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main at this day. The cruelty of the Europeans has entirely extirpated the old inhabitants of the West Indies; the continent of America, however, has witnessed no such horrible result. The number of Indians in New Spain exceeds two millions and a half, including those only who have no mixture of European or African blood. It is still more consolatory, that the indigenous population, far from declining, has been considerably on the increase for the last fifty years, as is proved by the registers of capitation or tribute · The Indians appear to fórın two-fifths of the whole population of Mexico. In the four intendancies of Guanaxuato, Valladolid, Oaxaca, and La Puebla, this population amounts even to three-fifths. The census of 1793 gave the following result.
Names of intendancies. Total population. Number of Indians. Guanaxuato . 398,000 175,000 Valladolid . 290,000 . 119,000 Puebla ... 638,000 i 416,000 Oaxaca . . . 411,000 363,000
To give an accurate idea of the indigenous in habitants of New Spain, it is not enough to paint them in their present state of degradation and misery ; we must go back to a remote period, when, governed by its own laws, the nation could display its native energy; and we must consult the hiero
glyphical paintings, buildings of hewn stone, and works of sculpture still in preservation, which though they attest the infancy of the arts, yet bear a striking analogy to several monuments of the most civilized people. The nature of this work does not permit us to enter into such details, however interesting they may be, both for the history and the psychological study of our species. We shall merely point out here a few of the most prominent features of the immense picture of American indigenous population.
The Indians of New Spain bear a general resemblance to those who inhabit Canada, Florida, Peru, and Brasil. They have the same swarthy and copper colour, flat and smooth hair, small beard, squat body, long eye, with the corner directed upwards towards the temples, prominent cheek bones, thick lips, and an expression of gentleness in the mouth, strongly contrasted with a gloomy and severe expression of eye. The American race, after the hyperborean race, is the least numerous; but it occupies the greatest space on the globe. ; !
Intellectual cultivation is what contributes the most to diversify the features. In barbarous nations there is rather a physiognomy peculiar to the tribe or horde, than to any individual. When we compare our domestic animals with those which inhabit our forests, we make the same observation. But an European, when he decides on the strong resemblance among the copper-coloured races, is subject to a particular illusion. He is struck with a complexion so different from our own, and the uniformity of this complexion conceals for a long time from himn the diversity of individual features. The new colonist at first can hardly distinguish the natives, because his eyes are less fixed on the gentle, melancholy, or ferocious expression of the countenance, than on the red coppery colour, and black coarse hair, so straight and glossy that it always appears wet.
As to the moral faculties of the Indians, it is difficult to appreciate them with justice, if we only consider this long oppressed caste in their present state of degradation. The better sort of Indians, among whom a certain degree of intellectual culture might be expected, perished in great numbers, at the commencement of the Spanish conquest, the victims of European ferocity. The Christian fanaticism was particularly directed against the Aztec priests; and the Teopixqui, or ministers of the divinity, and all those who inhabited the Teocalli, or houses of God, who might be considered as the depositories of the historical, mythological, and astronomical knowledge of the country, were exterminated; the priests observed the meridian shades in the gnomons, and regulated the calendar. The monks burned the hieroglyphical paintings, by which every kind of knowledge was transmitted from generation to generation. The people, deprived of these means of instruction, were plunged
in an ignorance so much the deeper, as the Missionaries were unskilled in the Mexican languages, and could substitute few new ideas in the place of the old. The remaining natives then consisted only of the most indigent race, poor cultivators, artisans, among whom were a great number of weavers, porters, who were used like beasts of burden, and especially of those dregs of the people, those crowds of beggars, who bore witness to the imperfection of the social institutions, and the existence of feudal oppression, and who filled, in the time of Cortez, the streets of all the great cities of the Mexican empire. How shall we judge, then, from these miserable remains of a powerful people, of the degree of cultivation to which it had risen from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, and of the intellectual development of which it is susceptible ? If all that remained of the French or German nation were a few poor agriculturists could we read in their features that they belonged to nations which had produced a Descartes and Clairaut, a Kepler and a Leibnitz ?
How is it possible to doubt that a part of the Mexican nation had arrived at a certain degree of cultivation, when we reflect on the care with which their hieroglyphical books were composed, and when we recollect that a citizen of Tlascala, in the midst of the tumults of war, took advantage of the facility offered him by our Roman alphabet to write in his own language five large volumes on the
history of a country of which he deplored the subjection?.
In the portrait which we draw of the different races of men composing the population of New Spain, we shall merely consider the Mexican Indian in his actual state. We perceive in him neither that mobility of sensation, gesture, or feature, nor that activity of mind, for which several nations of the equinoctial regions of Africa are so advantageously distinguished. There cannot exist a more marked contrast than that between the impetuous vivacity of the Congo Negro, and the apparent phlegm of the Indian. From a feeling of this contrast, the Indian women not only prefer the Negros to the men of their own race, but also to the Europeans. The Mexican Indian is grave, melancholy, and silent, so long as he is not under the influence of intoxicating liquors. This gravity is peculiarly remarkable in Indian children, who at the age of four or five display much more intelligence and maturity than White children. The Mexican loves to throw a mysterious air over the most indifferent actions. The most violent passions are never painted in his features; and there is something frightful in seeing him pass all at once from absolute repose to a state of violent and unrestrained agitation. The Peruvian Indian possesses more gentleness of manners; the energy of the Mexican degenerates into 'harshness, '. These differences may have their origin in the different