Imágenes de páginas

contains 20,000 inhabitants, and of the Andes are beset with frightis the great maritime emporium of ful crevices of immeasurable depth, the interior provinces. This low which have to be crossed by pendudistrict of the coast is burnt up lous bridges, formed of the fibres of with excessive heat, and is exposed equinoctial plants. Over these frail to all the evils of a tropical climate. and tremulous passages the natives

The produce of New Grenada is convey the traveller in a chair atvarious. Its mines, which are ex- tached to their backs, and bending tremely rich, are of the greatest im- forward their body, they advance aportance to its commerce. The

pro cross with a swift step; but, when vinces of Antioquia and Choco are they reach the centre, the oscillation alone richer in gold than any other, of the bridge is so great, that, were and the silver which they produce is they to stop, inevitable destruction also remarkably pure. Gold is col- would ensue; the native and his lected in great quantities on the burden would be dashed to the botbanks of various rivers. Lead and tom of a precipice to whose profound copper are found, though but little depth the eye can bardly reach. sought after ; emeralds, and other These bridges being, from the naprecious stones, are sent to Europe. ture of their materials, frequently Platina, &c. is also produced, and out of repair, present to the shud. mercury has been lately discovered dering European, who visits these to exist in the province of Antioquia, countries, frightful chasms, over and also in the mountains of Quin- which the Indians step with undiu, near the village of Cuenca. Salt daunted confidence. Here is also is also found in great abundance. the region of cataracts, some of which New Grenada produces, besides, excel- are truly magnificent. That of Telent cotton, tobacco, cochineal, coffee, quendama dashes a volume of water, medical drugs, dyes of various sorts, from the plains of Bogota, through and other articles of less importance. an opening in the mountain, to the The secluded situation of great part depth of 600 feet, into a dark and of this country, amid the lofty peaks unfathomable gulf. of the Andes, lays it under the ne In many places, the travellers must cessity of manufacturing for itself wait for a favourable appearance of many articles of domestic use which weather before entering on the everit would be difficult and expensive lasting snows of the mountains, for, to transport from abroad, over the if they were caught in a snow-storm, mountainous deserts which environ they would never again emerge from it on all sides. The trade with Eu. these deserts. There are, besides, rope must, of necessity, be limited, no roads except for mules : in some !st, by the heavy expence of freight places the traveller is carried across in the long voyage round Cape Horn, the defiles of the mountains on men's and afterwards along the whole west backs, there being no other mode of coast of South America, as far as the travelling; and the perils which ocEquator ; and, 2dly, by the still more cur in those wild regions are as nutedious land voyage into the inte merous as they are new and unexrior. The chief port of New Gre- pected, and frequently expose the nada is Carthagena, about 900 miles unwary traveller to swift and inevita from Quito, and 700 from Popayan; able destruction. The vast body of a distance so great, as greatly to im- water which lies locked up in snow pede the transport of European goods, on the higher Andes may, by a sudmore especially in such a country. den thaw, be let loose, and thus the Guayaquil, then, is the chief port moisture, which has been falling for through which Quito and the sur- months in an immense extent of rounding districts send out their country, suddenly pours down, in surplus produce for what they re an irresistible deluge, upon the quire at home. The great difficulty lower grounds. All the mountainof transportation here arises from streams, which are the channels into the passage across the mountainous which the whole accumulated moisand snowy deserts which separate ture of the year may be suddenly those elevated regions from the low poured, in its passage to the vallies, country. In many parts, the sides are liable, in a moment, to be swellcd

