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Title: Notes of a naturalist in South America
Author: Ball, John
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    JOHN BALL, F.R.S., M.R.I.A., ETC.


(_The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved._)

    L. M.,


A tour round the South American continent, which was completed in so
short a time as five months, may not appear to deserve any special
record; yet I am led to hope that this little book may serve to induce
others to visit a region so abounding in sources of enjoyment and
interest. There is no part of the world where, in the same short space
of time, a traveller can view so many varied and impressive aspects
of nature; while he whose attention is mainly given to the progress
and development of the social condition of mankind will find in the
condition of the numerous states of the continent, and the manners and
habits of the many different races that inhabit it, abundant material
to engage his attention and excite his interest.

Although, as the title implies, the aim of my journey was mainly
directed to the new aspects of nature, organic and inorganic, which
South America superabundantly presents to the stranger, I have not
thought it without interest to give in these pages the impressions as
to the social and political condition of the different regions which I
visited, suggested to an unprejudiced visitor by the daily incidents of
a traveller’s life.

Those who may be tempted to undertake a tour in South America will
find that by a judicious choice of route, according to the season
selected for travelling, they may visit all the accessible parts of
the continent with perfect ease, and with no more risk of injury to
health, or of bodily discomfort, than they incur in a summer excursion
in Europe. The chief precaution to be observed is to make the visit
to Brazil fall in the cool and dry season, extending from mid-May to
September. It may also be well to mention that, while the cost of
passage and expenses on board, for a journey of about 18,400 miles by
sea, somewhat exceeded £170, my expenses during about ten weeks on
land, without any attempt at economy, did not exceed £100.

The reader may regard as superfluous the rather frequent references
to the meteorology of the various parts of the continent which I was
able to visit. But, if he will consider the importance of the two main
elements--temperature and moisture--in regulating the development
of organic life in past epochs, and the influence which they now
exercise on the character of the human population, he will admit that a
student of nature could not fail to make them the objects of frequent
attention, the more especially as many erroneous impressions as to the
climate of various parts of South America are still current, even
among men of science.

I make no pretension to add anything of importance to our store of
positive knowledge respecting the region described in this volume; I
shall be content if it should be found that I have suggested trains of
thought that may lead others to valuable results. I venture, indeed, to
believe that the argument adduced in the sixth chapter, as to the great
extent and importance of the ancient mountains of Brazil, approaches
near to demonstration, and that the recognition of its validity will
be found to throw fresh light on the history of organic life in that
region of the globe.

In the Appendices to this volume two subjects of a somewhat technical
character, not likely to interest the general reader, are separately
discussed. With regard to both of them, my aim has been to show that
the opinions now current amongst men of science do not rest upon
adequate evidence, and that we need further knowledge of the phenomena,
discoverable by observation, before we can safely arrive at positive

In deference to the prejudices of English readers, which are
unfortunately shared by many scientific writers, the ordinary British
standards of measure and weight have been followed throughout the
text, as well as the antiquated custom of denoting temperature by the
scale of Fahrenheit’s thermometer. With regard to the metrical system
of measures and weights, I am fully aware of its imperfections, and
if the question were now raised for the first time I should advocate
the adoption of some considerable modifications. But seeing that no
other uniform system is in existence, and that the metrical system has
been adopted by nearly all civilized nations, I cannot but regret that
my countrymen should retain what is practically a barrier to the free
interchange of thought with the rest of the world. The defects of the
metrical system are mainly those of our decimal system of numeration,
which owes its existence to the fact that the human hand possesses five
fingers. If in some future stage of development our race should acquire
a sixth finger to each hand, it may then also acquire a more convenient
system of numeration, to which the scale of measures would naturally
be adapted. In the mean time the advantages of a uniform system far
outweigh its attendant defects.

The adherence to the Fahrenheit scale for the thermometer is even
less defensible. It belongs to a primitive epoch of science, when a
knowledge of the facts of physics was in a rudimentary stage, and its
survival at the present day is a matter of marvel to the student of

I should not conclude these prefatory words without expressing my
obligations to many scientific friends whom I have from time to time
consulted with advantage; and I must especially record my obligation to
Mr. Robert Scott, F.R.S., who has on many occasions been my guide to
the valuable materials available in the library of the Meteorological



    Voyage across the Atlantic--Barbadoes--Jamaica--Isthmus of
    Panama--Buenaventura, tropical forest--Guayaquil and the
    river Guayas--Payta--The rainless zone of Peru--Voyage to
    Callao                                                             1


    Arrival at Callao--Quarantine--The war between Chili and
    Peru--Aspect of Lima--General Lynch--Andean railway to
    Chicla--Valley of the Rimac--Puente Infernillo--Chicla--
    Mountain-sickness--Flora of the Temperate zone of the Andes--
    Excursion to the higher region--Climate of the Cordillera--
    Remarks on the Andean flora--Return to Lima--Visit to a
    sugar-plantation--Condition of Peru--Prospect of anarchy          56


    Voyage from Callao to Valparaiso--Arica--Tocopilla--Scenery of
    the moon--Caldera--Aspect of North Chili--British Pacific
    squadron--Coquimbo--Arrival at Valparaiso--Climate and
    vegetation of Central Chili--Railway journey to Santiago--
    Aspect of the city--Grand position of Santiago--Dr. Philippi--
    Excursion to Cerro St. Cristobal--Don B. Vicuña Mackenna--
    Remarkable trees--Excursion to the baths of Cauquenes--The
    first rains--Captive condors--Return to Santiago--Glorious
    sunset                                                           118


    Baths of Apoquinto--Slopes of the Cordillera--Excursion to
    Santa Rosa de los Andes and the valley of Aconcagua--Return to
    Valparaiso--Voyage in the German steamer _Rhamses_--Visit to
    Lota--Parque of Lota--Coast of Southern Chili--Gulf of Peñas--
    Hale Cove--Messier’s Channel--Beautiful scenery--The English
    narrows--Eden harbour--Winter vegetation--Eyre Sound--Floating
    ice--Sarmiento Channel--Puerto Bueno--Smyth’s Channel--
    Entrance to the Straits of Magellan--Glorious morning--Borya
    Bay--Mount Sarmiento                                             188


    Arrival at Sandy Point--Difficulties as to lodging--Story of
    the mutiny--Patagonian ladies--Agreeable society in the
    Straits of Magellan--Winter aspect of the flora--Patagonians
    and Fuegians--Habits of the South American ostrich--Waiting
    for the steamer--Departure--Climate of the Straits and of the
    southern hemisphere--Voyage to Monte Video--Saturnalia of
    children--City of Monte Video--Signor Bartolomeo Bossi; his
    explorations--Neighbourhood of the city--Uruguayan politics--
    River steamer--Excursion to Paisandu--Voyage on the Uruguay--
    Use of the telephone--Excursion to the camp--Aspect of the
    flora--Arrival at Buenos Ayres--Industrial Exhibition--
    Argentine forests--The cathedral of Buenos Ayres--Excursion
    to La Boca--Argentaria as a field for emigration                 248


    Voyage from Buenos Ayres to Santos--Tropical vegetation in
    Brazil--Visit to San Paulo--Journey from San Paulo to Rio
    Janeiro--Valley of the Parahyba do Sul--Ancient mountains of
    Brazil--Rio Janeiro--Visit to Petropolis--Falls of Itamariti--
    Struggle for existence in a tropical forest--The hermit of
    Petropolis--Morning view over the Bay of Rio--A gorgeous
    flowering shrub--Visit to Tijuca--Yellow fever in Brazil--A
    giant of the forest--Voyage to Bahia and Pernambuco--
    Equatorial rains--Fernando Noronha--St. Vincent in the Cape
    Verde Islands--Trade winds of the North Atlantic--Lisbon--
    Return to England                                                303

    APPENDIX A.--On the fall of temperature in ascending to
    heights above the sea-level                                      369

    APPENDIX B.--Remarks on Mr. Croll’s theory of secular changes
    of the earth’s climate                                           393




  Voyage across the Atlantic--Barbadoes--Jamaica--Isthmus of
      Panama--Buenaventura, tropical forest--Guayaquil and the river
      Guayas--Payta--The rainless zone of Peru--Voyage to Callao.

A voyage across the Atlantic in a large ocean steamer is now as
familiar and as little troublesome as the journey from London to Paris.
It rarely offers any incident worth recounting, and yet, especially
as a first experience, it supplies an abundant variety of sources of
curiosity and interest. It is easy for a man to sit down at home and
within the walls of his own study to find the requisite materials for
investigating the still unsolved problems presented by the physics
and meteorology of the ocean, or the evidence favourable or hostile
to the important modern doctrine of the permanence of the great ocean
valleys; but in point of fact very few men who stay at home do occupy
themselves with these questions, and it is no slight privilege to
feel drawn towards them by the hourly suggestions received during a
sea-voyage. Nor is it possible to make light of the simpler pleasures
caused by the satisfaction of mere curiosity, when that is linked by
association with the pictures on which the fancy has worked from one’s
earliest childhood onward. The starting of a covey of flying-fish, the
fringe of cocos palms rising against the horizon, the Southern Cross
and the Magellanic clouds, the reversed apparent motion of the sun from
right to left--none of them very marvellous as mere observed facts--are
so many keys that unlock the closed-up recesses, the blue chambers of
the memory, which the youthful imagination had peopled with shapes of
beauty and wonder and mystery.

Some thrill of delightful anticipation was, I presume, felt by many
of the passengers who went on board the royal mail steamer _Don_ in
Southampton Water on the 17th of March, 1882. Amid the usual waving of
handkerchiefs from the friends who remained behind on board the tender,
we glided seaward, and by four p.m. were going at half speed abreast
of the Isle of Wight. The good ship had suffered severely during the
preceding winter on her homeward passage from the West Indies, when the
heavy seas which swept her upper deck had carried away the covering
of her engine-room, stove in the chief officer’s cabin, and severely
injured her commander, Captain Woolward. On this occasion our voyage
was easy and prosperous, and nothing occurred to test severely the
careful seamanship of Captain Gillies, who had taken the temporary


On the 19th the barometer, which, in spite of a gentle breeze from
south-west, had stood as high as 30·40, fell about a quarter of an inch
between sunrise and sunset; and in the night, on the only occasion
during the entire voyage, remained for some hours below 30·00. A
moderate breeze from the north brought with it a disproportionately
heavy sea, and although there was no sensible pitching, the ship rolled
so heavily as to send many of the passengers to solitary confinement
in their berths. This continued throughout the 20th, afterwards styled
Black Monday by the sufferers from sea-sickness, and we escaped into
smoother water only on the evening of the following day. The discomfort
which I felt from fancying that I had “lost my sea legs” was entirely
relieved by fortunately coming across a distinguished naval officer, on
his way to take a command on the West Indian station, who like myself
was forced to hold on with both hands during the rolling of the ship.

It was clear that we had passed at no great distance from a cyclone in
the North Atlantic--one of those disturbances whose visits are so often
predicted from the western continent, but which so often fortunately
lose their way or get dissipated before they approach our shores.
It would seem that little progress has been made in forecasting the
direction in which these great aërial eddies traverse the ocean, or
the conditions under which they expend their force. It seems allowable
to suppose that the most important of the causes influencing their
direction depend upon the general movements of the great currents of
the atmosphere; and that, as these are constantly modified by the
changing position of the earth in her orbit, the element of season is
primarily to be considered. It being admitted that the origin of these
disturbances is to be sought in the abnormal heating or cooling of some
considerable portion of the earth’s surface, it would seem that, in
the case of the Atlantic, local causes can have little effect, unless
we suppose that the heating of the surface of the Azores in summer, or
the annual descent of icebergs from the polar seas, are adequate to
influence the march of a travelling cyclone.

On the evening of the 20th the barometer had risen again to its former
position, rather over 30·40 inches; the mean of the four following days
was 30·55, and that of the entire run from Southampton to Barbadoes
was 30·36. This fact of the continuance of high or low pressures
at the sea-level at certain seasons in some parts of the world has
scarcely been sufficiently noted in connection with the ordinary
rules for the measurement of heights by means of the barometer. The
tables supplied to travellers are all calculated on the assumption
that the pressure at the sea-level is constant--the English tables
fixing the amount at 30·00 inches of mercury, those calculated on
the continent starting from a pressure of 760 millimetres, or about
29·921 inches. It is admitted that this mode of determining heights,
when comparative observations at a known station are not available,
is subject to serious unavoidable error. With regard, however, to
mountains not remote from the sea-coast, it may be possible to lessen
this inconvenience in many parts of the world by substituting for the
assumed uniform pressure that higher or lower amount which is known to
prevail at given seasons. Such a correction could not, of course, be
made available in very variable climates, such as that of the British
Islands, but might be applied in many parts of the broad zone lying
within 40° of the equator.


