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Politico-economical investigations, grounded on exact numbers, were very unusual in Spain even before Campomanes, and the minister Count Florida Blanca. We are not then to be astonished that the archives of the viceroyalty of Mexico contain no enumeration before 1794, when the Count de Revillagigedo, one of the wisest and most active administrators, had resolution enough to undertake it. In the operations regarding the population of Mexico, by order of the viceroy Pedro Cebrian Count de Fuenclara, in 1742, the number of families only was estimated; and what has been preserved to us by Villa Señor is both incomplete and inaccurate. Those who know the difficulties of an enumeration in the most cultivated countries of Europe, who know that the economists assi ned only cigliteen millions of inhabitants to all France, and that it has been even recently disputed if the true population of Paris * were 500,000 or 800,000, will easily imagine what powerful obstacles are to be overcome in a country, where those who are employed are little skilled in such kind of statistical researches. Hence the viceroy Revillagigedo was unable to terminate his undertaking; and it appears that the enumeration was not completed in the two intend
* La population habituelle de cette grande capitale paroît être de 547,000 habitans. Peuchet, Stat. de la France, P. 93.
ancies of Guadalaxara and Vera Cruz, and in the small province of Cohahuila.
The following is a state of the population * of New Spain, from the notices transmitted by the intendants and governors of provinces to the vice. roy, previous to the 12th May, 1794 :
POPULATION Names of the intendancies and governments in which the enumeration was completed in of the intend.
ancies and go of the capitals 1793. Mexico
1,102,800 112,926 Puebla
560,443 52,717 Tlascala
59,177 3,357 Oaxaca
411,366 19,069 Valladolid
289,314 17,093 Guanaxuato
397,924 32,098 San Luis Potosi
242,280 8,571 Zacatecas
118,027 25,495 Durango
93,396 Nuevo Mexico
30,953 The two Californias
358,261. 28,392 Total population of New Spain de
duced from the enumeration of
I publish this state from a copy preserved in the archives of the viceroy. I observed that other copies in circulation in the country contain different numbers; for example, 638,771 souls for the intendancy of la Puebla, including the ancient republic of Tlascala.
This result exhibits the minimum of population admissible at the period. The central government, particularly the administrations spread over the interior of the country, soon perceived how far they were from the end which they had in view. In the new continent, as well as in the old, every enumeration is considered by the people as a sinister presage of some financial operation. In the fcar of an augmentation of imposts, every head of a family endeavoured to diminish the number of individuals of his house, of which he was to furnish a list. The truth of this assertion is very easily demonstrable. Before the enumeration of the Count de Revillagigedo, the capital of Mexico, for example, was believed to contain 200,000 inhabitants. This estimate might be exaggerated; but the tables of consumption, the number of births and burials, and the comparison of these numbers with those of the great cities of Europe, all tended to prove that the population of Mexico exceeded at least 135,000 souls; and yet the table printed by order of the viceroy in 1790 exhibits only 112,926. In smaller cities, easier to be con . trouled, the error was still more considerable. Those also who followed in detail the dissection of the registers of 1793, judged that the number of inhabitants who had withdrawn themselves from the general enumeration could by no means be compensated by those, who, wandering about without any fixed domicile, had been several times
included in it. It was supposed that a sixth or a seventh part ought at least to be added to the sum total, and the population of all New Spain was accordingly estimated at 5,200,000 souls.
The viceroys who succeeded to the Count de Revillagigedo have never renewed the enumeration; and since that time, the government has paid very little attention to statistical researches. Several memoirs drawn up by intendants on the actual state of the country confided to their care contain exactly the same numbers as the table of 1793, as if the population could have remained the same for ten years. It is certain, however, that this population has made the most extraordinary progress. The augmentation of tithes and of the Indian capitation, and of all the duties on consumption, the progress of agriculture and civilization, the aspect of a country covered with newly constructed houses, announce a rapid increase in every part of the kingdom. How are we to conceive then that social institutionis can be so defective, and a government so iniquitous, as to pervert the order of nature, and prevent the progressive mul. tiplication of our species in a fertile soil and temperate climate ? Happy the portion of the globe where a peace of three centuriis has almost effaced the very recollection of the crimes produced by the fanaticism and insatiable avarice of the first conquerors !
In order to draw up a table of the population
in 1803, and to exhibit numbers as near to the truth as possible, it was necessary to augment the result of the last enumeration : 1. with that part of the inhabitants omitted to be entered in the lists; and 2. with the excess of the births above the burials. I wished rather to adopt a number below the actual population, than to hazard suppositions which might appear extravagant.
I have therefore lowered the estimated number of inhabitants omitted in the general census, and in place of a sixth adopted a tenth.
As to the progressive augmentation of the population since 1793 to the epoch of my journey, I have fixed if from sufficient data. Through the particular kindness with which I was honoured by a respectable prelate, the present Archbishop of Mexico *, I was enabled to enter into minute investigations on the relation between the births and deaths, according to the difference of climates of the central table-land and the regions a 'jacent to the coast. Several parish priests (curés) interested in the solution of so important a problem as the augmentation or diminution of our species, engaged in a very laborious undertaking. They communicated to me the number of baptisms and burials, yearly, from 1752 to 1802; and from the
* Don Francisco Xavier de Lizana. I am also indebted for very important documents to Don Pedro de Fonte, provisor of the archbishopric. See note B, at the end of the work.