into immense torrents, sweeping down must therefore be confined to such ar. from the mountains, in all the ma ticles of export to the lower country, jesty of irresistible power, roaring on the sea-coast, whence is derived, and foaming between their steep and in exchange, a supply of its produce. Darrow banks, until they break out We have but very imperfect accounts over the plains. When we reflect, of the commerce of Quito, Popayan, for a moment, that the whole collect and these sequestered regions; and ed waters of a vast expanse of coun- it may be doubted whether British try are thus suddenly collected into manufactures have yet penetrated to one common channel, we may con this distant market. But if the ceive the vast force of such a mass, country were settled under a free suddenly precipitated from the moun. Government, the enterprise and intains on the plains below. The dustry of the people would soon be passage of rivers, therefore, is one of called forth, the roads would be imthe great obstacles to a free commu- proved, more practicable communinication, in those countries, during cations would be established with the summer, for, in winter, they are the surrounding districts and with insulated froin the rest of the world. the sea-coast, commerce and manuVarious contrivances are adopted for factures would advance, and the whole securing a safe passage over these ri- country would rapidly improve, by a vers. Where the stream is very nar. freer intercourse with the world at row, with high banks, bridges are large, from which it is at present seconstructed of wood, consisting of parated, by the physical obstacles of four long beams laid close together its singular position. over the precipice, and forming a To the south of New Grenada lies path of about a yard and a half in Peru, formerly larger, but diminishbreadth, being just sufficient for a ed, in 1778, by the loss of Potosi, man to pass over on horseback. and several of its richest districts on Where the breadth of the river will the east, which were annexed to the not admit of any beam to be laid viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres. It has across, bridges are thrown over, con- Quito on the north, Chili on the structed of a kind of thin elastic cane, south, on the west the Pacific Ocean, twisted together, so as to form several and on the east the vast and desert large cables of the length required. plains which, under the name of the These are placed together, with Pampas, spread out from the Eastern planks laid in a transverse direction, Andes. It extends along the coast over the lower cables; and the two 375 miles, and eastward, into the inuppermost are fastened to the others, terior, 690 miles. It is divided into in the form of rails, for the security seven intendancies, namely, Truxillo, of the passengers, who would other- Tarma, Guancavelica, Lima, Guamwise be in great danger from the ose anga, Arequipa, and Cuzco. Peru is cillation. Mules and horses cross divided into the upper and lower these rivers by swimming. Other country. There are two chains of rivers, again, whose rapidity, and the Andes which run along the the large stones continually rolling country parallel with the coast and along them, render it impossible for with each other. The one is the animals to cross them in this man- great central chain which rises above ner, are provided with a rope, connect- the limit of perpetual snow, and conel by two posts on both sides, along tains vast deserts, where everlasting which the animal is swung to the winter reigns. The other ridge, which opposite shore. Besides these obsta- does not rise so high, is nearer the cles, many parts of the road are en coast; it forms an inclined plane totirely desert, and the traveller has to wards the coast, from 30 to 60 miles carry a large store of provisions, lest, in breadth, and is called Lower Peru. by a sudden thaw, and swelling of It consists, for the most part, of the rivers, he should be prevented sandy deserts, or of cultivated spots from either proceeding or returning on the banks of navigable rivers, or It will be at once perceived, that the such as are within the reach of artitransport of goods, if they are at all ficial navigation. In this low track bulky, is scarcely practicable in such the climate is sultry; The chief a country, and that its commerce towns in this track, which are situ

ated on the sea-coast, or on the banks in South America, but not only conof rivers, are

taining 5000 inhabitants. The mines Piura, with 7000 inhabitants, 480 of quicksilver formerly produced miles to the north of Lima, 208 north 100,000 pounds of mercury annually. north-west of Truxillo.

The bottom of the mine is 13,800 Sechura, which contains 200 houses, feet above the level of the sea. in lat. 5° 32' S.

Guamanga is 188 miles south-east Paita, a small place on the coast, of Lima. It contains 26,000 inhaconsisting of mud houses. The bay bitants, and is situated on a beautiof Paita is famous for its pearl ful river. Its district contains 60 fishery.

mines of gold, 102 of silver, and one Sana, a small town, 80 miles north of quicksilver. of Truxillo.

Guanta, 20 miles north of GuamMorrope, consisting of 60 or 70 anga. Near it were formerly very houses, 105 miles north - west of rich mines, now abandoned. SouthTruxillo.

east of Guamanga is the district of Lambayeque, on the high road to Vilcas Huaman, whence great quanLima, in lon. 79 56' W., lat. 6° 40'S., tities of woollens and manufactures containing 8000 inhabitants, 95 miles are sent across the Andes to Cuzco. west-north-west of Truxillo.

There are several other districts in Truxillo, on the coast, 480 miles this neighbourhood, situated amid south of Quito, 268 miles north- the heights of the Andes, and anorth-west of Lima, surrounded with bounding in mines of gold and silver. a low brick wall, and containing About 550 miles east-south-east of 5800 inhabitants.