Soon after ten p.m. on the 21st we were abreast of the bright light
which marks the harbour of St. Michael’s, but, the night being dark, we
saw very little of that or any other of the Azores group. The spring
temperature of these islands is about the same as that of places in
the same latitude in Portugal; but it appears that the cooling effect
of the east and north-east winds prevailing at that season must in
the mid-Atlantic extend even much farther south. With generally fair
settled weather, the thermometer rose very slowly as we advanced
towards the tropics. Between the 18th and 24th of March, in passing
from 50° to 29° north latitude, the mean daily temperature rose only
from about 55° to about 65° Fahr.--the thermometer never rising to 70°,
nor falling below 52°. Notwithstanding the relatively low temperature,
a few flying-fish were seen on the 24th--rare, it is said, outside the
tropics so early in the year, though sometimes seen in summer as far
north as the Azores.

On March 25th we, for the first time, became conscious of a decided
though moderate change of climate. The thermometer at noon stood
at 71°, and was not seen to fall below 70° until, some three weeks
later, off the Peruvian coast, we met the cold antarctic current which
plays so great a part in the meteorology of that region. We were now
in the regular track of the north-east trade-wind, and my mind was
somewhat exercised to account for the circumstance, said to be of usual
occurrence, that the breeze increases in strength from sunrise during
the day, and falls off, though it does not die away, towards nightfall.
It is easy to understand the cause of this intermittence in breezes on
shore, whether near the sea-coast or in the neighbourhood of mountain
ranges, inasmuch as their direction and strength are determined by the
unequal heating of the surface; but the trade-winds form a main part
of the general system of aërial circulation over the surface of our
planet, and, supposing the phenomenon to be of a normal character, the
explanation is not quite simple. Regarding the trade-wind as a great
current set up in the atmosphere, it is conceivable that the heating
and consequent expansion which must occur as the sun acts upon it,
tends to increase the rate of flow at the bottom of the aërial stream,
while the cooling which ensues as the sun’s heat is withdrawn, has the
contrary effect.

On this and the next day or two my attention was called to the frequent
recurrence of masses of yellow seaweed, sometimes in irregular patches,
but more frequently arranged in regular bands, two or three yards in
width, and extending in a straight line as far as the eye could reach.
We were here at no great distance from the great sargassum fields of
the Northern Atlantic, but I was unable to satisfy myself that the
species seen from the steamer was that which mainly forms the sargassum
beds; and, whatever it might be, this arrangement in long straight
strips seemed deserving of further inquiry. More flying-fish were now
seen, and two or three small whales of the species called by seamen
“black-fish” were sighted during this part of the voyage.


On the afternoon of the 26th we entered the tropics, and this and the
following day were thoroughly enjoyable, but did not offer much of
novelty. The colour of the sea was here of a much deeper and purer
blue (rivalling that of the Mediterranean) than we had hitherto
found it, while that of the sky was much paler. The light _cumuli_
with ill-defined edges were such as we are used to in British summer
weather; and, excepting that the interval of twilight was sensibly
shorter, the sunsets were devoid of special interest. At this season
the Southern Cross was above the horizon about nightfall, and was made
out by the practised eyes of some of the officers; but, in truth, it
remains a somewhat insignificant object when seen from the northern
side of the equator, and to enjoy the full splendour of that stellar
hemisphere one must reach high southern latitudes.

Although the thermometer never quite reached 80° Fahr. in the shade
until we touched land, the weather on the 28th and 29th was hot
and close, and few passengers kept up the wholesome practice of a
constitutional walk on the long deck of the _Don_. Of the rain which
constantly seemed impending very little fell.


At daybreak on the morning of the 30th, in twelve days and seventeen
hours, we completed the run of about 3340 nautical miles which
separates Southampton from Barbadoes, and found ourselves in the roads
of Bridgetown, about a mile from the shore. Being somewhat prepared,
I was not altogether surprised to find that this first view of a
tropical island forcibly reminded me of the last land I had beheld
at home--the northern shores of the Isle of Wight. Long swelling
hills, on which well-grown trees intervene between tracts of tillage,
present much the same general outline, and at this distance the only
marked difference was the intense dark-green colour of the large trees
that embower the town and nearly conceal all but a few of the chief
buildings. The appearance of things as the morning advanced quite
confirmed the reputation of this small island as the most prosperous,
and, in proportion to its extent, the most productive of the West
Indian Islands. With an area not greater than that of the Isle of
Wight, and a population of about sixty thousand whites and rather more
than a hundred thousand negroes, the value of the exports and imports
surpasses a million sterling under each head; and, besides this, it
is the centre of a considerable transit trade with the other islands.
Under local representative institutions, which have subsisted since
the island was first occupied by the English early in the seventeenth
century, the finances are flourishing, and the colonial government is
free from debt. The average annual produce of sugar is reckoned at
forty-four thousand hogsheads, but varies with the amount of rainfall.
This averages from fifty-eight to fifty-nine inches annually, but any
considerable deficiency, such as occurred in the year 1873, leads to a
proportionate diminution in the sugar crop.

Among other tokens of civilization, the harbour police at Bridgetown
appeared to be thoroughly efficient. As, about nine o’clock, we
prepared to go ashore, we found on deck two privates--black men in
plain uniform--who seemed to have no difficulty in keeping perfect
order amid the crowd of boatmen that swarmed round the big ship. We
had already learned the event of the hour--the fall of three inches
of rain during the day and night preceding our arrival. This is more
than usually falls during the entire month of March, and seemed to be
welcomed by the entire population. On landing we encountered a good
deal of greasy grey mud in the streets, but all was nearly dry when,
after a short excursion, we returned in the afternoon. After a short
stay in the town, where there was a little shopping to be done, and
where some of my companions indulged in a second breakfast of fried
flying-fish, I started with a pleasant party of fellow-travellers to
see something of the island. It was arranged that, after a drive of six
or seven miles, we should go to luncheon at the house of Mr. C----, the
owner of a sugar-plantation, whose brother, Colonel C----, was one of
our fellow-passengers. We enjoyed the benefit of the recent heavy rain
in the comparative coolness of the air--the thermometer scarcely rose
above 80° Fahr. in the shade--and in freedom from dust.

A small, low island, nearly every acre of which has been reduced to
cultivation, cannot offer very much of picturesque beauty; nevertheless
the first peep of the tropics did not fail to present abundant matter
of interest. In this part of the world the dry season, now coming to an
end, is the winter of vegetation, and, of course, there was not very
much to be seen of the herbaceous flora; but the beauty of the trees
and the rich hues of their foliage quite surpassed my anticipations.
The majority of these are plants introduced either from the larger
islands or from more distant tropical countries, that have been planted
in the neighbourhood of houses.

One of the first that strikes a new-comer in the tropics is the mango
tree, which, though introduced by man from its original home in
tropical Asia, is now common throughout the hotter parts of America.
Its widespreading branches, bearing dense tufts of large leathery
leaves, make it as welcome for the sake of protection from the sun
as for its fruit, which is a luxury that some persons never learn
to appreciate. The cinnamon tree (_Canella alba_), common in most
of the West Indian Islands, is another of the plants that serve for
ornament and shade while ministering products useful to man. Of the
smaller shade-trees, the pimento (probably _Pimenta acris_) was also
conspicuous, and very many others which I failed to recognize, might
be added to the new impressions of the first day in the tropics. One
of the most curious is that known to the English residents as the
sand-box tree, the _Hura crepitans_ of botanists. It belongs to the
_Euphorbiaceæ_, or Spurge family, but is strangely unlike any of the
Old-World forms of that order. Here the fruit is in form rather like
a small melon, of hard woody texture, divided into numerous--ten to
twenty--cells. If, when taken from the tree, the top is sawn off and
the seeds scooped out, no farther change occurs, and it may be, and
often is, as the name implies, used as a sand-box. But if left until
the seeds are mature, the whole capsule bursts open with a loud report,
scattering the seeds to a distance. Thinking that a small young fruit,
if dried very gradually, might escape this result, I carried one away,
which, after my return to Europe, I placed in a small wooden box in
my herbarium. Some nine months after it had been collected it must
have exploded in my absence, for, unlocking the room one day, I found
the box broken to pieces, and the valves of the fruit and the seeds
scattered in all directions about the room.


Next to the vegetable inhabitants, I was interested in the black
population of the island. The first impression on finding one’s self
amid fellow-creatures so markedly different in physical characters
is one of strangeness, and one is tempted to ask whether, after all,
there can be any pith in the arguments once confidently urged to
establish a specific difference between the negro and the white man.
But this very quickly wears away, and a contrary impression arises.
The second thought is that, considering what we know of the conditions
under which the native races of Equatorial Africa have been developed
during an unrecorded series of ages, and of the subsequent conditions
during several generations of slavery, the surprising thing is that the
differences should not be far greater than they are.

It would be very rash to draw positive conclusions from what could be
seen in a visit of a few hours, but, undoubtedly, the general effect
was pleasing, and tended to confirm the assertion that the difficult
problem of converting a population of black slaves into useful members
of a free community has been better solved in Barbadoes than in any
other European colony. So far as the elementary wants are concerned,
there was a complete absence of the painful suspicion so commonly felt
as regards the poor in Europe and the East, that their food is either
insufficient or unwholesome. With very few exceptions they all seemed
sleek and well fed, and their clothing showed no symptoms of poverty.
In the town their dress was generally neat, and most of the women made
a display of bright colour in handkerchiefs and parasols. What struck
me most was a general air of good humour and enjoyment. One may be
misled in this respect by the facial characteristics of the black race,
which, in the absence of disturbing causes, readily turn to a smile or
a grin. But, whether in the streets of Bridgetown or botanizing among
the fields in the country, and using the few opportunities of speaking
to the people, the same impression was retained.

Their manner in speaking to whites seemed to imply neither servility
nor yet the independence which characterizes the Arab or the Moor.
A latent sense of inferiority seemed to be combined with a complete
absence of shyness or apprehension, as in children used to kind
treatment, and not too carefully drilled. We happened to halt near a
spot where there was a cluster of labourers’ cabins, and a school well
filled with small children. There had been a wedding in Bridgetown that
morning, and as we halted two carriages passed, carrying the bridal
party to some house in the country. All the inhabitants rushed out at
once, and contended, young and old, in the most boisterous cheering.
Perhaps this meant little more than the mere love of noise, as when
boys cheer a passing railway train, but it argued, at least, the
absence of any feeling of race animosity.

The houses of the labouring population, whether in town or country,
are mere sheds, seemingly of the frailest materials, the walls of thin
upright boards, and roofed with small imbricated wooden shingles, such
as one sometimes sees in Tyrol; but there must be a very substantial
framework, or they would be annually carried away by the August
hurricanes. The interiors appeared to be fairly clean, and in a country
where cold is unknown good houses are luxuries, not necessaries of life.


One need not go far to seek the explanation of the superior condition
of Barbadoes as compared with the other West Indian Islands. Unlike
these, there was here no waste land; every acre was occupied, and the
emancipated negro could not follow the very natural but unfortunate
instinct which elsewhere led him to squat in idleness, supporting life
on a few bananas and other produce that cost but a few days’ labour in
the year. Apart from this, it is said that the Barbadoes, unlike the
Jamaica, planters showed practical intelligence in at once recognizing
the new conditions created by the Act of Emancipation, and, by offering
fair wages and giving their personal influence and supervision, helping
to convert the slave into an industrious freeman. Whatever poets may
have fancied of the delights of lotus-eating, it seems to be true in
the tropics, as well as in temperate climates, that there is more
contentment and real enjoyment of life among people who are held to
regular daily work--not excessive or exhausting--than among those who
have little or nothing to do.

The house at which we were hospitably entertained, with no
architectural pretensions, struck us as admirably suited to the
climate. On the ground floor, several spacious and airy sitting-rooms
opened on a broad verandah that ran round the building, and a number
of fine trees close at hand, with the dense impervious foliage
characteristic of the tropics, offered the alternative of sitting
in the open air. One of the natural advantages of Barbadoes is the
almost complete absence of noxious and venomous insects and reptiles.
The frequency of poisonous snakes in some of the islands, especially
Martinique and Sta. Lucia, must seriously interfere with the pleasures
of a country life.

The voyage from Barbadoes to Jacmel, which occupied the greater part of
three nights and two days, was highly enjoyable, but uneventful. With a
temperature of about 80° in the shade, and a pleasant breeze from the
north-east, life on deck was much more attractive than any occupation
in the cabins, and nothing more laborious than reading an interesting
book, such as Tschudi’s “Travels in Peru,” or at the utmost some
brushing up of nearly forgotten Spanish, could be undertaken. In the
early morning, the rising of the coveys of flying-fish as the steamer
disturbed them from their rest on the surface, with their great silvery
fins glancing in the level rays of the sun, was always an attractive
sight. They certainly often change the direction of their flight as
they momentarily touch the surface, but I could not satisfy myself
whether this depended on a muscular effort of the animal, or merely on
the angle at which it happened to strike the irregular surface of the
little dancing waves that surrounded us.


About sunrise on the 2nd of April the anchor was let go, and we
found ourselves in the harbour of Jacmel, the only port on the south
side of the great island of Hayti. The Royal Mail steamers call here
periodically to deliver letters and to receive a bag which, after
due fumigation and such other incantations as are deemed proper, is
delivered at the end of a long pole. The entire island being supposed
to be constantly subject to zymotic diseases, especially small-pox
which is the great scourge of the negro race, no further communication
with the shore is permitted, and within less than two hours we were
again under way. The hills surrounding the harbour are apparently
covered with forest, the trees being of no great size, but of the most
brilliant green; but I could detect no dwellings of a superior class
such as Europeans would be sure to construct in picturesque and healthy
spots near a seaport. As we ran for more than twenty miles very near
the coast, I could at first detect here and there small patches of
cleared ground with sheds or huts; but beyond the distance of a few
miles these ceased, and no token of the presence of man was discernible.

Making large allowance for exaggeration, and having had the opportunity
of correcting some loose reports by the more careful and accurate
information afterwards received from a gentleman who resided for some
time at Port au Prince as the representative of a European power, it
is impossible for me to avoid the conclusion that, in the hands of its
black possessors, this noble island has retrograded to a condition of
savagery little, if at all, superior to that of the regions of tropical
Africa whence they originally came.

There may be but slight foundation for the reports as to the revival of
cannibal customs in the interior of the island; but it would seem that
the sanguinary encounters so frequently recurring between the people of
the rival republics between whom the island is divided, differ little
in point of ferocity from those of Ashantee or Dahomey. The political
institutions, caricatures of those of the United States, have produced
in astonishing luxuriance all the abuses characteristic of different
types of misgovernment, and the few men distinguished by superior
intelligence and a desire for rational progress have sought in vain
for support in efforts for reform. The condition of the two republics,
Hayti and San Domingo, seems to be the _reductio ad absurdum_ of the
theories which ascribe to free institutions an inherent power of
promoting human progress.

April 3 was a day to be long remembered. Barbadoes to Jamaica is as
Champagne or Mecklenburg compared to Switzerland or Tyrol, and now for
the first time the dream of tropical nature became a reality. At six
p.m. we passed Port Royal, and about seven had cast anchor at Kingston.
The first impression on landing here is unfavourable. The buildings
are mean, the thoroughfares and side-paths out of repair, the people
in the streets seem to have nothing to do and to be doing it, the
general air that of listlessness and neglect. Altogether the place
contrasts disadvantageously with the ports of Spanish America, to say
nothing of our own colonies. But Kingston was not to detain us, and the
overpowering attraction was towards the range of the Blue Mountains,
on which my eyes had been fixed all the morning as we approached the
shore. We were told that we must return to the ship at five o’clock,
so that it was hopeless to attempt to reach even the middle zone of
the mountains, and all that could be done with advantage was to engage
a carriage to a place called Gordontown, in a valley which is the
ordinary route to Newcastle and other places in the mountains. After
a delay which to our impatience seemed unreasonable, I started in a
tolerable carriage with W----, an old friend who was proceeding to Lima
as commissioner from the Court of Chancery to receive evidence in an
important pending lawsuit, and who, although not a naturalist, gave
effective and valuable help on this and other subsequent occasions in
the work of plant-collecting.


For a distance of four or five miles the land slopes very gently from
the coast towards the roots of the hills. This tract is partly occupied
by sugar-plantations; but our road lay for some time among small
country houses, each surrounded by pleasure-ground or garden. As the
dry season was not yet over, the country here looked parched; but I saw
many trees and shrubs new to me, many of them laden with flowers, and
found it hard to keep my resolution not to stop the carriage until we
should reach Gordontown. The excitement increased as we entered the
valley, and the road began to wind up the slopes above the right bank
of the torrent, where at every yard some new object came into view. It
was near eleven a.m. when we reached the little inn, which, with four
or five houses, make the station of Gordontown, where the carriage road
ends, and horses are hired by those bound for Newcastle or other places
in the hills. No time was to be lost, and we were speedily on our way
to ramble up the valley, keeping as near as might be to the banks of
the torrent.

The first effect upon one accustomed only to the vegetation of the
temperate zone is simply bewildering. As I expressed it at the time, it
seemed as if the inmates of the plant-houses at Kew had broken loose
and run scrambling up the rocky hills that enclose the valley. These
are of a red arenaceous rock, rough and broken, but affording ample
hold for trees as well as smaller plants. The torrent at this season
was shrunk to slender dimensions, but is never wholly dry; and I was
somewhat surprised to find that on the steep slopes exposed to the
full sunshine the vegetation was much less parched than one commonly
finds it in summer in the Mediterranean region, and even to gather a
good many ferns on exposed banks. It would appear that, even in the
dry season, the air must here be nearly saturated with aqueous vapour,
and that abundant dews must supply the needs of delicate plants. Not
many species were in flower, but yet there was more than sufficient
to occupy the short time available. _Malvaceæ_ and _Convolvulaceæ_
were the most prominent forms; but to a new-comer the most lively
interest attaches to groups never before seen in a wild state, such
as _Passiflora_--of which two species were found in flower--a first
solitary representative of the great tropical American family of
_Melastomaceæ_, or the gorgeous Amaryllid, _Hippeastrum equestre_,
hiding in shady places by the stream.


Although Gordontown can scarcely be so much as a thousand feet above
the sea-level, the climate is very sensibly cooler than that of
Kingston. When we left the town the thermometer stood at 83° in the
shade, while here at midday the sea-breeze felt positively cold, and
I was glad to have with me an extra garment. A light luncheon of ham
and eggs, with guava sweetmeat for dessert, was soon despatched; and,
as I wished to halt at several spots on the way, we started about
half-past two, laden with the spoils of the excursion, and reached the
steamer before five o’clock. Great was my disgust to find that there
was no intention of starting until nine a.m. the next morning, and
this was changed to indignation when it came to be known that we had
been deprived of the priceless pleasure of a trip to the mountains by
the deliberate misstatement of the company’s superintendent, who had
arranged to embark on the following morning three hundred negroes going
to work on the Panama Ship Canal.

A stranger can scarcely fail to observe a marked difference between
the negro population of Jamaica and that of Barbadoes. In the larger
island, while no way deficient in physical qualities, they appear
decidedly inferior in intelligence, activity, and courtesy towards
their white neighbours. It is said that the independent class, who
live by cultivating small patches of land on which they have squatted,
has of late years much improved, and that the increasing desire for
purchasable comforts and luxuries has begun to develop habits of steady
industry; but as regards the mass of the people who live by wages,
there are many indications of a sullen dislike towards the descendants
of their former masters which some trifling provocation may at any time
inflame to a pitch of wild ferocity. Some who have lived in the island
maintain that a general rising with a view to the massacre of the white
population is not an impossible occurrence, and, however improbable it
may appear, there is ample reason for constant vigilance on the part
of those responsible for the government of the island. Such vigilance,
it must be remembered, is quite as much requisite to prevent acts of
real or apparent injustice towards the inferior race, as to repress
the first beginnings of violence if some spark should fire the mine of
suppressed hatred.

After a too short visit to this beautiful island, we were under way
before ten a.m. on April 4th, and before midday the outline of the
Blue Mountains of Jamaica was fast fading in the northern horizon.
Throughout the greater part of the run from Kingston we encountered
a moderately brisk breeze, which gradually veered from south-east
to south-west, and this, according to our experienced captain,
commonly occurs at this season. It may be conjectured that the great
mountain barrier extending on the south side of the Caribbean Sea
through Venezuela and Colombia deflects the current of the north-east
trade-wind until it finally flows in an exactly contrary direction.
Whatever its origin may be, it might be supposed that the interference
of a current from the south-west with the course of the regular
trade-wind would give rise to storms of dangerous violence. These,
however, rarely if ever occur during the spring months. It may be
that, on the meeting of contrary currents of unequal temperature, the
ordinary result is that the warmer current rises and flows over the
cooler one without actual interference.


Before sunrise on the morning of the 6th we reached Colon, and, after
a little inevitable delay, took leave of our excellent commander, and
set foot on the American continent at a spot which seems destined to
become familiar to the civilized world as the eastern termination of
the Panama Ship Canal. People who love to paint in dark colours had
done their best to make us uncomfortable as to the part of the journey
between the arrival at Colon and the departure from Panama. The regular
train crossing the isthmus starts very early from Colon, and we should
be forced to remain during the greater part of the day breathing the
deadly exhalations of that ill-famed port. In point of unhealthiness
Panama is but little better than Colon, and as the weekly steamer of
the Pacific Navigation Company bound southward would have departed one
or two days before our arrival, we were sure to be detained for five
or six days, equally trying to the health and temper. Fully believing
these vaticinations to be much exaggerated, we had no opportunity
of testing them. A free use of the telegraph on the morning of our
arrival at Jamaica, and the courtesy of the officials of the various
companies concerned, relieved us from all anxiety, and reduced our
stay within the shortest possible limits. It was true that the regular
train had been despatched before we could land, but a special engine
was in readiness to convey us across the isthmus, and the agent for the
Pacific mail steamer at Panama had detained the ship bound for Lima
until the same evening in order to enable us to continue our voyage.

Since the commencement of the works connected with the canal, Colon
must have undergone much improvement. The bronze statue of Columbus
presented by the Empress Eugénie, which for many years had lain
prostrate in the mud of the sea-beach, has been cleansed and placed
upon a stone pedestal. A number of stores, frail structures of wooden
planks, were arranged in an irregular street, and displayed a great
variety of European goods. It was rather surprising to find the prices
of sundry small articles purchased here extremely moderate. One might
suppose that the only inducement that could lead people to trade in
a spot of such evil repute would be the hope of exorbitant profits
enabling them soon to retire from business.

Of the works connected with the Ship Canal little was to be seen from
the railway cars. For its eastern termination the mouth of the Chagres
river, which reaches the sea close to Colon, has been selected. I am
not aware whether it is proposed to divert the course of that stream
from the channel of the canal, but, to judge from the appearance of
its banks and the extensive mangrove swamps on either side, it appears
to bear down a great amount of fine alluvial mud, which, if discharged
into the canal, must be a source of future difficulty. What chiefly
struck the eye of the passing traveller was the broad band which had
been cleared across the isthmus to mark the line of the future canal.
It is fully a hundred metres in width, and seemingly carried in a
nearly straight line through the forest and over the hills that lie on
the western side near to Panama. This clearing does not appear a very
serious undertaking, but in a region where the energy of vegetation is
so marvellous, must have cost an immense amount of labour, and to keep
the line open, if that be found expedient, will demand no small yearly
expenditure. There is here, properly speaking, no dry season. The rains
recur at frequent intervals throughout the year, and to keep back the
ever-encroaching sea of vegetation the axe is in constant requisition.


In the interest of the human race, it is impossible not to desire
the success of the Ship Canal, but it must not be forgotten that the
project is of a character so gigantic that all previous experience,
such as that of the Suez Canal, fails to give a measure of the
difficulties to be encountered, or of the outlay required to overcome
them. Engineers may doubtless calculate with sufficient accuracy
the number of millions of cubic yards of rock or earth that must
be removed, and may estimate approximately the cost of labour and
materials; but the obstacles due to the climate and physical conditions
of this region are a formidable addition whose amount experience
alone can fully determine. The only race combining physical strength
with any moderate adaptation to the climate is apparently the African
negro, and even with these the amount of sickness and mortality is
said to be alarmingly great. The field from which negro labour can be
recruited, though large, is by no means unlimited, and it is to be
expected that the rate of wages must be considerably increased as time
advances. The conditions of the problem have no doubt been carefully
studied by the remarkable man to whom its existence is due, and by the
able assistants whom he has consulted; but it may not be too rash to
hazard the prediction that, apart from any international difficulties,
its success may depend upon the more or less complete realization of
two desiderata--first, the extensive application of labour-saving
machinery, for which perhaps the heavy rainfall may supply the motive
power; secondly, the possibility, by completely clearing the summits of
some of the higher hills near the line, of establishing healthy sites
whence workmen could be conveyed to the required points during the day
and brought back before nightfall.


Nothing in our brief experience suggested the idea of an especially
unhealthy region, and the feelings of a botanist at being whirled so
rapidly through a land teeming with objects of curiosity and interest
are better imagined than expressed. For more than half the distance the
line is simply a trench cut through the forest, which is restrained
from invading and burying the rails only by constant clearing on either
side. The trees were not very large, but seemed to include a vast
variety of forms. More striking were the masses of climbers, parasites,
and epiphytes, to say nothing of the rich and strange herbaceous plants
that fringed the edge of the forest. Our train, being express, gave but
a single chance of distinguishing anything amid the crowd of passing
objects--during a brief halt at a station about half-way across the
isthmus, round which was a cluster of small houses or huts, inhabited
by Indians. Their features were much less remote from the European
type than I had expected--less remote, I thought, than those of many
Asiatics of Mongol stock. Ten minutes on the verge of the surging mass
of vegetation that surrounded us gave a tantalizing first peep at the
flora of Equatorial America. Many forms hitherto seen only in herbaria
or hot-houses--several _Melastomaceæ_, _Heliconia_, _Costus_, and the
like--were hastily gathered; but the summons to return to the train
speedily calmed the momentarily increasing excitement. Although the
sky was almost completely free from clouds, and the sun very near the
zenith, the heat was no way excessive. My thermometers had been stowed
away in the hurry of leaving the steamer, but I do not believe that
the shade temperature was higher than 84° Fahr. On the western side of
the isthmus the land rises into hills some five or six hundred feet in
height, and between these the railway winds to the summit level, thence
descending rather rapidly towards Panama. What a crowd of associations
are evoked by the first view of the Pacific! What trains of mental
pictures have gathered round the records of the early voyagers, the
adventurers, the scientific explorers! Strangely enough, the most
vividly impressed on my memory was a rough illustration in a child’s
book, given to me on my seventh birthday, representing Vasco Nuñez,
as, from the summit of the ridge of Darien, he, first of all western
men, cast his wondering eyes over the boundless, till then unsuspected,
ocean. He has climbed the steep shattered rocks, and, as he gains
the crest of the ridge, has grasped a projecting fragment to steady
himself on the edge of the dizzy declivity. Even now, after looking on
the gently swelling hills, so completely forest-covered that without
extensive clearing a distant view would be impossible, I find it hard
to believe that that picture does not represent some portion of my
actual past experience.

I do not know whether, in connection with the vivid recollection either
of actual scenes or illustrations dating from early life, attention
has been sufficiently called to the curious tricks which the brain not
seldom performs in discharging its function of keeper of the records.
In my experience it is common to find, on revisiting after many years
a spot of which one believes one’s self to have a vivid and accurate
recollection, that the mental picture has undergone some curious
changes. The materials of the scene are, so to say, all present, but
their arrangement has been unaccountably altered. The torrent, the
bridge, the house, the tree, the peak in the background, are all there,
but they are not in their right places. The house has somehow got to
the wrong side of the torrent, or the peak rises on the right of the
tree instead of the left. A picture vividly retained in the mind is
one that has been frequently recalled to memory. If at any time, when
it has been long dormant, the actual recollection has become somewhat
imperfect, the imagination fills up by an effort the incomplete
portion. When next summoned by some train of association, the image
present to the mind is no longer the original picture, but the altered
version of it in the state in which it was left after being last


In about four hours from Colon we reached the Panama terminus, and
found a large waggonette, or roofless omnibus, waiting to convey us to
the Grand Hotel. A pair of small ragged horses, rushing at a canter
down the steep slopes and scrambling up on the other side over the
rough blocks that form the pavement, made our vehicle roll and jolt in
a fashion that would have disquieted nervous passengers. It would be
difficult to find elsewhere in the world a stranger assemblage than
that to be found at the Grand Hotel of Panama. The ground floor, with
several large rooms, is occupied day and night for eating, drinking,
smoking, and loud discussion by the floating foreign population of the
town. At the present time the engineers and other officials connected
with the Ship Canal formed the predominant element; but, along with a
sprinkling of many other nationalities, the most characteristic groups
consisted of refugees from all the republics of Central and South
America, who find substantial reasons for quitting their homes, and who
resort to Panama as a sanctuary whence some new turn in the wheel of
revolution may recall them to some position of distinction and profit.

We were fortunate in having in our company Mr. W----, a gentleman
of Polish descent, to whose lively conversation we had owed much
information and amusement during the voyage from Southampton. Now the
owner of a large estate in Ecuador, he had long known this region, and
appeared to be on terms of familiar acquaintance with all the strange
visitors gathered in the saloons at Panama, from the ex-President of
Peru to the negro head-waiter. The latter, as we learned, was not
the least important member of the assemblage. In one of the numerous
revolutions at Panama he had played a leading part, and had attained
the rank of colonel. His party being then out of office, he had for the
time returned to private life, but may possibly at the present day be
again an important person in the state.

For the first time since leaving England the heat at Panama during
the midday hours was felt to be oppressive, and we were content with
a short stroll, which, to any one familiar with old Spain, offered
little novelty. Unlike such mushroom spots as Colon, Panama has all
the appearance of an old Spanish provincial town. It has suffered less
from earthquakes than most of the places on the west coast, and a large
proportion of the buildings, including a rather large cathedral, remain
as they were built two or three centuries ago.

As the anchorage for large steamers is about three miles from the
town, we had an early summons to go on board a small tender that lay
alongside of a half-ruined wharf, but were then detained more than an
hour, for no apparent reason other than as a tribute to the habits
of the population of this region. The time was not wholly wasted, as
even the least observant passengers were struck with admiration at the
performances of a swarm of small birds, many hundreds in number, that
seemed to have selected the space over the shallow water opposite the
town for their evolutions. For more than half an hour they continued to
whirl in long loops or nearly circular sweeps, with no other apparent
motive than the pleasure of the exercise. Seen from a distance, the
appearance was that of a wreath; nearer at hand, the arrangement was
seen to be constantly varying. Sometimes the birds were so close
together that it seemed as if their wings must jostle; sometimes they
were drawn out into long curves, looking silvery white when the sun
fell upon their breasts, and of a darker tint at other incidences. Mr.
W---- asserted that the bird is a kind of snipe, but I have no doubt
that it is a tern.


At last the little tender glided from the wharf, and for the first
time we gained a general view of the town, which has a full share of
that element of picturesqueness which is so strangely associated with
decay. The old ramparts fast crumbling away, here and there rent by
earthquakes, and backed by time-stained buildings, would offer many a
study to the painter. Sunset was at hand when we reached the steamer
_Islay_, anchored under the lee of one of the small islands of the bay,
and were fortunate in finding among the not too numerous passengers
several whose society added to the interest of the voyage.

One of the effects of the habitual use of maps on a small scale is
that untravelled persons, even though conversant with the facts of
geography, feel it difficult to realize the great dimensions of the
more distant parts of the world as compared with our diminutive
European continent. Thus it came on me with something of surprise that
the Bay of Panama is fully a hundred and twenty sea miles across from
headland to headland, and that the run from Panama to Callao, which is
scarcely one-third of the length of the South American continent, is
rather longer than that from Bergen to the Straits of Gibraltar. The
case, of course, is much worse with those accustomed to use maps on
Mercator’s projection. It profits nothing to explain, even to the most
intelligent youth, the nature and amount of the errors involved in that
mode of representing a spherical surface on a plane. I verily believe
that all the mischief done by the stupidity, ignorance, and perversity
of the writers of bad school-books is trifling compared to the amount
of false ideas spread through the world by the productions of that
respectable Fleming.

The steamers of the Pacific Mail Company employed for the traffic
between San Francisco and Valparaiso are as perfectly suited to the
peculiar conditions of the navigation as they would be unfit for
long sea-voyages in any other part of the world. In the calm waters
of this region, rarely ruffled even by a stiff breeze, the fortunate
seamen engaged in this service know no hardships from storm or cold.
Their only anxiety is from the fogs that at some seasons beset parts
of the coast. In each voyage they pass under a vertical sun, but the
air and the water are cooler than in any other part of the equatorial
zone; and all that is needed for their physical comfort, and that of
their passengers, is free ventilation and shade from the sun. These
desiderata are fully secured. The main-deck is open to the air, and the
steerage passengers, who are encamped amidships and on the fore-deck,
are satisfied at night with the amount of privacy secured by hanging
some piece of stuff to represent a curtain round each family group.
On the upper deck are ranged the state rooms of the first-class
passengers, each with a door and window opening seaward. Above this,
again, a spar-deck carried flush from stem to stern affords ample
opportunity for exercise, and is itself sheltered from the sun by
an awning during the hot hours. In such conditions, where merely to
breathe is to enjoy, the only danger is that of subsiding into mere
lotus-eating. From this I was fortunately preserved by the rather
troublesome task of drying in satisfactory condition the plants which I
had hastily gathered in Jamaica and in crossing the isthmus.


I had supposed that the distinctly green colour of the water in Panama
Bay, so different from the blue tint of the open Atlantic, might be due
to some local peculiarity; but on the following day, April 7, while
about a hundred miles from land, I observed that the same colour was
preserved, and I subsequently extended the observation along the coast
to about 5° south, where we encountered the antarctic current. Farther
south I should describe the hue of the water as a somewhat turbid dark
blue, reminding one of the water of the North Atlantic as seen in
approaching the British Islands.

At daybreak on April 8 we found ourselves approaching the port of
Buenaventura. Long before it was possible to land I was ready,
thrilling with interest and curiosity respecting a region so entirely
new--an interest enhanced, perhaps, by the extent of ignorance of which
I was inwardly conscious. Knowing this place to be the only port of an
extensive tract, including much of the coast region of New Granada,
lying only a few degrees from the equator, and rich in all sorts of
tropical produce, I had formed a very undue idea of its importance.
Although the rise and fall of the tide are very moderate on this coast,
the ricketty wooden wharf could not be reached at low water. There was
nothing for it but to land on the mud, and scramble up the slippery
slope to the top of the bank of half-consolidated marl, from twenty
to forty feet above the shore, on which the little town is built. It
consists of some two hundred houses and stores, nearly all mere plank
sheds, but, as usual throughout South America, the inhabitants rejoice
in dreams of future wealth and importance to be secured by a railway
communicating with the interior. There was no time to be lost; notice
had been given that the ship’s stay was to be very brief, and even
before landing it was apparent that the tropical forest was close at
hand. In truth, the last houses are within a stone’s throw of the
skirts of the forest. Just at this point I was attracted by a leafless
bush, evidently one of the spinous species of _Solanum_, with large,
yellow, obversely pear-shaped fruits. As I was about cutting off a
specimen, the people, who here seemed very friendly, rushed out of the
nearest house and vociferated in warning tones, “Mata! mata!” I was
afterwards assured that the fruit is here considered a deadly poison.
It appears to be one of the rather numerous varieties of _Solanum
mammosum_, a species widely spread through the hotter parts of America.


Being warned not to go out of hearing of the steam-whistle that was
to summon us back to the ship, I was obliged to content myself with
three short inroads into the forest, through which numerous paths had
been cleared. The first effect was perfectly bewildering. The variety
of new forms of vegetation surrounding one on every side was simply
distracting. Of the larger trees I could, indeed, make out nothing,
but the smaller trees and shrubs, crowded together wherever they could
reach the daylight, were more than enough to occupy the too short

Of the general character of the climate there could be no doubt. In
spite of the blazing sun, with a shade temperature of about 85° Fahr.,
the ground was everywhere moist. Ferns and _Selaginellæ_ met the
eye at every turn, with numerous _Cyperaceæ_; and in an open spot,
among a crowd of less familiar forms, I found a minute _Utricularia_,
scarcely an inch in height. But the predominant feature, and that
which interested me most keenly, was the abundance and variety of
_Melastomaceæ_. Within the first ten minutes I had gathered specimens
of seven species, all of them but one large shrubs. Of the climbers
and parasites that give its most distinctive features to the tropical
forest, I could in so hurried a peep make out very little. I owe one
beautiful species, hitherto undescribed, to my friend W----, who,
having wandered in another direction, spied the scarlet flowers of
the epiphyte, which I have named _Anthopterus Wardii_, on the trunk
of a tree, which was promptly climbed by the active negro who had
accompanied him.[1]

Too soon came the summons of the steam-whistle. As we called on our way
at the office of the Pacific Company’s agent, we were shown a number
of the finer sort of so-called Panama hats, which are chiefly made on
this part of the coast. Even on the spot they are expensive articles, a
hundred dollars not being considered an unreasonable price for one of
the better sort.

