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Te following table will give an interesting view of the population of Cuba compared with the other territories in America, in which slavery exists:
(Free PeoAND Population ple of Co
Distribution of the Continental
Whites. Tour, Mu- Slaves.
0.46 Island of
People of Col'r. 0,18 Cuba, 715,000, 325,000 130,000 260,000 Slaves 0,36
1,00 Whites, 0,06
People of Col’r. 0,09 35,000 342,000 Slaves,-. • 0,85
Whites, .. . 0,09 English
People of Col'r. 0,10 776,500 71,350 Islands, 78,350 626,800 Slaves,.... 0,81
Whites, 0,17 The whole
People of Col'r. 0,43
0,40 2,843,000 482,600 1,212,900 1,147,500 Slaves,.. Archipelago
Whites, 0,81 United
People of Col'r. 0,03 States of 10,525,000 8,575,000 285,000 1,665,000 Slaves, 0,16 America. 1
People of Col’r. 0,26 Brazil, 4,000,000 920,000 1,020,000 2,060 000 Slaves,...... 0,51
The following statements will shew the different fate which has attended the unfortunate race of Africans when brought into the United States and into the West-Indies :
Mr. Gallatin, says Humboldt, calculates that the United States have never received from Africa more than 300,000 blacks. From this stock, the numbers in 1823, armounted to 250,000 free people of colour, and 1,665,000 slaves. 1,915,000 altogether.
The Island of Cuba, up to the year 1925)
had received 413,300 blacks. The Island of Jamaica, 850,000 All the Brit. Islands, 2,130,000
The number existing in 1825, including
free people of colour, 390,000 Do. Do. Do. 380,000 Do. Do. Do. 700,000"
* Humboldt, vol. i. pp. 171, 177.
One cause to which this great decrease in the numbers of the African race may be ascribed, is certainly the unequal proportion of the sexes which were originally imported. For some time females were considered on sugar estates almost as an incumbrance, and on those of Cuba, they are even now only in the proportion of one to four.* In the Partido of Batabano, which contained in 1818, thirteen sugar estates (Ingenios) and seven coffee plantations, (Cufetules) there were 2226 men and only 257 females-eigbt to one.
This, though one of powerful agency, has not been the sole cause of the diminution of the black population, for, in 1823, the females in the island of Jamaica exceeded the males 171,916 to 170,466, so that an equilibrium between the sexes had actually been restored—and must have been nearly so for some time. If we were to judge by report, not by observation, we should say that sufficient care had not been taken in the West-Indies to relieve their slaves, by machinery or by the agency of animals, from the most laborious parts of the works which are necessary to be performed, those which break the constitution rapidly, and, perhaps, incurably. Too much may have been exacted from them, but we know that in manufactures, where the labour is steady, but comparatively light, operatives are called upon to work for many more hours in the twenty-four, than are ever required from the negroes in the United States or in the WestIndies.
One other table on the comparative population of Cuba and the adjacent islands, we will offer to our readers, to show the great difference which exists between what this Island now is, and what it may become.
From this table it appears, that if the population of Cuba was as dense as that of Jamaica, it would exceed three millions of inhabitants, and would not then contain half as many inhabitants to the square league, as many countries of Europe. Indeed, with a population like that of the Department of the North in France, of 5082 to the square league, and who will say that it is not capable of sustaining an equal number of inhabitants, its population would amount to 18,371,430. Java, almost exactly of the same size as Cuba, with a soil not more fertile, and with districts more mountainous and uninhabitable than any in the latter island, contained in 1815, 4,615,250 inhabitants. These, however, are but vague speculations-the rapid increase in the population of Cuba arose from the importation of slaves, which increased with the wealth of the inhabitants, and in ten years, from 1810 to 1820, amounted to 115,420. This source of
population is now cut off from them, and although a few are still introduced by an illicit commerce, yet, from the numberless difficulties and dangers, and merited odium that surround this trade, it must soon cease, and the population of Cuba must augment from its present stock of inhabitants. What will be the ratio of increase when left to its own resources, is a problem 'yet to be solved. From the inequality in the sexes which exists at present among the slaves, being for the whole island nearly in the proportion of 2 to 1, the population must 'for a time diminish. We hope, for the sake of humanity, it will afterwards increase, and advance as steadily and rapidly as it ought to do in so fine a climate, and in a country of which scarcely onetenth part is yet in cultivation.
In perusing the “Essai Politique,” we were frequently amus-. ed at noticing how, amidst his declamations against slavery and the slave trade, Humboldt appears to become deeply interested in the rapid improvement of Cuba, without appearing to recollect that the increase of population and consequently of production was artificial and compulsory, and left no sound basis on which to build any speculations for the future. It will only be after the slave trade shall have been interdicted for a full generation, for at least thirty years, that any valuable conclusions as to its effects on the West-Indies, can be legitimately drawn.
Humboldt makes a short digression to the ancient population of Cuba, more, however, for the purpose of shewing the little dependence which can be placed on the statistical accounts of the ancient Spanish bistorians than of forming himself any theory. This island was supposed to have contained at the time of its conquest in 1511, one million of inhabitants, which, in 1517, VOL. IV.NO. 8.
when the Spaniards had established but a few posts along its extensive shores, and had been engaged in but one slight and momentary war, were reduced to fourteen thousand.
