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TRAVELS IN SOUTH AMERICA.
band, the prayers commenced, and at their termination, the hands were loosed, and the ceremony was complete. Marriages are formed when the parties are very young, and it is by no means uncom-? mon to meet with mothers not thirteen years old. The climate and the retired habits of the Brazilian women have, early in life, a considerable effect on their appearance. When extremely young, their tine dark eyes and full person make them generally admired, but a few years work a change in their appearance, which long continued ill health could scarcely effect in Europe. It may be said, that their youth extends from ten to twenty-five.
Funerals generally take place at night: the body being conveyed to the church, is exposed to view in full dress, and wearing the most expensive jewels and decorations of the deceased. Afti the service is performed, the bodyis removed into the vault, stripped of its richest habits, some pieces of quick lime laid in the coffin, which is then locked, and the nearest relation receives the key. It is then put into a niche in the wall, and the company retires.
Nothing can exceed the fineness of the climate: the general range of the thermometer during the summer is from 75° to 84° of Fahrenheit. The heavy rains fall in the winter months of July, August, and September, but seldom last more than twenty-four hours.
It is the opinion of Mr C, that in a few years the English trade to the Rio de la Plata will double its present amount. Over a large portion of this part of South America, English goods are only just becoming known, and exchanged for articles which have hitherto remained decaying at the door of the hut, and considered of no value. No manufactures of consequence are carried on by the natives. The Indians manufacture the poncho, which is an oblong piece of cloth, with a hole in the middle for the head, and also a few coarse woollens, which they bring from the interior.
The individual comfort of the inhabitant of Euenos Ayres is confined within narrow limits. The food, as I have before mentioned, is almost entirely confined to meat and verba matte; and his clothes receive but a small portion of his attention. The poncho, before described, covers his shoulders, and the skin of the hind leg of a horse produces him an elegant boot without the assistance of the tradesmen ; with the addition of immense spurs, and a large knife at the girdle, the dress of the Gaucho is complete, except
ing on particular occasions, when the drawers are more ornamented at the knees. The better class dress very much as in Spain; the large cloak, that ready article of dress in a country where little attention is paid to the under garments, still keeps its place. * The ladies generally follow the English or French fashions, though, on the whole, they appear to lean more to the former.
The houses of the Buenos Ayrians are moderately furnished: as in Brazil, the inhabitants have not yet acquired that taste for comfort without which an Englishman has some difficulty in existing.
Every family of respectability has its tertuUa, or evening party, which includes a certain number of persons in the habit of frequenting the house, and at which strangers are received with the greatest kindness and cordiality. The female part of the family is alone seen, or sometimes the gentlemen of the house, but generally both the fathers and brothers are either forming part of another tertulia, or talking politics in the coffee-house. The general amusements are Spanish country dances, of a superior kind to those known by the name in England; waltzing, minuets, and a dance accompanied with words, in which the lady first advances, and sings, " Cielito, mi Cielito," thence termed Cielito, or little heaven. Music also forms a part of the entertainment, and many of the ladies are no despicable performers. Refreshments are abundant, and about eleven o'clock the party breaks up. This takes place night after night. Nothing can exceed the politeness and elegance of the ladies: and a stranger generally would conclude that it was produced by the most finished education, instead of proceeding from innate goodness of disposition.
The greatest delight is taken in horses; every man possesses them in abundance, and not unfrequently spends in their trappings, the wealth which might be. more properly laid out on his own garments. The horse is brought to the door, and tied up, to be ready at any moment for the owner, who would no more think of crossing the street than undertaking a journey on foot. The Buenos Ayrian is continually on horseback: the nets in the river are drawn from the saddle, and the Gaucho bathes from the horse, and swims round it.—The mounted beggar stands at the corner of the street, and asks chae^y; his horse is no more a proof of his being undeserving of alms than the trowsers of the English mendicant. The system of begging has, however, been very much repressed; it was formerly carried on to a great extent, even by the better sort of people, who had a fine example in their friends of the mendicant orders ; one instance may suffice :—A friar, who wished to make a present to D. Manuel de Sarratea, the governor, observed a fine turtle in the market; inquiring the price, he said he would buy it, and soon return with the money: it was put aside for him ; he wai observed to go to the corner of an adjoining street, and beg for some time, for the best of purposes, until he had raised a sufficiency; when, returuiug, he paid for the turtle.
DEPAItTURE FKOM BUENOS AYRES.
On the 22d of February, I commenced preparations for my journey across the continent. The reports of the unsettled state of the Pampas, from the irruptions of the southern Indians, hurried my departure from Buenos Ayres; for any delay, I was fearful, would render the passage altogether impracticable. The more usual mode of performing this journey is on horseback, although carriages can proceed as far as Mendoza, at the foot of the Andes; yet, owing to the irregularity of the track, and the difficulty of passing the deep muddy streams, and the impossibility of making any repairs in case of accident, they are seldom used.
A guide was soon engaged to conduct me into Chile for the sum of sixty dollars. He was tall, red faced, coarse in his manners, and had nothing prepossessing in his appearance. Of this he seemed himself perfectly aware; for when he came to be hired, he brought his daughter, a very nice looking person, to speak for him. He did not turn out exactly what I could have wished: he was called Sebastian Chiclana. There are severalmen residing in Buenos Ayres who make a living by acting as guides and couriers across the Pampas. They are answerable to a certain degree for the life of the traveller, and, in case of accident, would never again be employed.
I procured a Buenos Ayrian recado, or saddle, which forms in itself no indifferent bed. Several folds of coarse woollen cloths are first placed on the horse, to prevent the perspiration which, from the heat and irregularity of work, is excessive, from penetrating ; over which is laid a piece of dressed leather variously ornamented, upon which the recado, or seat, is .placed. This resembles an EnglisVnbutcher's saddle. A strong girth, with two iron rings, secures all this on the horse's back: a sheepskin dyed blue (pillion), and a piece of white leather fcuercito), secured by another girth (sobre cincha), complete'the saddle. The stirrups are gmall, and hung low. The bridle
is very different -from those in use in England: a large ring is attached to the centre of the bit, and being acted on by the lever principle, is extremely powerful. The reins are of twisted hide, with a whip attached. No other bridle would be suf-. ficiently strong to restrain horses scarcely, if at ail, broken in. The moment they feel the weight of the rider, they set off in a hand gallop. This pace and the walk are all they appear acquainted with. Shoes they have none; for the nature of the soil is such that they do not require them, and the expense of them would be equal to the value of two horses.
I limited my personal conveniences to one portmanteau and a mattress. The alforges, or saddle bags, were filled with an abundance of yerba, Chinese tea, a little sugar, and some biscuits. A very large parcel of segars was put in for the demands of the guide, Chiclana, and the posthoys. A pair of ehifles, or largehorns, full of brandy, which my guide soon informed me were excessively leaky, were added to the rest. I was very glad when they were emptied, for, as long as the brandy lasted, Chiclana was constantly stupid; and he subsequently admitted that such a trust was far beyond hi3 powers. In different parts of the journey, these horns were found exceedingly useful for carrying water.
My dress was that of the country; a Cordovese poncho, woollen boots, large spurs, and straw hat. An English carving knife in my boot, and a brace of pistols on my saddle bow, completed my appearance.
Our limits do not allow of our following Mr. Caldcleugh across the plains to Mendoza, a distance of 1000 miles. He narrowly eseaped falling into the hands of the Indians of the Pampas, and one of his landlords formed a) design to assassinate him in the night.
SANTIAGO, THE CAPITAL OF CHILE. J
Nothing can be more irregular yet picturesque than the appearance of St. Iago. Overlooked by the great Cordillera, it rises a mass ot vegetation in the centre of the barren plain. The dark foliage of the olive-tree and the fig, with the lighter tints of the mimosas and algorobas, is so blended with steeples and houses, that the effect is novel and imposing. Dissimilar to Paris, and other large cities, where each house has its separate garden, but in a manner hidden by the lofty tenements which surround it, here, from the little elevation, the town, seen in the distance, appeared overshadowed with foliage.