Some writers of high authority on geographical botany have held that
the most marked division of the flora of tropical South America is that
between the regions lying east and west of the Andes. It would be the
extreme of rashness for one who has seen so little as I have done of
the vegetation of a few scattered points in so vast a region to attempt
to draw conclusions from his own observations; but, on the other hand,
writers in Europe, even though so learned and so careful as Grisebach
and Engler, are under the great disadvantage that the materials
available, whether in botanical works or in herbaria, are generally
incomplete as regards localities. How is it possible to form any clear
picture of the flora of a special district when so large a proportion
of the plants recorded are merely said to come from “Columbia” or
“Ecuador,” the one larger than Spain, France, and the Low Countries
put together, the other equal in extent to the Austrian Empire, and
both traversed by mountain ranges varying from fifteen thousand to
over eighteen thousand feet in height? I shall have later to make some
remarks on the climatal conditions of the coast region extending from
Panama to the Bay of Guayaquil, but I may here mention that when I
afterwards acquired some slight acquaintance with the flora of Brazil,
I was struck with the fact that, although separated by an interval of
nearly three thousand miles, and by the great barrier of the Andes, the
plants seen in and around the forest at Buenaventura were almost all
nearly allied to Brazilian forms.


Further reflection, and such incomplete knowledge as I have been able
to acquire as to the flora of inter-tropical South America, lead me
to the conclusion that the present vegetable population of this vast
region is, when we exclude from view a certain number of immigrants
from other regions, mainly derived from two sources. There is, in the
first place, the ancient flora of Guiana and tropical Brazil, which has
gradually extended itself through Venezuela and Columbia, and along the
Pacific coast as far as Ecuador, and, in an opposite direction, through
Southern Brazil, to the upper basins of the Uruguay, the Paranà, and
the Paraguay. The long period of time occupied by the gradual diffusion
of this flora is shown by the large number of peculiar species, and not
a few endemic genera that have been developed throughout different
parts of this vast region, whose nearest allies, however, are to be
found in the original home, Guiana or Brazil. Along with this stock,
which mainly occupies the lower country, we find, especially in
Venezuela, Columbia, and Ecuador, the modified descendants of vegetable
types characteristic of the Andes. Of the Andean flora I shall have
something to say in a future page; but I may express the belief that
if we go back to the remote period when most of the characteristic
types of the vegetation of South America came into existence, we must
seek the ancestors of the Brazilian flora, and to a large extent also
those of the Andean flora, in the ancient high mountain ranges of
Brazil, where we now see, in the vast extent of arenaceous rocks, and
in the surviving pinnacles of granite, the ruins of one of the greatest
mountain regions of the earth.

Early on Easter Sunday morning, April 9, we were off Tumaco, a small
place on one of a group of flat islands lying at the northern extremity
of the coast of Ecuador.[2] These islands are of good repute as having
the healthiest climate on this coast. Although close to the equator,
cattle are said to thrive, and, if one could forget the presence of a
fringe of cocos palms along the shore, the island opposite to us, in
great part cleared of forest, with spreading lawns of green pasture,
might have been taken for a gentleman’s park on some flat part of the
English coast. We here parted with General Prado, ex-president of
Peru, who has purchased one of the islands, and hopes to end his days
peacefully as a cattle-breeder. Nothing in his manner or conversation
announced either energy or intelligence, but it is impossible not
to recognize some kind of ability in a man who, having held such a
post at such a time, not only succeeded in escaping the ordinary fate
of a Peruvian president--his two immediate predecessors having been
assassinated--but also in snatching from the ruin of his country the
means of securing an ample provision for himself at a safe distance
from home.

In the almost cloudless weather that has prevailed for some days, the
apparent path of the sun could not fail to attract attention. Being
still so near the vernal equinox, this could not be distinguished
from a straight line. Rising out of the horizon at six o’clock, the
sun passed exactly through the zenith, and went down perpendicularly
in the west into the boundless ocean. Who can wonder that this daily
disappearance of the sun has had so large a share in the poetry and the
religion of our race? In every land, under every climate, it is the one
spectacle which is ever new and ever fascinating. Use cannot stale it;
and knowledge, which is said to be driving the imagination out of the
field of our modern life, has done nothing to weaken the spell.

We awoke next day to find ourselves in the southern hemisphere, having
crossed the line about three a.m. As the morning wore on we passed
abreast of the Cabo San Lorenzo, and towards evening, keeping nearer
to the coast, were within a few miles of Cabo Santa Elena. This forms
the north-western headland of the Gulf of Guayaquil, a wide bay that
extends fully a hundred miles eastward from the coastline.

At daybreak, April 11, we were inside the large island of Puna, and
soon after entered the mouth of the river Guayas. Although it drains
but a small district, this has a deep channel, as wide as the Thames at
Gravesend, making the town of Guayaquil, which is about thirty miles
from its mouth, the natural port for Western Equatorial America. As we
steamed northward up the stream, every eye was turned eastward with
the hope of descrying some part of the chain of the Andes. It was,
indeed, obvious that a great mountain barrier lay in that direction,
and beneath the eastern sun dark masses from time to time stood out to
view; but along the crest of the range heavy banks of cloud constantly
rested, and the summits remained concealed. We knew that the peak of
Chimborazo is scarcely more than seventy miles distant from Guayaquil,
and is easily seen from the town in clear weather; but we did not know
that clear weather is a phenomenon that recurs only on about half a
dozen days in the course of the year, and it is needless to say that we
did not draw one of these prizes in the lottery. I had been conscious
of a distinct change of climate during the preceding night, and this
was still more marked after we entered the river. The increase of
temperature was but trifling. The thermometer at sea during the two
preceding days had ranged from 77° to 79°, and here at nine a.m. it
marked only 80°; nor did it ever rise above 84° while we lay opposite
Guayaquil. But the sense of oppressive closeness was more or less felt
by every one, and, whatever may be the cause, it seems safe to conclude
that the notoriety of this city as one of the most unhealthy in South
America is intimately connected with it.


There is, no doubt, much yet to be learned as to the effects of climate
on the human constitution, but a few points seem to be sufficiently
ascertained. To those whose constitution has been hereditarily adapted
to a temperate or cold climate, the enfeebling effect of hot countries
depends much more on the constant continuance of a high temperature
than on its amount. A place with a mean temperature of 80° Fahr., which
varies little above or below that point, is far more injurious to a
European than one where intervals of great heat alternate with periods
of cooler weather. Still more important, perhaps, is the effect of a
hot climate in places where the air is habitually nearly saturated
with aqueous vapour. When the temperature of the skin is not much
greater than that of the surrounding air, if this be near the point of
saturation but little evaporation can take place from the surface. The
action of the absorbent vessels is thus checked, and the activity of
all the functions is consequently lowered. As it usually happens that
the two agencies here discussed act together in tropical countries,
the places having a uniform temperature being also for the most part
those having an atmosphere heavily charged with vapour, it is easy
to understand that Europeans whose vitality is already depressed are
especially exposed to suffer from whatever causes induce endemic or
epidemic disease. The difficulty in connection with this subject is to
explain certain exceptions to the general rule. In several places in
the tropics, usually insular stations, where a steady high temperature
is combined with the presence of much vapour, the climate is said to
have no injurious effects. But the most marked exception seems to be
that of seamen. Excluding that large majority whose calling involves
frequent changes of climate, there must be now a considerable body of
experience respecting those who for a series of years have navigated
tropical seas exposed to nearly uniform temperature. I am not aware
that there are any facts to sustain the supposition, which might _à
priori_ seem plausible, that such a life tends to enfeeble the European

Between a broad fringe of mangrove swamp, backed by a narrow border
of forest on either bank, with little to break the monotony of the
way, we reached Guayaquil before ten a.m. Seen from the river, with
many large buildings and stores covering more than a mile of frontage
on the western bank, and a straggling suburb stretching to the base
of a low hill to the northward, the city presents an unexpectedly
imposing appearance. The present amount of trade is inconsiderable,
but if ever these regions can attain to the elementary conditions
of good government the development of their natural resources must
entail a vast increase of business. The territory of Ecuador includes
every variety of climate, and is in great part thoroughly suited to
Europeans. All tropical products are obtainable, and, with good
management and kindly treatment, the supply of efficient negro labour
at moderate wages is considerable. Among other products of the soil,
the tobacco of the country about Guayaquil deserves to be better known.
Of the many varieties of the coarser kind which are grown throughout
Central and South America, this appears to me the best, as it certainly
is the cheapest. The hawkers who came on board sold at less than seven
shillings a hundred cigars of very fair quality, making, as I was told,
a profit of fifty per cent.


It might be not unworthy of the notice of the great steamboat companies
to recommend to their agents some little consideration for passengers
who travel to see the world. It commonly happens that on the arrival
of a steamer, after the first conference between the agent and the
captain, a time is fixed for departure which has no relation to the
hour really intended. We were told this morning that the steamer was
to start at one p.m. The time was clearly too short for an excursion
to the neighbouring country, and the inducement to spend a couple of
hours in the streets of such an unhealthy town was very trifling. Two
young Englishmen went up the river in a boat with the hope of shooting
alligators. These creatures abound along the banks of the Guayas,
basking in the mud, and looking from a distance like the logs that are
floated down by the stream. Our sportsmen had the usual measure of
success, and no more. For a bullet to pierce the dense covering that
shields this animal is a happy accident, but it suffices to disturb the
creature from his rest, and to induce him to crawl or roll into the
river, and to accomplish this is at least a new experience. Through the
courtesy of a native gentleman, the travellers were induced to land
at a _hacienda_ on the river, where horses were provided, and they
galloped back to the town before one o’clock. Meanwhile the Jamaica
story was repeated. It was announced that the agent had decided to keep
the steamer till three p.m.; and finally we learned that we should
remain at our moorings till early next morning.

On her last voyage the _Islay_ had started too late; night fell before
she cleared the mouth of the river, and, in the dark, she had run
down a _chatta_--one of the cumbrous native barges that ply along the
stream. Of fifteen natives in the barge thirteen were saved, three of
them by the courage and activity of the chief officer, who jumped into
the river to their rescue. Our captain very properly objected to the
risk of another similar accident, and decided to wait for daylight.
The cause of the delay remained a mystery, for all that was shipped of
passengers and cargo was of a kind that did not seem likely to be very
remunerative. At first sight it appeared merely as a characteristic
of a rude state of society that the country people around Guayaquil
are used to embark on the southward-bound steamers with tropical fruit
raised by themselves, which they carry to Lima, and even as far as
Valparaiso, dispose of at a handsome profit, and then return home.
As most of the profit must go into the coffers of the Pacific Steam
Company, the motive is not very obvious; but after a little further
experience I fully understood it. Even if they clear little more
than the price of their passage, these people find their advantage in
undertaking an annual expedition of this kind. Apart from the very
positive benefit to health, they gain what they like most in the
world--a season of absolute idleness, with the amusement of seeing new
objects and talking to new people. For the remainder of the voyage the
main-deck was crowded and somewhat encumbered by picturesque groups of
rough men, some accompanied by womankind, alternating with huge heaps
of tropical fruit--pineapples and bananas, a single bunch of the latter
sometimes weighing more than a hundred pounds.


The thermometer scarcely varied by a small fraction from 80° throughout
the night and the following day, until we had cleared the Gulf of
Guayaquil; and even at this moderate temperature the feeling of
lassitude continued as on the previous day. Of the famous mosquitos
of the river Guayas we had little experience. They are said sometimes
to attack in swarms so numerous and ferocious that, even by day, it
becomes difficult for officers and men to manage a ship on the river.

The sun had set on the following evening, April 12, before we were
well abreast of Cabo Blanco, the southern headland of the Gulf of
Guayaquil, and we saw nothing of its southern shore. About one-half of
this belongs to Peru, and close to the frontier-line is the little port
of Tumbez, sometimes visited by passing steamers. I was assured by two
of the ship’s officers that the climate and vegetation of this place
are much the same as at Guayaquil, but there are few parts of the
American coast that better deserve careful examination by a scientific

During the night of the 12th we passed Cape Parinas, the westernmost
headland of South America, and before sunrise were in the roads of
Payta. Being aware that the so-called rainless zone of Peru extends
northward to this place, I was especially anxious to see as much of it
as possible. During the night the temperature had fallen, especially
after rounding Cape Parinas, and at sunrise stood at 74°. In the cooler
air, and under the excitement of pleasant anticipation, the lassitude
of the two preceding days utterly disappeared; and as day dawned I
stood on deck, with my tin box slung to my back, ready to go ashore
long before there was any possibility of doing so. The officers told
me, indeed, that there was no use in taking a botanical box, as the
country about Payta was absolutely without vegetation. I have many
times had the same assurance given me, but the time had not yet come
when I was to find it correct, and I felt that Payta was not one of
such rare spots on the earth.

The appearance of the place and of its surroundings is unquestionably
very strange, and the contrast between it and the shores of the
neighbouring Gulf of Guayaquil is simply marvellous. Saving the
presence of a mean little modern church, with two shabby wooden towers
coated with plaster, the aspect of the little town reminded me of Suez,
with the difference that the surrounding desert is here raised about
a hundred feet above the sea-level. The place, I presume, is improved
since it was visited and described by Squiers, and I found that on the
slope between the base of the plateau and the beach there is ample
space for some mean streets.


