Page images
PDF

In Spain it is almost a title of nobility to descend neither from Jews nor Moors. In America, the greater or less degree of whiteness of skin decides the rank which man occupies in society. A white who rides barefooted on horseback thinks he belongs to the nobility of the country. Colour establishes even a certain equality among men, who, as is universally the case where civilization is either little advanced or in a retrograde state, take a particular pleasure in dwelling on the prerogatives of race and origin. When a common man disputes with one of the titled lords of the country, he is frequently heard to say, “Do you think me not so white as yourself?” This may serve to characterize the state and source of the actual aristocracy. It becomes, consequently, a very interesting business for the public vanity to estimate accurately the fractions of European blood which belong to the different casts. According to the principles sanctioned by usage, we have adopted the following proportions:

Casts. Mixture of blood. Quarterons . . . negro ; white Quinterons . . . negro ; white Zambo - . 3 negro ; white Zambo prieto . . . negro ; white

It often happens that families suspected of being of mixed blood demand from the high court

of justice (l'audiencia) to have it declared that they belong to the whites. These declarations are not always corroborated by the judgment of the senses. We see very swarthy mulattoes who have had the address to get themselves whitened (this is the vulgar expression). When the colour of the skin is too repugnant to the judgment demanded, the petitioner is contented with an expression somewhat problematical. The sentence then simply bears “that such or such individuals may consider themselves as whites (que se tengan por blancos).” It would be interesting were we enabled to discuss thoroughly the influence of the diversity of casts in the proportion of the sexes to one another. I saw, from the enumeration in 1793, that in the city of Puebla and at Valladolid there were among the Indians more men than women, while among the Spaniards or the white race there were more women than men. The intendancies of Guanaxuato and Oaxaca exhibit in all the casts the same excess of men “.. I never could procure sufficient materials to resolve the problem of the diversity of sexes according to the difference of races, or according to the heat of the climate or elevation of the regions which our species inhabit:-We shall here, therefore, merely content ourselves with general results. In France it has been found by a partial enume. ration made with the greatest care, that in 901,829 souls, the living women are to the men in the proportion of nine to eight. M. Peuchet" appears to adopt the proportion of 34 : 33. It is certain that in France there are more women than men, and, what is very remarkable, that there are more males born in the country and in the south than in the towns and departments comprehended between the 47th and 52d degree of latitude. But in New Spain these arithmetical calculations give a result totally different. The males are in general more numerous there than the females, as is proved by the following table, drawn up by me from eight provinces, or a population of 1,352,000 inhabitants.

* This hardly makes in favour of John Rheinhold Forster’s . theory, embraced with so much ardour by the far-famed Mary Wollstonecroft in her Rights of Women, that the sex of the offspring is determined by the side on which the preponderance of ardour lies in the sexual intercourse. Hence, says she, “there are more females than males in the east; for the females being deprived of their just share in that intercourse, have consequently a more than ordinary share of ardour. Yet here we see that these beardless Indians, who are cool enough in all conscience, and to whom their women prefer any thing that comes in their way, black or white, beget more males than females. Trans. * Statistique elementaire de la France, p. 242.

i

- Proportion
Nanoo and Diversity of races. Males. | Females. o to
- emales.
- Spaniards or whites 53,983 49,310 || 100 : 91
Guanaxuato - - - {: or indigenous 89,753 85,429 100 : 95
Mixed casts - 59,059 59,604 100 : 00
Spaniards - - 40,399 39,081 100 : 97
Valladolid de Mechoacan - {: - - 61,352 58,016 100 : 94
Mixed casts - 44,704 43,704 100 : 98
Spaniards - - - 12,923 || 12,882 100 : 99
Oaxaca - - - Indians - - 182,342 180,738 100 : 09
Mixed casts 11, 163 10,566 100 : 95
Durango - - 60,727 59,580 100 : 08
Sonora + - - - In these five provinces the 20,473 17,832 100 : 87
Cinaloa - - - total of all the races E} 27,772 27,290 100 : 98
Nuevo Mexico - - merely given. 15,915 14,910 100 : 94
California - - 6,770 5,946 || 100 : 87
087,935 | 004,900 mean as

[ocr errors]

100 to 95

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

It follows from my calculations, compared with those made by the ministry of the interior at Paris, that the males are to the females in the general population of New Spain in the proportion of 100 : 95; and in the French empire in the proportion of 100 : 103. These numbers appear to indicate the true state of things; for we cannot conceive why, in the enumeration made by orders of the Count de Revillagigedo, the Mexican women should have more interest in withdrawing themselves than the men. This suspicion is so much the more improbable, as in the great cities the proportion between the sexes appears to differ from that in the country”.

afterwards see, that these presidios in the whole do not contain more than three thousand men. * The Spanish missionaries tell us that among the Indians it is very common for a mother to kill her female offspring, from a wish to preserve her child from the misery which awaits her when grown up. (Gumilla, vol. II. p. 71.) Gumilla used to tax the women with their inhumanity in this respect, who, for answer, generally told him that they wished that they had themselves been deprived of life in childhood; and he gives, as he says, a faithful report of a speech made to him one day by one of these women, which occupies two or three pages. She enumerates the life of hardship which she had been obliged to lead, carrying her children about while working during the day and while her husband was amusing himself, and grinding his maize and preparing it for his breakfast during the night while he enjoyed himselfin sleep. All this, she says, however, could even be borne with; but as she advances in years, the husband takes a young wife, who engrosses his af

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »