As respects Central and South America, any estimate of the number of negroes and their descendants of mixed blood must be founded on data still more uncertain that those which relate to the West Indies. Not only are we without any census of modern date to aid in the research, but an element of uncertainty intervenes which even census returns would fail to dispel. The aboriginal Indian races and their descendants of mixed blood are in large proportion all over this country, and are so blended in some portions of it that it is impossible to distinguish between them and the African mulatto of various shades.
Brazil, the only considerable portion of the South American continent on which slavery, exists, contains, of course, by far the larger number of negroes, probably four-fifths, or more, of all that are to be found in Central or South America. Into this country slaves were imported from Africa in considerable numbers as late as fifteen years ago. a
A census, spoken of as official, bearing date June 22, 1831, states the entire population at 5,035,000, of which 2,000,000 are set down as slaves. b The free colored population is not given.
An estimate in the Penny Cyclopedia puts the negro population in 1836 at 2,000,000, namely, 1,600,000 slaves and 400,000 free. c If the proportion here given between slaves and free be correct, and if the census of 1831 may be trusted, the number of free colored of African descent was then 500,000. This would make the entire colored population of African descent in 1831 2,500,000; that is about one-half of the whole population, the other half being whites, Indians, and a mixed race, sharing the Indian blood. From the year 1831 to the year 1856 we find no record of any population returns claiming to be official. In 1856 the Brazilian Government published returns, summing up 7,678,000, but not distinguishing the races.
The latest and probably the most reliable authority on this subject is the work of Kidder and Fletcher on Brazil, form which (p.612) the above returns are taken. d These gentlemen believe the government
population at 800,000, but the general opinion is that it does not exceed 700,000." (Colonies Etrangeres et Haiti, Vol.2, pp.264,265.)
This is the judgment of one whose book is a defense of the Haytiens and of their character, and who is evidently disposed to represent everything as favorably as truth will warrant. Colton's Descriptive Atlas (1863) gives the entire populations of the island in 1860 at 708,500. Some others put it as high as from 800,000 to 900,000. Upon the whole, the data here brought together induce us to believe that these latter figures, like the government estimates to which Scholcher alludes, are an exaggeration; and that in estimating the colored population of the island in 1860 at 755,000 we are as likely to exceed the actual amount as to fall short of it. The number of whites in the island are scarcely worth reckoning.
Diligent search has convinced us that reliable documents as to the actual population of this island are not be obtained.
a M. de Souza, Brazilian minister of foreign affairs, stated, under date May 14, 1853, that the number of slaves imported was:
He added that in 1852 the number imported had been reduced to 700. (Cochin, Tom.2, p.238.)
b Horner's Brazil and Uruguay, p.71.
c Penny Cyclopedia, Vol.5, Art. Brazil.
d Kidder and Fletcher inform us in their preface that their "experience in the Brazilian Empire embraces a period of twenty years;" and they add: "The authors have consulted every important work in French, German, English, and Portuguese that could throw light on the history of Brazil, and likewise various published memoirs and discourses read before the flourishing, `Geographical and Historical Society" at Rio de Janeiro. For statistics tpersonally examined the imperial and provincial achieves, or have quoted directly from Brazilian State papers." (Brazil and the Brazilians, Preface, pp.4,5).