The streets are regularly laid out, and the houses, constructed of large unburnt bricks, have only, in a few instances, a 185
TRAVELS ,IN. SOUTH AMERICA.
second floor; for, on. account of the prevalence of earthquakes, there is a municipal regulation lo this effect. Most of the houses have extensive gardens, and, for a disturbed country, no style of building can be better adapted, as they are separately little fortresses. The windows towards the street are few, and those stroDgly barricadoed, and the centre gate into the court is equally. protected against intruders. The apartments generally oc-. cupied by the family are on the further side of the pateoor court.
The chief public buildings are the director's palace, occupying one side of a great square, and the cathedral at right angles with it. If the other sides, or the centre, were at all in harmony with them, this square would be, from its situation, a grand feature in the metropolis. The public walk on the bank of the Maypocho, the mint, a large building, the college, and several of the churches, are of course visited by foreigners. The plain on which this city is built, stands at an elevation of about 2581 English feet above the level of the Pacific.
ColO AND SILVER MINES OF CHILE.
It is usually observed in those countries where great mineral riches exist, that the soil is of a barren and unproductive nature; but Chile affords a striking and solitary exception to this rule :—streams abounding in gold wander through the most luxuriant corn fields, and the farmer and the miner hold converse together on their banks. By far the largest proportion of the gold found in Chile, where it is much more abundant than silver, is procured by means of washing the beds of rivers. It is of a very pure quality; but I met with it in no instance crystallized, but in large flattened grains of a peculiarly bright colour. From this circumstance I should be led to conclude that its matrix had been originally some metallic substance, probably the sulphuret of iron. In confirmation of this it may be stated that not unfrequently beds of gold of several inches thick are fallen in with, which certainly have never been disturbed, for the angles are sharp, and could therefore have only been left by some decomposed substance. Some of these beds have produced extraordinary quantities of metal; and if agriculture were more extended they would be met with more frequently.
The only gold mine I visited, which properly deserves the name of mine, was on the road to Valparaiso; it existed in a gangue of iron pyrites, but was neither rich nor extensively worked. The auriferous iron pyrites of Chile are found isolated
and finely crystallized. At Coquimbo, gold is found in a matrix of carbonate of copper.
The silver mines of the Chilian Cordil-. lera are almost entirely worked in veins running through a clay-slate, very similar to that in which the celebrated mine of Potosi exists. Those mines, which are situate near the Pacific, such as Huasco, and some others, are worked through a mountain limestone. Huasco produces extraordinary rich hand specimens of native silver, with the muriate and carbonate of lime (metastatique). The two metals, lead and silver, do not appear so much united in this country as in others.
It is a well known fact, that none of the South American mines produce, at the present day, that vast quantity of metal which they used to do in former times. When first discovered the metal was in great abundance, and within a few feet of, and in some instances on, the surface of the earth. All this has been removed, and the great excavations subsequently made have become full of water, from which the proprietors have not a sufficiency of, capital to clear them. From this cause many of the mines which yielded a large proportion of silver have become entirely unproductive and closed up. The chief falling off, therefore, has been owing to a deficiency of capital, which the revolution has naturally much aggravated; for the chief capitalists were old Spaniards, who, instead of investing their funds in speculations of this sort, were rather calculating how to withdraw and conceal them. These circumstances, which have been perhaps more apparent in Peru and Mexico than Chile, have nevertheless been felt in the latter country, Molini states, that the value of the gold and silver raised in his time (1780) was not under four millions, exclusive of what was smuggled. In 1821, the produce of the mines, including an allowance for contraband, according to D. Manuel de Salas, did not exceed a million and a half of dollars—showing a great deficiency, but one easily accounted for by the reasons above stated, together with the unsettled state of the country.