Such, we believe, is the statement of the good Bishop of Chiapa, (Las Casas.) Fray Luis Bertran who is supposed to have returned to Spain about the year 1569, predicted on his return that "the two hundred thousand Indians which Cuba contained would perish, victims of the cruelty of the Spaniards;" while Gomara asserts that in 1553, there no longer remained an Indian on the Island--and the vagueness of any estimates, made by the early. Spanish adventurers at a time when they did not know the population of any one province in their native peninsula, is well illustrated by the errors, which in very modern times, was made by Cook, in his computation of the natives of Otabeite.* Our author supposes that the last remnants of the Indian population, when they found themselves condemned to steady and unceasing labour, to their habits and feelings the most heavy of all afflictions, passed over in their pirogues to Florida, believing, according to their ancient traditions, that they were returning to the home of their ancestors.
We ought not, perhaps, to quit this part of our subject without presenting to our readers some brief sketch of the capital of this Island, and of its inhabitants in general. One or two extracts from each of the works before us, will, we think, be read with satisfaction.
“ The aspect of the Havana, at the entrance of the port, is one of the most smiling and picturesque views which can be enjoyed on the shores of equinoctial America, north of the equator. This site, celebrated by travellers of all nations, has not the luxuriant vegetation which adorns the borders of the river of Guayaquil, nor the wild majesty of the rocky shores of Rio Janeiro, two ports of the southern hemisphere; but the grace, which, in our climates, embellishes the scenes of cultivated nature, is mingled here with the majesty of the vegetable forms, and the organic vigour which characterizes the torrid zone. Amidst impressions so fascinating, the European forgets the danger which threatens him in the bosom of the populous cities of the Antilles—he endeavours to seize the different elements of a vast landscape, to contemplate the strong castles which crown the rocks on the east of the port, the inner basin, surrounded with villages and farms, the palms which rise to a prodigious height, the city half concealed by a forest of masts and the sails of ves
* This celebrated navigator, after three voyages, accompanied each time by intelligent and scientific companions, estimated the population of Otabeite at 100,000, it contains about 8,000, and the two or three hundred thousand inhabitants of the whole Archipelago of the Society Íslands, have been reduced by actual enumeration, to 13,900. Similar deductions we suspect ought to be made from all of the accounts of the Antilles, perhaps, also, of the Continent, given by the Conquistadores, and their historians.
sels. In entering into the port of the Havana, we pass between the fortress of the Morro and the fort of San Salvador de la Punta, the passage is not more than 170 or 200 toises wide, and it preserves this breadth for three-fifths of a mile. Having passed through this channel after having left to the north the fine castle of San Carlos de la Cabana and la Casa Blanca, we enter into a three-lobed basin, whose large axis, directed from S. S. W. to N. N. E. is about two and a half miles long This basin communicates with the three coves of Regla, Guanavacoa, and Atares, of which the last offers some fine springs of fresh
The city of the Havana, surrounded by walls, forms a promontory, limited to the south by the arsenal, to the north by the fort of La Punta. The Castles of Santo Domingo de Atares and of San Carlos del Principe defend the city towards the west, at some distance from the walls. The intermediate space is occupied by the suburbs (arrabales) of Horcon, Jesus Maria, Guadaloupe, and Senor de la Salud, which annually encroach more and more on the Campo de Marte. The great edifices of the Havana, the cathedral, the house of the governor, and of the commandant of the marine, the arsenal, &c. are less remarkable for their beauty than for the solidity of their construction. The streets are generally narrow, and the greater number are not yet paved. As stone for this purpose is brought from Vera Cruz, and the transportation is extremely expensive, they adopted, just before my arrival, the strange idea of substituting for stone the trunks of trees as is done in Germany and Russia, when they construct causeys across marshy soils. This project was soon abandoned, yet travellers who have recently arrived, see with surprise beautiful trunks of mahogany buried in the mud of the Havana.
“ There are two fine public walks, one between the hospital of Paula and the theatre—the other between la Castillo de la Punta, and la Puerta de la Muralla. The last called also la Passeo extra Muros, enjoys a most delightful temperature, and after sunset, is-much frequented by carriages.
“A palm, one of the most majestic of its tribe, the Palma Real, (Oreodora regia) gives to the landscape around the Havana a peculiarcharacter. These palms, which were my delight, were annually disappearing, whilst the marshy ground which I saw covered with reeds, (Bambusaceæ) have been drained and cultivated. Civilization advances, and even now the earth, denuded of vegetables, offers scarcely any traces of its savage abundance. From la Punta to San Lazaro, from la Cabana to Regla, from Regla to Atarès, every where is covered with houses. Those which surround the bay, are of a light and elegant construction. Their plan is given and delineated, and they are ordered from the United States, as one would order a piece of furniture. Whilst the yellow fever prevails violently at the Havana, many retire to these country houses, between Regla and Guanavacoa, where they enjoy a purer air. These rural sites offer to the inhabitants, who fly from the tumult of a populous city, charming and peaceful retreats. Humboldt's Essai Pol. vol. i. pp. 9–15.
* The Island of Cuba has none of those great and sumptuous establishments, of which the foundation dates far back in Mexico; but the