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the south, some tribes would stop in their progress, and mingle with the tribes which followed them. The great variety of languages still spoken in the king. Som of Mexico proves a great variety of races and origin.
The number of these languages exceeds twenty, of which fourteen have grammars and dictionaries tolerably complete. The following are their names: the Mexican or Aztec language; the Otomite; the Tarasc ; the Zapotec; the Mistec ; the Maye, or Yucatan ; the Totonac; the Popolouc; the Ma.lazing ; the Huastec ; the Mixed ; the Caquiquel; the Taraumar; the Tepehuan; and the Cora. It appears that the most part of these languages, far from being dialects of the same (as some authors have falsely advanced), are at least as different from one another as the Greek and the German, or the French and Polish. This is the case at least with the seven languages of New Spain, of which I possess the vocabularies. The variety of idioms spoken by the people of the new continent, and which, without the least ex. aggeration, may be stated at some hundreds, offers a very striking phenomenon, particularly when we compare it with the few languages spoken in Asia and Europe
The Mexican language, that of the Aztecs, is the most widely diffusęd, and extends at present from the 37° to the lake of Nicaragua, for a length of
400 leagues. The Abbe Clavigero* has proved that the Toultecs, the Chichimecks (from whom the inhabitants of Tlascala are descended), the Acolhues, and the Nahuatlacs, all spoke the same language as the Mexicans. This language is not so sonoroust but almost as diffused and as rich as that of the Incas. After the Me ican or Aztec language, of which there exists eleven printed grammars, the most general language of New Spain is that of the Otomites.
I could not fail to interest the reader by a minute description of the manners, character, and physical and intellectual state of those indigenous inhabitants of, Mexico, which the Spanish laws designate by the name of Indians. The general interest displayed in Europe for the remains of the primitive population of the new continent has its origin in a moral cause, which does honour to humanity. The history of the conquest of Ame. rica and Hindostan presents the picture of an un. equal struggle between nations far advanced in arts, and others in the very lowest degree of civil. ization. The unfortunate race of Aztecs escaped from the carnage appeared destined to annihilation under an oppression of several centuries. We have difficulty in believing that nearly two millions
* Clavigero, t. I. p. 153.
+ The word Notlazomahuiztespiccatatzin signifies, venerable priest whom I cherish as my father. The Mexicans use this word of 27 letters when speaking to the priests (curés).
and a half of aborigines could survive such lengthened calamities. The inhabitant of Mexico and Peru, and the Indian of the Ganges, attract in a very different manner from the Chinese or Japan. ese the attention of an observer endowed with sensibility. Such is the interest which the misfortune of a vanquished people inspires, that it renders us frequently unjust towards the descendants of the conquerors.
To give an accurate idea of the indigenous inhabitants of New Spain, it is not enough to paint them in their actual state of degradation and misery; we must go back to a remote period, when, governed by its own laws, the nation could display its proper 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, bear, however, a striking aralogy to several monuments of the most civilized people. These researches are reserved for the historical account of our expedition to the tropics. 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 di. rected upwards towards the temples, prominent cheek bones, thick lips, and an expression of gentleness in the mouth, strongly contrasted with a gloomy and severe look. The American race, after the hype borean race, is the least numerous ; but it occupies the greatest space on the globe. Over a million and a half of square leagues, from the Terra del Fuego islands to the river St. Laurence and Baring's straits, we are struck at the first glance with the general resemblance in the features of the inhabitants. We think we perceive that they all descend from the same stock, notwithstanding the enormous diversity of language which separates them from one another. How. ever, when we reflect more seriously on this family likeness, after living longer among the indigenous Americans, we discover that celebrated travellers, who could only observe a few individuals on the coasts, have singularly exaggerated the analogy of form among the Americans.
Intellectual cultivation is what contributes the most to diversify the features. In barbarous na. tions 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 great re. semblance 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 him the diversity of individual features. The new colonist can hardly at first distinguish the indigenous, because his eyes are less fixed on the gentle melancholic or ferocious expression of the countenance than on the red coppery colour and dark luminous and coarse and glossy hair, so glossy indeed that we should believe it to be in a constat state of humectation. .
In the faithful portrait which an excellent observer, M. Volney, has drawn of the Canada Indians, we undoubtedly recognize the tribes scattered in the meadows of the Rio Apure and the Carony. The same stile of feature exists no doubt in both Americas; but those Europeans who have sailed on the great rivers Orinoco and Amazons, and have had occasion to see a great number of tribes assembled under the monastical hierarchy in the missions, must hai e observed that the Ame. rican race contains nations whose features differ as essentially from one another, as the numerous varieties of the ruce of Caucasus, the Circassians, Moors, and Persians differ from one another. The tall form of the Patagonians, who inhabit the southern extremity of the new continent, is again found by us, as it were, among the Caribs who dwell in the plains from the Delta of the Orinoca