), and San Francisco de la Seda. · The policy of the Council of the Indies, constantly unfavourable to the manufactures of Mexico, on the one hand, and on the other, the most active commerce with China, and the interest which the Philippine Company have in selling the Asiatic silks to the Mexicans, seem to be the principal causes of the gradual annihilation of this
* La Florida del Inca (Madrid, 1723) t. i. p. 258.
branch of colonial industry. A few years ago, an individual at Queretaro, proposed to the government the making of large plantations of mulberry, in one of the finest valleys of Mexico la Cañada of the baths of San Pedro, inhabited by more than three thousand Indians. The rearing of silk-worms requires less care than cochineal, and the character of the natives renders them extremely fit for every sort of labour, which requires great patience and minute care. The Cañada, which is two leagues from Queretaro, towards the north-east, constantly enjoys a mild and temperate climate. The Lavrus persea is only now cultivated there, and the viceroys, who dread to infringe on what is called, in the colonies, the rights of the Mother Country, have been unwilling to admit the substitution of mulberries to the present species of cultivation.
New Spain has several species of indigenous caterpillars, which spin silk in the manner of the Bombyx Mori of China, but which have never yet been sufficiently examined by entomologists. The silk of the Misteca, derived from these animals, an object of commerce even in the time of Montezuma. Handkerchiefs are still manufactured in the intendancy of Oaxaca of this Mexican silk. We purchased some on the road to Acapulco, at Chilpanzingo.