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ACCOUNT OR SODA

SOUTH AMERICA.

able in other respects, so fleeting, ing, the physical state of our litand so independent on each other, tle world is incomparably more evidently shows that they must stable and steady than its moral be attached to one and the same state. round body which makes them revolve altogether with a common motion. Hence it has been con

LAKE" IN cluded that the Sun revolves upon itself with the general motion of these spots, that is, in 25 days

By M. Palacio Furar. and a half, in like manner as

(From Journal of Science and the Arts.) our earth revolves in 24 hours.

1

1 The same calculation, applied to In Maracaybo, one of the prothe spots which have been dis- vinces of Venezuela (48 miles east covered on the other planets, has of Merida, about 8 degrees of in like manner made us acquaint- N.L. and 70 degrees some mied with their rotation.

nutes of W. Lon.), is a valley, As to the nature of these solar called Lalagunilla, · the small spots, it is absolutely unknown. lake. On the south of this valHerschell is of opinion that lumi- ley, which contains an extent nous clouds float in the inflamed of country seven miles in length atmosphere of this star, as clouds and five in breadth, runs that of vapour float in ours.

branch of the Andes which exposes that the body of the Sun is tends along the coast of Feneopaque and dark; and that the zuela, and rising on this spot to black spots observed there at in- the line of perpetual snow, forms tervals are merely the sunimits of La Sierra Nevada of Merida, very elevated mountains, which The waters that descend norththe solar clouds permit us to see wards from La Sierra unite to between their openings. Other form the river Chama, which traastronomers think that the globe verses the neighbouring counof the Sun is on fire, and that the tries, Mucuchies, Merida, Exido, spots are merely immense scoriæ, Lalagunilla, and Estanques, and launched on the surface of that loses itself in the woods which mass by the terrible explosions of surround the lake of Maracaybowhich our terrestrial volcanoes Those, on the contrary, which afford but a feeble picture. But descend southwards from the whatever may be thought of these Cordilliera are received by several conjectures, it seems sufficient rivers communicating with the for us to know, that the solar Apure, which falls into the Orospots are trifling compared with noco. At a considerable height the immense mass of that star; northwards, on, La Sierra, is and that the eruptions of which found the species of Cinchona, they are perhaps the effect take known in commerce by the applace at too great a distance from pellation of Cinchona of Carthaour earth to produce the least ef- gena. fect upon it. Generally speak- The north side of Lalagunilla

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is bounded by a limestone hill. the environs constantly pass some The land rises imperceptibly to- months of the year at Lalagunilla. wards the east and descends gra- The waters of the lake are imdually several fathoms towards pregnated with carbonate of soda, the west, until it reaches that which crystallizes in the dry seatract of country which produces son, and is in that state by the the Cacao (cocos butiracea). The Indians called Urao, bed of the valley is formed of traction of this salt, which is emchalk ; it is situated about 250 ployed at Venezuela to prepare fathoms above the level of the the Mò or inspissated juice of tosea.

bacco, has been long known and The village of Lalagunilla is practised at Lalagunilla. At the situate in the south of the valley; end of the last century, when the its inhabitants, a strong laborious Court of Madrid monopolized the people, are Indians, whose only cultivation of tobacco, the right occupation is agriculture and the of extracting the Urao fell likeextraction of the Urao.

wise to the crown.

