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ing to the epoch at which the colonists were transplanted into such or such a region, and, in short, according to the difference of food in provinces where the banana, the jatropha, rice, maize, wheat, and potatoes, grow together in a narrow space.
A traveller cannot give himself up to researches which require much time, the intervention of the supreme authority, and the concurrence of a great number of individuals interested in accomplishing the same end. It is sufficient here to have pointed out what remains to be done, when the government shall be disposed to profit by the happy position in which nature has placed this extraordinary country.
The operations of 1793, respecting the population of the capital, offer results which are deserving of a place at the end of this chapter. The individuals in this part of the enumeration, below and above the age of fifty, were distinguished according to the difference of cast; and it was found that this epoqua was passed: By 4128 white creoles in a total population of
50,371 ) By 539 mulattoes
7,094 By 1789 Indians
25,603 By 1278 of mixed blood
7 Individuals of other mixed casts 6
Individuals of the same race.
These calculations, while they confirm the admirable uniformity which reigns in all the laws of nature, seem to indicate that longevity is some. what greater in the races which are best fed, and in which the epoqua of puberty is later. Of 2335 Europeans who were living in Mexico in 1793, not fewer than 442 had attained the age of fifty, which by no means proves that the Americans have three times less probability of attaining an advanced age than the Europeans; for the Europeans seldom remove to America till they have come to a mature age.
After examining the physical and moral state of the different casts of which the Mexican population is composed, the reader will no doubt desire to have a discussion of what is the influence of this mixture of races on the general wellbeing of society? and what is the degree of enjoyment and individual happiness, which, in the actual state of the country, a man of cultivated mind can procure amidst such a collision of interests, prejudices, and feelings?
We will not speak here of the advantages afforded by the Spanish colonies from the wealth of their natural productions, the fertility of their soil, the facility which a man possesses there of choosing as he feels inclined, with thermometer in hand, in a space of a few square leagues, the temperature or climate which he believes the most favourable to his age, his physical constitution, or the spe
cies of cultivation to which he is most attached. We will not retrace the view of those delicious countries, situated half way up the ascent, in the region of oaks and pines, between 1,000 and 1,400 metres*, where a perpetual spring reigns, where the most delicious fruits of the Indies are cultivated besiile those of Europe, and where these enjoyments are troubled neither by the multitude of insects, nor the fear of the yellow fever (vomito), nor the frequency of earthquakes. We will not discuss in this place if, without the tropics, there exists a region in which man, with less labour, can supply more abundan ly the wants of a numerous family. The physical prosperity of the colonist does not alone modify his intellectual and moral existence.
When a European, who has enjoyed all that is most attractive in the social life of countries the farthest advanced in civilization, transports himself into these distant regions of the new continent, he feels oppressed at every step with the influence which the colonial government has for centuries exercised over the minds of the inhabitants. A well informed man, who merely interests himself in the intellectual developement of the species, suffers less perhaps than the man who is endowed with great sensibility. The former institutes a comparison with the mother country; from mari
3,280 and 4,592 feet. Truns.
time communication he procures books and instruments; he sees with ecstacy the progress which the exact sciences have made in the great cities of Spanish America; and the contemplation of nature in all her grandeur, and the astonishing variety of her productions, indemnifies his mind for the privations to which his position condemns him. But the man of sensibility must seek in the Spanish colonies for every thing agreeable in life within himself alone. It is in this way that inso. . lation and solitude have their attractions for him if he wishes to enjoy peaceably the advantages afforded by the excellence of the climat, the aspect of a never-fading verdure, and the political calm of tlie new world. While I freely give these ideas to the world, I am not censuring the moral character of the inhabitants of Mexico or Peru; nor do I say that the people of Lima are worse than those of Cadiz. I am rather inclined to believe, what many other travellers have observed before me, that the Americans are endowed by nature with a gentleness of manners rather approaching to effeminacy, as the energy of several European nati ns easily degenerates into harshness. The want of sociability. so universal in the Spanish colonies, and the hatreds which divide the casts of greatest affinity, the effects of which shed a bitterness over the life of the colonists, are solely due to the political principles by which these regions have been governed since the sixteenth century,
A government, aware of the true interests of humarity, will be able to diffuse information and instruction, and by extinguishing gradually the monstrous inequality of rights and fortunes, will succeed in augmenting the physical prosperity of the colonists; but it will find immense difficulties to overcome before rendering the inhabitants sociable, and teaching them to consider themselves mutually in the light of fellow citizens.
Let us not forget that in the United States society is formed in a very different manner from what it is in Mexico and the other continental regions of the Spanish colonies. Penetrating into the Alleghany mountains, the Europeans found immense forests, in which a few tribes of hunters wandered up and down, attached by no tie to an uncultivated soil. At the approach of the new colonists, the natives gradually retired towards the western savannas in the neighbourhood of the Mississipi and the Missoury. In this manner free men of the same race and the same origin became the first elements of a new people. North America,” says a celebrated statesman, “ a traveller who sets out from a great town where the social state has attained to perfection, traverses successively all d grees of civilization and industry, which keep diminishing till he arrives in a few days at the rude and unseemly hut formed of the trunks of trees newly cut down. Such a journey is a sort of practical analysis of the origin of na