With several companions who were kind enough to interest themselves
in plant-hunting, I at once turned towards the sea-beach at the
south-western side of the town, keeping along the base of the low
cliffs that here descend to the water’s edge. The seaward face of the
cliffs is furrowed by numerous gullies, and in one of the broadest of
these I was delighted to observe numerous stunted bushes well laden
with crimson flowers. This turned out to be _Galvesia limensis_, a
plant found only at a few spots in Peru, whose nearest but yet distant
European ally is the common snapdragon. In the upper part of the same
gully were the withered remains of several other species, most of
which have been since identified. Emerging on the plateau, we found
ourselves on a wide plain, apparently unbroken, leading up to a range
of hills some fifteen or twenty miles distant. Though we were here only
five degrees from the equator, and before we returned to the ship the
sun had risen as high as on a summer’s noon in England, the southerly
breeze felt delightfully cool and fresh, and at midday, under the
vertical sun, the temperature on board ship was not quite 75°.

Vegetation, as I anticipated, was not entirely absent from the plateau,
but it was more scarce than I had anywhere seen it, except in the
tracts west of the Nile above Cairo, where the drifting sands covers
up and bury everything on the surface. In the northern Sahara, about
Biskra, where rain is much less infrequent than here, vegetation,
though scanty, is nearly continuous, and it is not easy to find spaces
of several square yards absolutely without a single plant. About Suez,
and on parts of the isthmus where a slight infiltration from the sweet
water canal has not developed a more varied vegetation, the number of
species in a given tract is often very limited; but tufts of vigorous
growth, especially of the salt-loving species, are seen at frequent
intervals. On the plateau of Payta, where, as we rambled about, several
pairs of eyes were on the alert, but a single tuft of verdure visible
at a distance could be made out. This was formed by several bushes of
_Prosopis limensis_ growing together. Elsewhere the few plants seen
were confined to the occasional shallow depressions where rain rests
longest. All, of course, had perennial roots, and scarcely one of them
rose as much as three inches from the ground.[3]

I found it difficult to account for the origin of the sands which are
sparingly scattered over the plateau, but accumulated to a considerable
depth on the slopes behind the town. The underlying rock seen in
ascending to the plateau is a tolerably compact shale; but the hard
crust forming the superficial stratum appears to consist of different
materials, and not to be made up from the disintegrated materials of
the shale. At several places, both below the cliffs and on the plateau,
I found large scattered fragments of what appeared to be a very recent
calcareous formation, largely composed of shells of living species; but
this was nowhere seen _in situ_, and I was unable to conjecture the
origin of these fragments.


Before returning to the _Islay_, I had the advantage of a short
conversation with the very intelligent gentleman who acts as British
consular agent at Payta, and whose ability would perhaps be seen to
advantage in a more conspicuous post. The information received from
him fully confirmed the impressions formed during my short excursion.
The appearance of the gullies that furrow the seaward face of the
plateau sufficiently showed that, however infrequent they may be,
heavy rains must sometimes visit this part of the coast. I now learned
that, in point of fact, abundant rain lasting for several days recurs
at intervals of three or four years, the last having been seen in the
year 1879. As happens everywhere else in the arid coast zone, extending
nearly two thousand miles from Payta to Coquimbo in North Chili,
abundant rainfall is speedily followed by an outburst of herbaceous
vegetation covering the surfaces that have so long been bare. During
the long dry intervals slight showers occur occasionally a few times in
each year. These are quite insufficient to cause any general appearance
of fresh vegetation, but suffice, it would seem, to maintain the
vitality of the few species that hold their ground persistently. The
ordinary supply of water in Payta, obtained from a stream descending
from the Andes seventeen miles distant, is carried by donkeys that are
despatched every morning for the purpose. There was something quite
strange in the appearance of a few bundles of fresh grass which we saw
in the _plaza_. They had come that morning by the same conveyance for
the support of the very few domestic animals that it is possible to
keep in such a place.

The problems suggested by the singular climatal conditions of this
region of South America have not, I think, been as fully discussed
as they deserve to be, and I here venture on some remarks as a
contribution to the subject.

The existence of the so-called rainless zone on the west coast of
South America is usually accounted for by two agencies whose union
is necessary to produce the result. The great range of the Andes,
it is said, acts as a condenser on the moisture that is constantly
carried from the Atlantic coasts by the general westward drift of the
atmosphere in low latitudes. The copious rainfall thus produced on
the eastern slopes of the great range leaves the air of the highlands
of Peru and Bolivia relatively dry and cool, so that any portion that
may descend to the coast on the western declivity tends to prevent
rather than to cause fresh aqueous precipitations. Meanwhile the
branch of the Antarctic Ocean current known as the Humboldt current,
which sets northward along the sea-board from Western Patagonia, is
accompanied by an aërial current, or prevailing breeze, which keeps
the same direction. The cold air flowing towards the equator, being
gradually warmed, has its capacity for holding vapour in suspension
constantly increased, and is thus enabled to absorb a large portion
of the vapour contained in the currents that occasionally flow inland
from the Pacific, so that the production of rain is a rare event,
recurring only at long intervals. Admitting the plausibility of this
explanation, a first difficulty presents itself. If the Andes act as a
barrier against the vapour-laden atmosphere of eastern tropical America
throughout Peru, Bolivia, and Northern Chili why, it may be asked, do
they fail to perform the same function in Ecuador and Colombia? Whence
the absolute contrast in point of climate that exists between these
regions? Why is the littoral zone between the Gulf of Guayaquil and
that of Panama, a distance of some eight hundred miles, not merely less
dry than that of Peru, but actually more moist than most parts of the
coast of Brazil or Guiana?


Some answer may, I think, be given to these questions. In the first
place, comparing the orography of Peru and Bolivia with that of
Ecuador, some important differences must be noted. In Eastern Peru, as
is at once shown by the direction of the principal rivers, we find no
less than four parallel mountain ranges, increasing in mean elevation
as we travel from east to west. The westernmost range, to which in
Peru the name _Cordillera_ is exclusively applied, does not everywhere
include the highest peaks, but has the highest mean elevation. The
second range, exclusively called _Andes_ in Peru, rivals the first
in height and importance. I know of no collective names by which to
distinguish the third range, dividing the valley of the Huallaga from
that of the Ucayali, nor the fourth range, forming the eastern boundary
of the latter stream. In South Peru and Bolivia the mountain ranges are
less regularly disposed, but cover a still wider area; and throughout
the whole region it is obvious that the warm and moist currents
drifting slowly westward have to traverse a zone of lofty mountains
varying from four to six hundred miles in width, and can carry no
moisture available to produce rain on the western seaboard. In Ecuador
the two principal ranges--the Cordillera and the Andes--are much
nearer together than they usually are in Peru, and no parallel ranges
flank them on the east. The numerous tributaries of the Maranon flow
in a tolerably direct course east or south-east, many of them rising
within a hundred and fifty miles of the Pacific coast. It follows that
the atmospheric currents meeting less preliminary obstruction reach
the eastern slopes of the main range still very heavily charged with
vapour. In crossing the barrier a large portion of the burthen must
be deposited; but it is probable that a large amount is nevertheless
carried to the western side of the range.

It may be said that this explanation, whatever it may be worth, cannot
apply to the territory of Colombia, where the Andes are broken up
into at least three lofty ranges, and the mountains cover as wide a
space as they do in Peru. My impression is that the abundant supply of
moisture on the west coast of Colombia arises from a different source.
The effects of the Isthmus of Panama as a barrier against atmospheric
currents must be absolutely insignificant, and I have no doubt that
those which flow eastward along the coast of the Caribbean Sea are in
part diverted south-east and south along the west coast of Colombia.

There can, however, be little doubt that in determining the climate
of the west coast the influence of the Humboldt current, and of the
cool southerly breezes that accompany it, is far greater than that
of the disposition of the mountain ranges. A glance at the map shows
that about the fifth and sixth degrees of south latitude the direction
of the coast undergoes a considerable change. On the voyage from
Panama, we had hitherto steered somewhat west of south; henceforward
our course lay between south-south-east and south-east. All the
currents of the ocean and atmosphere, whose existence arises from the
unequal distribution of heat on the earth’s surface, vary somewhat in
their course throughout the year with the changes of season, and this
doubtless holds good on the American coast. I believe, however, that
both the sea and air currents from the south are normally deflected
away from the coast at the promontory of Ajulla (sometimes written
“Ahuja”), a short distance south of Payta. A further portion is again
deflected westward at Cape Parinas, north of which headland they seem
not to be ordinarily met. I infer, however, from the testimony of
seamen, that at some seasons they are felt near the coast as far north
as the equator, and even beyond it. This inference was confirmed by
observing the parched appearance of the seaward slope of Cabo Sta.
Elena, north of the Gulf of Guayaquil, which apparently does not fully
share in the frequent rains that elsewhere visit the coast of Ecuador.


Whatever force there may be in the above suggestions, I confess that
they do not seem to me adequate to account for the extraordinary
difference of climate between places so near as Payta and Tumbez--not
quite a hundred miles apart--and I trust that further light may be
thrown upon the matter by a scientific traveller able to spare the
necessary time. So far as I know, no such abrupt and complete a change
is known elsewhere in the world. I was unable to obtain any information
as to a range of hills or mountains, marked in Arrowsmith’s map “Sa.
Amatapi,” which appears to extend east or east-north-east from Cape
Parinas. Its height can scarcely be considerable, as it does not appear
to have attracted the attention of the seamen who are familiar with
this coast; but, on the other hand, there is some reason to think that
the southerly breezes prevailing on the coast do not extend to any
great height above the sea-level. It would be interesting if we should
find on the opposite sides of a range of unimportant hills the same
contrasts of climate and vegetation that are known to prevail between
the eastern and western slopes of the Peruvian Andes.[4]

Along the coast of Northern Peru are numerous small islets, evidently
at some period detached from the continent either by subsidence or
by marine erosion. Here, in the almost complete absence of rain, were
formed those secular accumulations deposited by sea-birds, which, when
known in Europe under the name of _guano_, suddenly rivalled the mines
of the precious metals as sources of easily acquired wealth. The two
most considerable groups are respectively named Lobos de tierra and
Lobos de afuera; a smaller group near to Payta is also called Lobos.
At the western end of the largest of the latter group the waves have
excavated a natural arch, which, after a sufficient period of further
excavation, will fall and give rise to a new detached islet. A brisk
southerly breeze made the air feel cooler than it had done since we
entered the tropics, as we ran about due south until sunset, when,
after passing abreast of the promontory of Ajulla, our course was
altered to nearly due south-east. I was assured by a native passenger
that the promontory of Ajulla, for a distance of thirty or forty
miles, is an absolute desert, without a drop of water or the slightest
trace of vegetation. Experience has made me somewhat sceptical as to
statements of this nature made by non-scientific observers. During
the day we frequently observed a fish which appears distinct from
the flying-fish of the Atlantic. The pectoral fins appear to be less
developed, and in consequence the flight is shorter, and the animal
seems to have less command over its movements.


Our course on April 14 lay rather far from land. It was known that
yellow fever had broken out at Truxillo, and it was decided that we
should run direct to Callao, without touching at that or any of the
smaller places on the coast sometimes visited by the steamers. Although
the air appeared to be somewhat hazy, the range of the Cordillera, more
than a hundred miles distant, was distinctly seen in the afternoon.
Very soon after we ran into a dense bank of fog, in which we were
immersed for several hours, our cautious captain remaining meanwhile on
the bridge, and the frequent cry of the steam-whistle ceased only when
we steamed out of the fog into a brilliant star-lit night.


These fogs, which are frequent along the Peruvian coast, are the chief,
if not the only, difficulty with which the navigator has to contend.
When they rest over the land it becomes extremely difficult to make
the ports, and at sea they involve the possible risk of collision.
If this risk is at present but slight, it must become more serious
when intercourse increases, as it must inevitably do if the Ship
Canal should ever be completed; and for the general safety it may be
expedient to prescribe special rules as to the course to be taken by
vessels proceeding north or south along the coast. The origin of the
fogs must be obvious to any one who considers the physical conditions
of this region, to which I have already referred. The air must be
very frequently near the point of saturation, and a slight fall of
temperature, or the local intermixture of a body of moister air, must
suffice to produce fog. The remarkable thing is that this should so
very rarely undergo the further change requisite to cause rain. To some
young Englishmen on board, the remarkable coolness of the air along
this coast was a continual subject of jesting comment; and on more than
one occasion the “Tropics” were emphatically declared to be “humbugs.”
It is certain that for thirty-six hours before reaching Callao the
shaded thermometer never reached 70°, and stood at noon, with a clear
sky and a brisk southerly breeze, no higher than 68°.