It seems to me, that the first thing to be done, instead of making fresh excavations, is to supply proper machinery to clear the old mines of water. In many situations this would be exceedingly expensive, whether undertaken by means of an adit or by the steam engine : in using the latter much difficulty would be experienced on the subject of fuel, for it is scarce in the mountainous parts where the ore exists; and the expense of bringing coal from Conception would be heavy. Could this be Overcome, and there is no doubt it might, the mines worked in galleries, and the practical experience of the old workmen, as to the direction of the veins, properly attended to, the produce would be enormous. On the last point, I could not ascertain that the veins ran more in one direction than another, or that it was possible to lay down any rule on the subject. If Chile were to become so settled in its government as to afford perfect security of property, the application of capital to the mines would return a large profit. The quantity of metal still remaining in the Andes must be stupendous; but there is this to be considered, that if all the mines were properly worked, it is more than probable that silver would fall in Europe to a very low price.
The taxes paid to government on the precious metals being moderate, about eight per cent., it is supposed that little contraband is carried on.
It is from the mines of Coquimbo and Copiapo that the large quantities of Chilian copper are imported. I have no data upon which I could rely as to the actual annual produce raised in these mines. The tax paid upon copper is five per cent. Tin, it is said, exists in Chile; but I had ho opportunities of seeing any specimens.
The coal-seams are situate near Talcahuano, the port of Conception. It is found on and near the surface, and from specimens in my possession, there is no doubt it is a regular formation. It is of very excellent quality, and will, before many years have passed away, be looked trpon as one of the chief sources of wealth in the country. For, the trade wind constantly blowing towards the equator, all the towns down the coast, which have in fact been raised to note by mines of some description or other, will be readily supplied with this requisite material.
DEPARTURE FOR VALPARAISO.
On Wednesday, the 11th of April, having procured horses and a guide, I left St. Jago for the port of Valparaiso. For the first six leagues the route lay over the plain of Maypo, thinly covered with trees or vegetation; thence we proceeded over an intermediate chain of hills, called the Cuesta de Prado, to a small inhabited spot called Bustamente. Near this place I visited a gold mine, but the ore seemed of very poor quality; it was embedded in a greenstone rock, with much carbonate of lime disseminated, similar to that on which the capital stands, and the immediate matrix of the gold was sulphuret of ron. The excavation was by no means deep, and few men were employed in it.
Before the ore was sent away to the mill, it was subjected to a slight roasting, performed in the rudest manner, and used more as a test of the presence of gold, than to free it from the dross. After quitting this spot the country became more wooded, and in a few hours we reached the Second chain, called El Sapato. The road to the port is necessarily very much frequented, and some North Americans established a coach to proceed thither three times a week, for the convenience of passengers. The irregularity of the road, and the hills which it was necessary to pass, and which had never seen any thing previously but ox-carts, combined with the doubtful skill of the driver, led those who had business at the port to prefer the more safe mode of travelling on horseback. Obtaining fresh horses at the Cuesta del Sapato, we arrived at seven o'clock in the evening at Casablanca, a small village where I determined to sleep, Numbers of a species of ground-squirrels covered the track between the Cuestas. Leaving the village, which has been subsequently destroyed by an earthquake, early the following morning, we continued our journey with rapidity, and on gaining the summit of another chain, the deep blue waters of the Pacific at once burst on my sight. The sun, which had just broken through a thick fog, gave me all the advantages I could wish; and the bay of Valparaiso, with the ships at anchor, immediately under my feet, presented a most beautiful and interesting scene, and one that remains deeply impressed on my memory. Descending the heights of Valparaiso by a zigzag road, we entered the Almendral, along straggling village which joins the port, where we arrived at eleven o'clock, and an English merchant, who has been since unfortunately drowned on his native shore, and whose hospitality, like that of his partners in the capital, was unbounded, received me into his house. The distance from St. Jago is computed at ninety English miles.