On the east Nearly in the centre of the val- side of the lake a magazine was ley is the lake which receives the erected for receiving the Urao, and rain water that descends from the another building as a residence for neighbouring mountains ; but as the Teniente visitador, or captain even during the greatest drought of Gens d'armes, in whom was the lake never becomes dry, it is vested the government of the lake, supposed that it has some springs with a view to prevent a species which supply it with water, in- of smuggling which the Indians dependent of the rains. Its di- are much inclined to practise, by mensions in the rainy season, in secretly withdrawing the Urao. the widest part, are two hundred The water of the lake is of a and ten fathoms by one hundred yellowish green colour, of a saand six. On the eastern side, ponaceous quality, alkaline taste, where the waters are deepest, its and peculiar smell. There is no depth never exceeds three fa- appearance of fish of any kind thoms. To prevent inundations in these waters; the only living to the neighbouring cottages, a c.eature I could observe was an drain is cut on the south-east insect on the borders of the lake, side, which carries the waters which appeared to me a species into the Chama. On the eastern of spiser. side the waters are very shallow, These waters having a strengthand being contracted in width, ening quality, convalescents regive to the lake a somewhat oval sort thither in the morning to form. It is on this side that bathe, and derive great benefit many aquatic plants are found. from them in some cutaneous The air of the valley being very diseases. In many disorders indry, the climate mild, the sky se- cident to horses they are likewise rene, the country in a high state very efficacious. of cultivation, and the view of La When the period for the exSierra Neveda truly sublime, traction of the Urao arrives, residence here is delightful, and which is every two years, those many families from Merida and Indians of Lalagunilla, who are

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devoted to this employment, and nearly two months, produces from who are called Huragueros, are 1000 to 1600 weight of Urao, embodied at the residence of the which is the quantity consumed Teniente visitator. The Indians in two years at Venezuela ; but employed at this work are easily if more were required, the lake distinguished by their hair be- would probably furnish upwards coming red. Being, embodied, of four times that quantity. The they proceed, in presence of the difficulty of extracting the Urao Gens d'armes, to sound the lake may easily be imagined, but what with a long pole, at the end of is much worse, considerable danwhich is fixed a bar of iron, which ger attends it. If the Indian serves to break the mineral. diver happens to lose his hold of Having by these means found his pole, or if soine other accithe parts where the Urav is most dent prevent his rising promptly copiously deposited, they divide to the surface of the water, and themselves into different parties indeed the Indians of Lalagunilla (quadrillas), for the sake of faci. are in general but indifferent dilitating their labour. Each party, vers, he is in danger of swallowcomposed of eight, ten, or more ing more or less of the alkaline Indians, fixes a pole in the centre solution. If the quantity drank of the district allotted to them. be inconsiderable, the bad conseSupported by this pole, the Huri- quences may be trifling; but if gueros plunge into the lake, and he happen to drink largely, he beginning by separating a bed of cannot survive it many days. Oil earth which covers the mineral, has been had recourse to in vain. they proceed to break the Urao, Acetic acid might, perhaps, in When they suppose that a consi- such cases be administered with derable part of the Urao is sepa- better effect. Father Rendon prorated from the mass, they dive posed, in 1808, to the Captainfor it, and then rising again above general of Caraccas, to effect the the water, place it in very small extraction of the Urao by sinking canoes (piraguitas), which float a caisson, which when properly round the spot. As there are se- secured should be opened at botveral Indians who explore the tom to get at the soda. This same mine, the work goes on ject, which undoubtedly at low without interruption, but the water might be realised at a same Huraguero is not able to small expense, was rejected as plunge many times successively. impracticable. The work, which begins early, When the extraction of the and always in presence of the Urao is completed, the superinGens d'armes, who are stationed tendant of the tobacco, who reon the borders of the lake, ceases sides at Merida, repairs to Lalaat six o'clock in the afternoon, gunilla, accompanied by the Tewhen the produce of the day's niente visitador and others. The labour is deposited in the royal salt is weighed, and paid for in magazine, and is afterwards ex- the proportion of about one real posed to the heat of the sun. of plata (about seven-pence) the The extraction, which lasts pound. It is then conveyed into

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the general storehouse for tobacco The sale of tobacco, the Mò at Guanare, in the province of dulce, and Chimd, in the CapCaraccas, whence it is distributed taincy-general of Venezuela, proto the lesser warehouses.