  Arrival at Callao--Quarantine--The war between Chili and Peru--Aspect
      of Lima--General Lynch--Andean railway to Chicla--Valley of
      the Rimac--Puente Infernillo--Chicla--Mountain-sickness--Flora
      of the Temperate zone of the Andes--Excursion to the higher
      region--Climate of the Cordillera--Remarks on the Andean
      flora--Return to Lima--Visit to a sugar-plantation--Condition of
      Peru--Prospect of anarchy.

The steam-whistle, sounding about daybreak on April 15, announced that
we were again wrapped in fog. As the _Islay_ advanced at half speed
the fog lightened without clearing, until about nine a.m. we made
the island of San Lorenzo, and, as the haze finally melted away into
bright sunshine, found ourselves half an hour later in the harbour of
Callao. The moment was exciting for those who, like myself, approached
as strangers the shore which had in our childhood seemed so strange,
so adventure-fraught, so distant. Already some one had pointed out
the towers of the Cathedral of Lima, with the Cordillera apparently
so near that the mountains must begin outside the gates. All stood on
deck prepared to land--some already looking forward to luncheon in the
city of Pizarro--and waiting only for the usual formalities of the
visit of the _sanidad_. At length the officials came, and, after the
usual parley over the ship’s side, it became apparent that the visit
was no mere formality. At last the ominous word _quarantine_ was heard,
received at first with mere incredulity, as something too absurd, but
at last taking the consistence of a stern fact. Since the outbreak of
yellow fever among the troops at Truxillo, the Chilian authorities
have naturally become nervously anxious to protect the occupying army
from this danger, and every precaution is put in force. Under these
circumstances, a ship coming from Guayaquil was naturally an object of
suspicion. There certainly was not at the time any epidemic fever at
that place; but, if reports be true, sporadic cases are not unfrequent,
and that city is rarely, if ever, quite free from malignant zymotic
disease. At last the discussion was closed, by a definite order that we
should repair to the quarantine ground under the lee of the island of
San Lorenzo.


Up to this time we had scarcely given attention to the scene
immediately surrounding us; yet the harbour of Callao is at any time
an interesting sight, and at this moment its aspect was peculiarly
expressive. Although the Chilian forces had before this time become
absolute masters of the entire seaboard of Peru, and there was no
reason to apprehend any renewal of the struggle by sea, the memorials
of the desperate encounters which marked the earlier phase of the war
were here still fresh. Near the shore in several different directions
were the wrecks of ships which had sunk while the captors were
endeavouring to bring them into harbour, the masts sticking up idly
above water and doing the duty of buoys. Still afloat, though looking
terribly battered and scarcely seaworthy, was that remarkable little
ship, the _Huascar_, looking a mere pigmy beside the warships in the
harbour from which the Chilian, American, French, and Italian flags
were flying, England being for the moment unrepresented.

The naval war between Chili and Peru was conducted at such a distance
from Europe, and its causes were so little understood, that it excited
but feeble interest. Even the circumstance that, in an encounter
brought about by the incompetence and rashness of a British commander,
the pigmy Peruvian force was able with impunity to inflict an affront
on the national flag, scarcely excited in England more than momentary
surprise. Nevertheless the story of the war, which yet awaits an
impartial chronicler,[5] abounds with dramatic incident. The record is
ennobled by acts of heroic bravery on both sides, while at the same
time it suggests matter for serious consideration to the professional
seaman. The important part which small fast ships, carrying one or two
heavy guns only, may play in the altered conditions of naval warfare
has been often pointed out, but has been practically illustrated
only in the war between Chili and Peru. It does not seem as if the
importance of the lesson had been yet fully appreciated by those
responsible for the naval administration of the great European powers.

For the remainder of the day, and during the whole of the 16th,
we lay at anchor about half a mile from the shore of the island of
San Lorenzo, a bare rough hill, mainly formed, it would seem, of
volcanic rock overlaid in places by beds of very modern formation. All
naturalists are familiar with the evidence adduced by Darwin, proving
the considerable elevation of the island and the adjacent mainland
since the period of the Incas, as well as Tschudi’s arguments going to
show that in more recent times there has been a period of subsidence.


Of the objects near at hand the most interesting were the large black
pelicans which in great numbers frequent the bay or harbour of Callao,
attracted, no doubt, by the offal abundantly supplied from the town
and the shipping. Seemingly indefatigable and insatiable, these birds
continued for hours to circle in long sweeping curves over the water,
swooping down on any object that attracted their appetite. The body
appears to be somewhat slighter than that of the white pelican of the
East, but the breadth of wing and length of the neck are about the
same. When on the wing the plumage appears to be black, but in truth it
is of a dark bluish slate colour.

Our detention in quarantine might have been prolonged but for the
fortunate circumstance that the contents of the mail-bags carried by
the _Islay_ were at this moment the object of anxious curiosity to the
Chilian authorities, and to the representatives of foreign powers. The
position of affairs was already sufficiently critical, and the attitude
recently assumed by the Government of the United States had added a new
element of uncertainty to the existing difficulties. Mr. Hurlbut, the
last American representative, had died, and Mr. Trescott, who supplied
his place, was ostensibly charged with the attempt to bring about a
peace between Chili and Peru, but was supposed to be chiefly intent
on extricating his Government from a position into which it had been
led by a series of proceedings which had neither raised the national
reputation nor secured the good-will of either Chili or Peru.

While we lay off the harbour, watched day and night by the crew of a
launch stationed beside us to prevent communication with the land, we
received three successive visits from the officers of the American
man-of-war lying in the harbour, who approached near enough to hold
conversation with our captain. The message was a request, finally
conveyed in somewhat imperious terms, that the dispatches addressed to
the American envoy should at once be delivered. The American foreign
office is not, I believe, accustomed to forward diplomatic dispatches
in a separate bag, but merely uses the ordinary post. Our captain
properly declined to take the responsibility of opening the mail-bags,
which he was bound to deliver intact to the postal authorities as
soon as we were admitted to pratique. The result was that on Monday,
just as we were beginning to be seriously uneasy at the prospect of a
long detention, a steam launch was seen to approach, having a number
of officials on board. A seemingly interminable conversation between
these and the captain and medical officer of our ship finally resulted
in a Chilian medical man coming on board to make a careful examination
of the ship, the crew, and the passengers. After we had been duly
marshalled and inspected--the first-class passengers on the spar-deck,
the others on the main-deck--the welcome announcement, “Admitted to
pratique,” ran through the ship. Not much time was lost in moving up to
the proper moorings in the harbour, some two miles distant, and about
noon we were set on land close to the custom-house.


The boatmen, the porters, and the nondescript hangers-on about the
quays of a port, formed a strange and motley assemblage, in whose
countenances three very distinct types of humanity--the European, the
negro, and the South American Indian--were mingled in the most varied
proportions, scarcely one denoting an unmixed origin. The arrangements
at Callao are convenient for strangers. The custom-house officers,
though unbribed, gave no trouble, and the rather voluminous luggage of
six English passengers was entrusted to a man who undertook for ten
_soles_ (about thirty-three shillings) to convey the whole to the chief
hotel in Lima. No time was left to see anything of Callao. A train was
about to start; and in half an hour we were carried over the level
space--about seven and a half miles--that separates Lima from the port
of Callao.

Occupied by the forces of her victorious rival, and shorn of most
of the almost fabulous wealth that once enriched her inhabitants,
Peru can, even in her present ruined state, show a capital city
that impresses the stranger. It is true that the buildings have no
architectural merit, that most of the streets are horribly ill-paved,
and that at present there is little outward appearance of wealth in
the thoroughfares; in spite of all this the general aspect is novel and
pleasing. Although violent earthquakes have rarely occurred in this
region, slight shocks are very frequent, and remind the inhabitants
that formidable telluric forces are slumbering close at hand. Hence,
as a rule, the houses have only a single floor above the ground, and
cover a proportionately large space. As in Southern Spain, all those
of the better class enclose a _patio_, or courtyard, partly occupied
by tropical trees or flowering shrubs. Fronting the street, or the
_plaza_, a long projecting balcony, enclosed with glass, enables the
inmates to enjoy that refuge from absolute vacancy which is afforded
by gazing at the passers-by, and which seems to supply the place of
occupation to much of the population even in Southern Europe.

With scarcely an exception, the numerous churches are vile examples of
debased renaissance architecture, fronted with stucco ornamentation
in great part fallen to decay. Not long before our arrival, I believe
under the Chilian administration, they had been all freshly covered
with whitewash, cut into rectangular spaces by broad bands of bright
blue. In the streets near the great _plaza_ there was much apparent
animation during the day; but the shops were closed an hour before
nightfall, and after dark the city was hushed into unnatural silence.
The fair _Limeñas_, as to whose charms travellers have been eloquent,
and who used to throng the public drives and walks towards sunset,
were no longer to be seen. To exhibit themselves would be to display
indifference to the misfortunes of their country. Some might be
observed, indeed, during the morning hours, plainly dressed in black,
going either to church or on some business errand; but they were so
closely wrapped up in a _manta_ as to be completely disguised.


On landing in Peru, the one question which completely engrossed my mind
was whether or not it would be possible for me, in the present state of
the country, to reach the upper region of the Andes.

To a naturalist this great chain must ever be the dominant feature
of the South American continent. To its structure and its flora and
fauna are attached questions of overwhelming importance to the past
history of our planet, and, however little a man may hope to effect
during a flying visit, the desire to gain that degree of acquaintance
which actual observation alone can give becomes painfully intense.
I was aware that what had formerly been a long and rather laborious
journey had of late years been reduced to a mere excursion by the
construction of two lines of railway, leading from the sea-coast to the
upper region. That which, if free to choose, I should have preferred
starts from the coast at Mollendo, and, passing the important town of
Arequipa, traverses the crest of the Cordillera, and has its terminus
at Puno, on the Lake of Titicaca, in the centre of the plateau which
lies between the two main ridges of the Andes. The region surrounding
this great lake, which here divides Peru from Bolivia, must offer
objects of interest only too numerous and too engrossing for a
traveller whose time is counted by days. Although the level of the lake
is some 12,800 feet above the sea, the peaks of Sorata rise above its
eastern shores to a further height of nearly 10,000 feet; and lake
steamers give access to most of the inhabited places on its shores--no
slight matter when it is remembered that the lake measures more than a
hundred miles in length.

The second line, which, starting from the city of Lima, is carried
nearly due east along the valley of the Rimac, was designed to open
communication by the most direct route between the capital and the
fertile region on the eastern slopes of the Andes--called in Peru the
_Montaña_--as well as with the rich silver region of Cerro de Pasco.
The crest of the Cordillera, or western ridge of the Andes, is scarcely
eighty miles from Lima in a direct line, but the most practicable pass
is somewhat higher than the summit of Mont Blanc. The road was to
pierce the pass by a tunnel 15,645 feet above the sea-level, and thence
to descend to the town of Oroya on the high plateau that divides the
two main ridges. As the line was laid out, the distance from Lima to
the summit-level was only 97 miles, and that to Oroya 129 miles.

Considered merely as engineering works, these lines, which owe their
existence to the enterprise of an American contractor and the skill of
the engineers who carried out the undertaking, may fairly be counted
among the wonders of the world. The Oroya line, the more difficult
of the two, unfortunately remained unfinished. Although the loans
contracted in Europe by the Peruvian Government more than sufficed
to defray the cost of all the industrial undertakings that they were
professedly intended to supply, it is scarcely necessary to say that
a large portion disappeared through underground channels, leaving
legitimate demands unprovided for. The stipulated instalments due to
Mr. Meiggs, the great contractor, remained unpaid, and, in the midst
of the difficulties in which he was thus involved, his death put a
final stoppage to the works. The line had been completed and opened
for a distance of about eighty miles from Lima, as far as the village
of Chicla, 12,220 feet above the sea. From that time forward Mr.
Meiggs devoted his energies to the boring of the tunnel at the summit,
probably under the impression that if that were once finished the
Peruvian Government could scarcely fail to provide the funds necessary
to complete the line on either side.


I had found it impossible to ascertain before leaving England what had
been the fate of these magnificent works since the ravages of war had
devastated the region through which they are carried. Various quite
inconsistent stories had reached me through the passengers from Panama,
Guayaquil, and Payta. Traffic, said some, continued on both lines just
as before the war; traffic, said others, had been completely stopped by
order of the Chilian authorities; others, finally, asserted that the
Oroya line had been so damaged by either belligerent as to be rendered
permanently useless.