Valparaiso, including the Almendral, forms a street of three miles long, which surrounds a part of the bay. In several places the heights approach the sea 80 closely that the rock (greenstone) has been blown away to allow of a road between them. The houses are generally mean, even the governor's house and the custom-house are of poor appearance; but all the symptoms of great increase of trade are visible in many new erections for warehouses. The forts built to defend the entrance of the bay have been quite dismantled for some time. The population may be estimated at 5000.
TRAVELS IN SOUTH AMERICA.
The streets of Lima are all built at right angles; they are formed of small rounded stones washed down from the mountains, which are extremely fatiguing to the feet; all those in the direction of east and west have a small stream of water running down them) and the Rimac, a mountain torrent, which flows to the sea, passes through a part of the town.
Mr. Caldcleugh subsequently visited the gold mines of Colonel Romnaldo, and other mines; but our selections are already too copious to admit our accompanying him in his inquiries. With subjects of eology and mineralogy Mr. C. appears 'amiliar, and to the study of them par. ticularly devoted. Of this we had an instance in his journey across the Pampas. When flying from the Indians at full gallop, over the rugged parts of the Sierra, strewed with the debris of primitive rocks, he exclaims: " What beautiful specimens I was forced to leave behind! Some of Ihe finest rose quartiever beheld!"
Our extracts will sufficiently testify, that Mr. C's work is neither void of interest nor information. We cannot, however, help accusing him of being a very Indolent author: his travels terminated in 1821, and his work does not make its appearance till 1825—and then far from being digested into the best possible shape. A portion of it is worked into a regular narrative; the rest is in the form of a diary, and has apparently been printed Verbatim from his journal.
Our intention is, in future, to devote more attention to the proceedings of these societies than we have yet done, and which we have hitherto been prevented doing, from circumstances which now no longer exist. We feel an ardent interest iu every project likely to better the condition of the Working People, and it was under this feeling that we ventured to suggest in our ninth number, several new topics which we thought might be advautageously introduced into the discussions of mechanics' institutions. Among other subjects suggested, was that of political economy; in a knowledge of the principles of which.we considered not only mechanics, but all classes, deeply interested. This important science, we rejoice to find, has been introduced to the notice of the Leeds Mechanics' Institution, by Mr. Marshall, the vice-president. The following accouut of this gentleman's lec
ture is given in the Leeds Mercury, and which we copy from the Morning Chronicle:—
"On Thursday evening a lecture was delivered at the Mechanics' Institute, by John Marshall, Esq. the vice-president, 'On the true principles and mutual relation of population and wages.' This interesting branch of economical science was very clearly illustrated, and made level to every capacity. The natural tendency of population to increase beyond the demand for labour, the effect of redundant population in reducing wages, and the check given to population by the misery of the labourers diminishing their numbers, were explained in the simplest manner. It was shown that the labouring classes were comfortable and happy when the supply of labour was below the demand, and wretched when the supply exceeded the demand; and from this fact, Mr. M. took occasion to advise the younger part of his auditors, to make some provision for the support of a family, before they entered into a connexion for life. The Lecturer then spoke of the laws which regulated wages: he showed that the natural price of labour was that which would enable the labourers to maintain themselves and families, without either increasing or diminishing their numbers; and that the market or temporary price of labour was affected by the proportion of the supply to the demand. He then showed the advantages of leaving labour to find its own price, without any restrictions on either the employers or the employed ; and expressed his pleasure at the repeal of the Combination Laws, for which he had petitioned, and which he recommended before the committee of the house of commons. He took occasion to notice the attempts of workmen in many places to impose restrictions on their masters, more odious than those they have themselves been freed from; and he showed that the attempts of the Glasgow spinners had resulted in their complete defeat, and produced heavy loss both to masters and workmen, without the smallest advantage to either."
On this the Editor of the " Chronicle" observes,—" We are astonished that no attempt has yet been made at the Mechanics' Institute in this metropolis, to instruct the people on this subject. The lecture which Mr. M'Culloch delivered last summer, and which we noticed at the time, might be repeated at the Mechanics' Institute with great benefit, and we trust that gentleman, who is about to renew his lectures, will have no objection to communicate to the mechanics the lecture in question."