Lima is the city of Cuzco, containIn Upper Peru, which consists of ing 32,000 inhabitants, and adorned a valley between the two parallel with various magnificent edificés. ridges of the Andes, already men Its district contains nineteen mines tioned, there are very productive sil- of silver. North of Cuzco, 60 miles, ver mines, some of which are almost is the town of Abancay, in a dis2300 feet higher than the city of trict of the same name, skirted with Quito. We have in this district the the snowy Andes. Among those towns of

mountains there are various other Tarma, 103 miles east-north-east extensive districts, many of them of Lima, in lat. 11° 35' S. It con cold and in hospitable, with warm and tains 5600 inhabitants.

fertile valleys interspersed, and but Guamalies, 150 miles east of Trux- thinly inhabited. illo, and 240 north-east of Lima, no The commerce of Peru is carried ted for its manufactures of serges, on through three channels ; namely, baizes, and other stuffs. It is situ- by the straits of Magellan, from Euated in a cold climate.

rope; through the North Pacific, Guailas, 150 miles from Lima. from India and Mexico, or GuatiSome gold is found in the mines of mala ; and through the interior, with this district.

the southern provinces of Chili and Caxatambo, 105 miles west of Li. Buenos Ayres. Since the trade was ma, where baize is manufactured, unshackled, in 1778, its exports and and, in the neighbourhood, silver imports have been doubled ; and the mines are wrought.

principal branch of its commerce is • Conchucos, 120 miles north-east that carried on round Cape Horn. of Lima, also a manufacturing place, Its exports are chiefly gold, silver, and containing, in its district, nu. sugar, pimento, salt, Vucana wool, merous silver mines.

coarse woollens, and some trifling Guancavelica has long been fa manufactures. Its imports are gemous for the productive silver mines nerally all sorts of European manuin its neighbourhood. It is 120 miles factures, which can be sold cheaper north-east from Lima. It stands in an than the same articles can be manuelevated situation, 12,308 feet above factured at home. The produce of the level of the sea, and is liable to the country is carried, on the backs storms of snow and hail. It has de- of mules, to Buenos Ayres, across clined from its former importance, the mountains, by the route of Arehaving been one of the richest cities quipa and Cuzco. The chief ex

ports are brandy, wine, maize, sugar, 7200 feet in breadth. About six and woollenş. Buenos Ayres used miles distance from this is a mounformerly to import woollens from tain which contains a prodigious mass Quito, but, since the intercourse of ore, of fine porous brown ironhas been opened with Europe, the stone, interspersed with pure silver. woollens of Quito have been super. In a soft vein of white metallic clay, seded by those of Europe. Paraguay about two to ten lbs. of silver are tea is a great article of import, which found in every hundred-weight. In is infused in the same manner as the some places, the country is filled with China tea, and is in as general use silver ore. At one place, it is so abun. as the China tea is in Britain. It is dant, that silver ore is found whenin such universal request among the ever the turf is moved, adhering to natives, that, it is said, the mines the roots of the grass in filaments, could not be worked without it. One for more than half a square league. great article of import from the The district of Truxillo is reinarkEastern districts of the viceroyalty able for its rich mines, which have of Buenos Ayres, such as Tucu- furnished to the provincial treasury man, &c. is mules, for the use of the of that place about 44,000 lbs. mines. About 20,000 of these beasts of silver annually. In the province of burden are annually imported in- of Arica, near the small port of to Peru.

Iquique, in a desert, destitute of wa. The most valuable produce of ter, are mines which produce from Peru is its metallic wealth, with 42 to 52,000 lbs. Troy of pure me. which its mountains everywhere a tal annually. Gold is found in albound. These are interspersed with most all the silver mines. veins of gold, and with veins of silver All these mines are under the ores, in which pieces of pure silver, worst possible management. Those solid copper, and lead ore, occur, who have the charge of the works frequently intermixed with white are both ignorant and careless. The silver ore, and virgin silver in threads. great art of mining consists in exIn many parts are rich veins of gold tracting the metal from the substanore in quartz, and gold is also ob ces in which it is imbedded, at the tained by working the mud found in least possible expence, and in losing the beds of the rivers. The gold is as little of it as possible in the progenerally deposited in the higher cess. In both these capital points, grounds, which, being washed down the management, in the Peruvian by the violence of the mountain mines, is extremely defective. Not torrents, is carried, by the impulse only is a great proportion of the meof the stream, until it reaches a tal left in the dross; but an enorlower level, where it is deposited on mous and unnecessary quantity of the banks of the river, and is easily quicksilver is consumed in the proextracted, by the simple process of cess of extraction.