duced, in 1804, 700,000 piasters If a heap of tobacco leaves after every expense attending it covered with the green leaves was paid. of other plants be exposed to the I had the honour of transmitsun for a few days, the tobacco ting last year to Baron Humboldt begins to ferment. If then put in Paris, a specimen of the Urao, into á press a red liquor may be which Colonel Duran brought to drawn from it, the exhalations of Europe. It was analysed by M. which are intoxicating, and its Guy Lussac, who pronounced it taste very pungent. This juice to be natron, in no respect difdrawn from the tobacco is called ferent from that found in the Anvir, but when reduced to a lakes of Egypt and Fezzan. The syrup, by evaporation, it is term- mass neither contains sulphuric ed Mò, If the Mò be mixed nor boracic acid, but a little subwith the Urao when dried, corbonate of ammonia. On comroasted, and pulverised, it forms paring the Urao with common the Mò dulce, if the proportions subcarbonate of soda we find that be preserved of an ounce of it contains more carbonic acid and Urao to a pound of Mò, or less water. otherwise Chimò, if two or inore In the environs of Lalagunilla, ounces of Urao be mixed with a as well as in the roads to Merida, pound of Mo.

and especially near the river AlIn the province of Venezuela, barregies, there are some mounand especially in Barinas and part tains which are very distinguishof Caraccas and Maracaybo, Mò able among the others by their is much used, and likewise Chi- superior verdure, and by the mò, which is kept in small horn abundance of some plants, prinhoxes, and occasionally persons cipally the Rosa de Muerto, and put a little into their mouths. precisely the same species of verThe Mò, and especially the Chi- dure and the same plants are mò, produces a copious salivation, found on the mountains where stimulating at the same time the are the mines of rock salt at Zinervous system, which in these paquira, and at Enemocon of climes, where the senses Cundinamarca in New Granada. blunted by the excessive heat, is Finding these siinilarities, I may productive of a degree of plea- venture to form a conjecture, sure.

that in the environs of LalaguIt is likewise used in medicine nilla there must likewise exist for spasmodic complaints, which nuriate of soda, and this being in these countries are both fre- ascertained it would perhaps conquent and dangerous. It is said tribute to explain the formation that a little Chimò held in the of natron at such a considerable inouth protects swimmers from licight above the level of the sea, the electric power of the cramp which is more than sixty leagues fish (Trembladores):

distant from Lalagunilla.

MISCELLANIES.

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MUSTY WHEAT

T

TO THE RIGHT HON. SIR JOSEPH

the large quantities of corn which,

during the last harvest, have been THE following letter at this housed in a damp state, and on

time deserves particular at the great importations which are tention; the scientific author, expected, with the extreme pro. Mr. Hatchett, is well known to bability that a considerable part be one of the most eminent chy- may have contracted must, and mists in Europe.

that thus the object of importation

may be partially frustrated by the BANKS, BART. G. C. B. P. R. S. &c. destruction of a large portion of 1

grain, and the consequent increase Read before the Royal Society, Dec. in the price of the remainder, I 5, 1916.

think it incumbent on me, by My Dear Sir, -The very addressing this letter to you, to great loss which this country lose no time in publishing a proformerly experienced by a con- cess, by which corn, however siderable part of imported grain musty, may be completely purihaving become containinated by fied, with scarcely any loss of must, induced me several years. quantity, with very little expense, past to direct my attention to- and without requiring previous wards discovering some simple chymical knowledge or chymical and economical method by which apparatus. this taint could be removed, and “ The experiments which I you well know that my endea- male were confined to wheat, as Vours were successful; but as being of the greatest importance ; circumstances at that time, and but there can be no doubt that since, did not appear to require oats and other grain may be rethat great publicity should be stored to sweetness with equal given to this process, I contented success : and I have also addimyself with describing it to you. tional satisfaction from being enand a few of my other friends. abled to state, that the efficacy of Now, however, when I reflect on the process may be ascertained by

any

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