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ter to render, if possible by the ordinary inoculation, the disease less fatal. He thus perceived in an indirect way the effects of a vaccination supposed to have failed. It was accidentally discovered in the course of the same epidemic in 1802, that the beneficent effect of vaccination had been long known to the country people among the Peruvian Andes. A negro slave had been inoculated for the small-pox in the house of the Marquis de Valleumbroso who showed no symptom of the disease. They were going to repeat the inoculation, when the young man told them that he was certain of never having the small-pox, because in milking cows in the Cordillera of the Andes, he had had a sort of cutaneous eruptions, caused, as the Indian herdsmen said, by the contact of certain tubercules sometimes found on the udders of cows. Those who have had this eruption, said the negro, never take the small-pox. The Africans, and especially the Indians, display great sagacity in observing the character, habits, and diseases of the animals with which they live. We "need not therefore be astonished, that, on the introduction of horned cattle into America, the lower people remarked that the pustules on the udders of cows communicated to the herdsmen a species of benignant smallpox, and that those once infected are secure from the general contagion during the epochs when the disease is epidemical.
The matlazahuatl, a disease peculiar to the Indian race, seldom appears more than once in a century. It raged in a particular manner in 1545, 1576, and 1736. It is called a plague by the Spanish authors. As the latest epidemic took place at a time when medicine was not considered a science, even in the capital, we have no exact data as to the matlazahuatl. It bears certainly some analogy to the yellow fever or black vomiting; but it never attacks white people, whether Europeans or descendants from the natives. The individuals of the race of Caucasus * do not appear subject to this mortal typhus, while, on the other hand, the yellow fever or black vomiting very seldom attacks the Mexican Indians. The principal site of the vomito prieto is the maritime region, of which the climate is excessively warm and humid ; but the matlazahuatl carries terror and destruction into the very interior of the country, to the central table-land, and the coldest and most arid regions of the kingdom. Father Torribio a Franciscan, better known by his Mexican name of Motolinia, asserts that the small-pox at its introduction in 1520, by a negro slave of Narvaez, carried off the half of the inhabitants of Mexico. Torquemada advances the hazardous opinion that in the two matlazahuatl epidemics of 1545 and 1576, 800,000 Indians died in the former and 2,000,000 in the latter. But when we reflect on the difficulty with which we can at this day estimate, in the eastern part of Europe, the number of those who fall victims to the plague, we shall very reasonably be inclined to doubt if the viceroys Mendoza and Almanza, governors of a recently conquered country, were able to procure an enumeration of the Indians cut off by the matlacahuatl. I do not accuse the two monkish historians of want of veracity; but there is very little probability that their calculation is founded on exact data. A very interesting problem remains to be resolved. Was the pest, which is said to have desolated from time to time the Atlantic regions of the United States before the arrival of the Europeans, and which the celebrated Rush and his followers look upon as the principle of the yellow fever, identical with the matlazahuatl of the Mexican Indians ? We may hope that this last disease, should it ever re-appear in New Spain, will be hereafter carefully observed by the physicians. A third obstacle to the progress of population in New Spain, and perhaps the most cruel of all, is famine. The American Indians, like the inhabitants of Hindostan, are contented with the smallest quantity of aliment on which life can be supported, and increase in number without a proportional increase in the means of subsistence. Naturally indolent, from their fine climate and generally fertile soil, they cultivate as much maize, potatoes, or wheat as is necessary for their own subsistence, or at most for the additional consumption of the adjacent towns and mines. Agriculture, it is true, has made great progress within the last twenty years; but the consumption has also increased in an extraordinary manner from the augmentation of population, and an excessive luxury formerly unknown to the mixed casts, and from the working of a great number of new seams, which require additional men, horses, and mules. Few hands, no doubt, are employed in manufactures in New Spain; but a great number are withdrawn from agriculture from the necessity of transporting on mules goods and the produce of the mines, iron, powder, and mercury from the coast to the capital, and from thence to the mines along the ridge of the Cordilleras. Thousands of men and animals pass their lives on the great roads between Vera Cruz and Mexico, Mexico and Acapulco, Oaxaca and Durango, and the cross roads by which provisions are carried to the habitations established in arid and uncultivated regions. This class of inhabitants,
* Who are the individuals of the race of Caucasus 2 The Europeans. So at least we learn from the context where they are opposed to the Mexican Indians. This involves the theory of the mountains of Asia being the nursery of the old continent. Every one however will not so easily be able to understand Europeans by this denomination. Such attempts to elevate the style, at the expense of perspicuity, can never enough be reprobated. Trans.
called by the economists in their system, sterile and nonproductive, is consequently more numerous in America than might be expected in a country where manufacturing industry is yet so little advanced. The want of proportion between the progress of population and the increase of food from cultivation renews the afflicting spectacle of famine, whenever a great drought or any other local cause has damaged the crop of maize. Scarcity of provisions has always been accompanied in all times and all parts of the globe with epidemical diseases fatal to population". The want of nourishment in 1784 gave rise to asthenical diseases among the most indigent class of the people. These accumulated calamities cut off a great number of adults, and a still greater number of children; and it was computed that in the town and mines of Guanaxuato more that 8000 individuals perished. A very remarkable meteorological phenomenon contributed principally to the scarcity: the maize, after an extraordinary drought, was nipt by frost on the
* This position requires qualification. Dr. Smith has, I believe, well remarked that in years of scarcity there are, perhaps, fewer diseases and deaths than usual, from the diminished consumption of spirituous liquors by the common people, one of the most productive sources of disease. The position will undoubtedly, however, hold with regard to a Hindoo or Indian population, who in years of plenty have no more than merely supports animal life, and to whom, therefore, any reduction must always prove fatal. Trans,