The expence, washing, from the clay or sand in and the trouble of extracting the which it is deposited. The ores precious metals, depends on the nafound in Peru are extremely rich, ture of the substances in which they yielding from 5 to 50 lbs. of silver are deposited. If they are found in for every hundred-weight of ore, soft porous stone, or in clay, there while the average produce of the is nothing more to do than to mix Mexican mines is not above 3 or to those substances with mercury, when ounces to the hundred-weight. the metal and the dross is separated,

The province of Guancavelica con- and it only then remains to separate tains many very rich strata, and the mercury, and the silver or gold ; veins of gold, silver, copper, and lead but when the vein occurs in hard ores, the greatest part of which lie rocks, as frequently happens, the exquite neglected. The mines of Pas- pence is much increased, not only in co, 167 miles south-west of Guancae quarrying out these hard rocks, but velica, yield the yearly average pro- in afterwards grinding them down to duce of 131,260 lbs. Troy, of pure powder, by expensive machinery, metal. These mines are 13,000 feet which it is necessary to do, before above the level of the sea. The bed they can be subjected to the process of metal is 15,000 feet in length, and of amalgamation. In the mines of

Germany, the most ingenious and productive mines are overflowed, perfect methods are in use, for bring which might be drained by the use ing the ore safely, and at the least of proper inachinery. In other parts, possible expence, through the ordeal where the ground is rich in metallic of refinement. Formerly, it is well wealth, no skill or science is displayknown, that nearly all the quicksil ed in searching after the ore; but ver employed in the operation was hosts of needy adventurers are colsacrificed. Now it is mostly pre lected, as if for mere plunder, who served ; and here, in this one article, pierce the ground with innumerable is a great saving of expence. But holes, without order or regulation ; not one of these improved methods so that they are frequently buried are in use in the Peruvian mines. under ground, from the falling in of There is, in every department, the their pits ; and these accidents are so greatest possible waste, and in those common, from the carelessness and which were formerly worked for the avidity with which they remove the benefit of the King, or rather for his earth, without providing the necesloss every species of gross malver- sary supports for the mine, that they sation prevailed to a great degree. are little regarded. In the midst of There was not only ignorance, but this waste and confusion, much vathe most shameless and glaring cor- luable ore is thrown away, and what ruption. In the royal quicksilver mine is got is procured at a vast and disof Guancavelica, the King was char- proportionate expence.

There is ged 166p iastres for every hundred- great scope for reform in the workweight of quicksilver ; which was ing of these mines; and when the about sixty-six piastres above what it independence of the country is once really cost ; and all the errors and opened, and the Supreme Congress unskilful operations in use were so has leisure, from the cares of war, to obstinately adhered to, that when Mr attend to domestic improvement, Helms, the German miner, sent over there is little doubt that this great by the King of Spain, to inquire in- staple branch of industry will be proto the management of the mines, secuted with increased vigour and proposed a new construction of fur greater success. At present, all are naces, by which a smaller quantity united, in one general confederacy, of quicksilver would have been used against improvement, as they profit in the process of extraction, he was by the corruptions which they enopposed by the whole host of the courage. But when a new and more miners, superintendants, and work. vigorous Government is once estabmen, from the highest to the lowest; lished, all those abuses will be inall joined against him, being artful- quired into, and brought to light ; ly persuaded, that his contrivances matters will soon be placed on a difwould abridge manual labour, and, ferent basis ; and the mining trade, in the end, render their services un like all other trades, will participate necessary

The rich delegates, or in the new impulse given, by an enjudges, in the mining districts, are lightened Government, to the country more especially represented by at large. Helms as the greatest villains, who Peru contained, by the last census, enrich themselves by plunder, and 1,076,129 inhabitants, spread over a by continual acts of tyranny; while vast extent of territory, where there they have always numberless pre- is, as in other parts of South Ametexts ready to screen themselves rica, a total want of roads, canals, or from any complaints made to the bridges, to facilitate the transport of Viceroy against them. In many parts, goods between distant parts.

« AnteriorContinuar »