Before I had been many hours on shore, I was able to get authentic
information which relieved my mind from further anxiety. The southern
line, from Mollendo to Puno, was open; but Arequipa, the chief place on
the way, was still in possession of the Peruvians, who occupied it in
some force. With permits, to be obtained from the commanding officers
on both sides, it might be possible to go and return, supposing no
fresh outbreak of hostile movements of the troops on either side. The
news as to the Oroya line was even more satisfactory. The whole line
was occupied by the Chilian forces, there being a detachment at Chicla,
with outposts on the farther side of the pass. The line had been for
some time closed to traffic, but had been re-opened a few days before
our arrival. With a permit, to be obtained from the chief of the staff
in Lima, there would be no difficulty in proceeding to Chicla.

My decision was speedily taken. Under the most favourable
circumstances, the time necessary to reach Puno and return to the
coast, with the not improbable risk of detention, was more than I could
afford. Further than this, as Puno lies on the plateau remote from the
mountains, I should see but little of the characteristic flora of the
Andes, unless I could reach some place on the eastern shore of the Lake
of Titicaca, whence access could be had to the flanks of the Sorata

Some description of the Lake of Titicaca which I had read as a boy
still dwelt in my mind, and the memoirs and conversation of the late
Mr. Pentland had long made the peaks of Sorata objects of especial
interest to me. There could, however, be no doubt that the faint hope
of beholding them which had lingered till then must be renounced, and
I was too happy at the prospect of achieving a short visit to the more
accessible part of the chain to have leisure for any keen regret.


Having ascertained that the trains to Chicla departed only every second
day, returning thence on the alternate days, I arranged to start on
the 20th. During the two intermediate days, I had the opportunity of
making several agreeable acquaintances. Sir Spencer St. John, the
English minister, had lately returned to Europe, and the legation was
temporarily under the charge of Mr. J. R. Graham, who had recently
acted as _chargé d’affaires_ in Guatemala. Among other kind attentions
which I have to acknowledge, Mr. Graham was good enough to introduce me
to Don Patricio Lynch, commander-in-chief of the Chilian forces in Peru.

The object of boundless admiration from his own followers, and of
still more unmeasured denunciation from his enemies, General Lynch
is undoubtedly the most remarkable man who has come to the front
during the late unhappy war in South America. Like most of the men
who have acquired military renown in that part of the world, he is of
Irish extraction, his grandfather having settled in Chili early in
the present century. Having served as a young man for a time in the
English navy, he was promoted by the Chilian Government, some time
after the outbreak of the war, to a naval command. The operations at
sea had, up to that time, been on the whole unfavourable to Chili, and
the successes which finally changed the aspect of the war by sea were
largely ascribed to the energy and ability of Admiral Lynch. Passing
from the sea to the land, he so much distinguished himself in various
daring encounters with the enemy that he was finally promoted to the
chief command of the Chilian forces in Peru, and at this time was
virtually dictator, with absolute rule over the whole coast region
occupied by the Chilian army.

However open to discussion might be the policy adopted by the
Chilians towards the conquered country, there was a general agreement
as to one matter of no slight importance. The population of Lima
and the surrounding districts is composed of the most varied
constituents--native Indian, negro, and the mongrel offspring of
the intermixture of these with European blood, to all which of late
years has been added a large contingent of Chinese immigrants. It is
not surprising that, under inefficient administration, there should
have arisen from the dregs of such a population a large class either
actually living by crime or ready to resort to outrage as favourable
opportunities might arise. On the other hand, the Chilian army, for
which there was but a small nucleus of regular troops, had to be
largely recruited from among the loose fish of the floating population
of South America, and naturally included no small number of bad
subjects, ready to make the utmost use of the license of war. For many
years past the police of Lima was notoriously inefficient; robberies
were frequent, and there were many spots in the neighbourhood of
the city where it was considered unsafe to go unarmed even in broad
daylight. It was not unreasonably feared that in such conditions the
occupation of the city by the Chilians would have results disastrous
for the safety of the numerous foreign residents and the peaceful
citizens. It was through the energy and capacity of General Lynch that
the apprehended reign of disorder was averted. An efficient police was
at once established, speedy capital punishment was awarded in every
case of serious outrage, and with stern impartiality a short shrift was
allotted alike to the Peruvian marauder and the looter wearing Chilian
uniform. It was admitted on all hands that the city had never before
been so safe, while, at the same time, the ordinary municipal work of
cleansing, watering, and lighting the streets and public places had
been visibly improved under the stimulus of vigorous administration.


My reception by the Chilian general was all that I could desire. He at
once expressed his readiness to assist my objects in every way, and
carried out his promise by giving me a letter to the officer commanding
the detachment at Chicla, with instructions to provide horses and
guides and all needful protection for myself and my companion. I failed
to detect in General Lynch any of the characteristics, usually so
persistent, of men of Irish descent. The stately courtesy and serious
expression, reminding one of the bearing of a Castilian gentleman,
were not enlivened by the irrepressible touches of liveliness that
involuntarily relieve even a careworn Irishman from the pressure of his
environment. One particularity in the arrangements at head-quarters
struck me as singular; but I afterwards understood that it was
merely the transference to Peru of the ordinary habits of Chili. The
head-quarters of the general were fixed in the former palace of the
Spanish viceroys. A sentry in the street paid no attention as, in
company with Mr. Graham, I entered the first court, and it appeared
that every one, or, at least, every decently dressed stranger, was
free to pass. Through an open door we entered the first of a suite of
large rooms, and advanced from one to another without encountering a
human being, whether guard or attendant, until in the last room but
one, seemingly by accident, a secretary presented himself, who at once
ushered us into the cabinet of the general. In the case of any public
man in Europe, to say nothing of the chief of an army of occupation
constantly assailed by the fiercest denunciations, and left thus easy
of access, some fanatic or madman would speedily translate the popular
hatred into grim deed.

Among the acquaintances made in Lima, I must mention the name of
Mr. William Nation, a gentleman who, amidst many difficulties, has
acquired an extensive knowledge of the fauna and flora of Peru, and
has observed with attention many facts of interest connected with
the natural history of the country. After my return from Chicla, Mr.
Nation was kind enough to accompany me in two short excursions in the
neighbourhood of the city, and I am further indebted to him for much
valuable assistance and information.

Soon after eight a.m. on the morning of April 20, I started from the
railway station at Lima, in company with my friend W----, who was
fortunately able to absent himself for some days. The country lying
between the coast and the foot of the Cordillera appears to the eye a
horizontal plain, but is, in fact, a slope inclining towards the sea,
and rising very uniformly about seventy feet per mile.[6] This ancient
sea-bottom extends for a distance of fully fifteen miles from Lima into
the valley of the Rimac, which, in approaching the coast, gradually
spreads out from a narrow gorge to a wide valley with a flat floor.
At the same time the river gradually dwindles from a copious rushing
torrent to a meagre stream, running in many shallow channels over a
broad stony bed, until it is finally almost lost in the marshes near
Callao. Its waters are consumed by the numerous irrigation channels;
for it must be remembered that along the western side of the continent,
for a distance of nearly thirty degrees of latitude, cultivation is
confined to those tracts which can be irrigated by streams from the
Andes. Keeping pretty near to the left bank of the Rimac, the railway
runs between two detached hills, formerly islands when the sea stood
a few hundred feet above its present level. That on the north side is
called the Amancais, and another less extensive mass rises south of the


Throughout the greater part of the year these hills, as well as the
lower slopes of the Cordillera, appear, as they did to me, absolutely
bare of vegetation; but in winter, from June to September, slight
showers of rain are not unfrequent, and the fogs, denser than in other
seasons, rest more constantly on the hills, and doubtless deposit
abundant night-dews on the surface. The seeds and bulbs and rhizomes
awake from their long sleep, and in a few days the slopes are covered
with a brilliant carpet, in which bright flowers of various species
follow each other in rapid succession.

Alongside of the railway runs a broad road covered to a depth of a
couple of feet with volcanic sand, with occasional loose blocks of
stone. The struggles of the few laden animals that we saw in passing,
as they toiled along this weary track under a scorching sun, suggested
a thought of the wonderful changes which modern inventions have already
effected, and are destined to effect in the future, throughout every
part of the world. The track before our eyes was, until the other day,
the sole line of direct communication between Lima and the interior of
Peru. The passage of men and animals had in the course of centuries
reduced the original stony surface to a river of fine sand, and by no
better mode of transport had the treasures of Cerro de Pasco, and the
other rich silver deposits of the same region, been carried to the
coast to sap the manhood and energy of the Spanish settlers in Peru,
and help to achieve the same result in the mother country.

The American railway car, which is not without its drawbacks for
ordinary travellers, is admirably suited to a naturalist in a new
country. No time is lost in opening and shutting doors. Standing ready
on the platform, one jumps off at every stoppage of the train, and
jumps up again without delay or hindrance. I was able to appreciate
these advantages during this day, and to add considerably to my
collections by turning every moment to account. At first the vegetation
was, of course, extremely scanty; but I was interested by finding here
some representatives of genera that extend to the hotter and drier
parts of the Mediterranean region, such as _Boerhavia_ and _Lippia_.

Not far beyond the station of Santa Clara, near to which is a large
sugar-plantation, the slopes on either side of the valley become
more continuous, and gradually approach nearer together. The first
trace of vegetation visible from a distance was shown by one of the
cactus tribe, probably a _Cereus_, and as we ascended I was able to
distinguish two other species of the same family.


At many points in the valley, always on slightly rising ground,
shapeless inequalities of the surface marked with their rough outline
all that now remains of the numerous villages that in the days of the
Incas were scattered at short intervals.

As we advanced, the slopes on either side became higher and steeper,
but were still apparently nearly bare of vegetation until we reached
Chosica, about twenty-six miles from Lima, 2800 feet above the sea. At
this place it was formerly the custom to halt for breakfast, but since
the line has been re-opened, the only eatables to be found are the
fruits, chiefly bananas and _granadillas_, which Indian women offer to
the passengers.

Henceforward the line is fairly enclosed between the slopes on either
hand, everywhere rough and steep, but, as is the nature of volcanic
rocks, nowhere cut into precipices. The gradient becomes perceptibly
steeper, being about one in thirty-three in the space between Chosica
and San Bartolomé--about thirteen miles. Here the change of climate
begins to be distinctly marked. It is evident that during a great part
of the year the declivities are covered with vegetation, though now
brown from drought, and they show the occasional action of running
water in deep furrows and ravines. Here the engineers engaged on the
railway first confronted the serious difficulties of the undertaking.
Following the line from San Bartolomé to Chicla, the distance is only
thirty-four miles, but the difference of level is 7317 feet, and the
fifty-one miles between this and the summit-tunnel involve an ascent of
10,740 feet. The gradient is very uniform, never, I believe, exceeding
one in twenty-six, the average being about one in twenty-eight. Some of
the expedients adopted appear simple enough, though quite effectual for
the intended purpose. Very steep uniform slopes have been ascended by
zigzags, in which the train is alternately dragged by the locomotive in
front, and then (the motion being reversed), shoved up the next incline
with the engine in the rear. In one place I observed that we passed
five times, always at a different level, above the same point in the
valley below.

Among the more remarkable works on the line are the viaducts by which
deep and broad ravines cut in the friable volcanic rocks have been
spanned. The iron beams and girders that sustain these structures
appear much slighter than I have seen used in Europe. In crossing one
_barranca_, on what is said to be the loftiest viaduct in the world, I
stood on the platform at the end of the car: there being no continuous
roadway, the eye plunged directly down into the chasm below, over which
we seemed to be travelling on a spider’s web.

For a distance of about eight miles from San Bartolomé the railway
keeps near to the bottom of the valley, between slopes whereon a
distinct green hue is now visible, and some trickling rivulets are
perceived in the channels of the ravines. On the opposite, or northern,
slope are still distinctly seen the terraces by which in ancient
days the industrious Indian population carried cultivation up the
precipitous slopes to a height of more than fifteen hundred feet above
the bed of the valley. For in this land, before the Spaniard destroyed
its simple civilization and reduced the larger part to a wilderness,
the pressure of population was felt as it now is in the southern
valleys of the Alps. The fact that terrace cultivation commenced
precisely in the part of the valley where we now find streamlets from
the flanks of the high mountains above, which might be used for partial
irrigation, tends to show that no considerable change of climate has


Before reaching the Surco station (forty-eight miles from Lima, and
6655 feet above the sea) the road finally abandons the Rimac, and
commences the seemingly formidable ascent of the declivity above the
left bank. For some distance a projecting buttress with a moderate
slope enabled the engineers to accomplish the ascent by long winding
curves; but before long we reached the first zigzags, which are
frequently repeated during the remainder of the ascent. The tunnels
are frequent, but fortunately for the most part short, as the rate
of travelling is necessarily slow, and the artificial fuel used
gives out black fumes of a stifling character. A further change of
climate, welcome to the botanist, was now very obvious. Although the
soil appears to be parched, it is clear that some slight rain must
recur at moderate intervals. Vegetation, if not luxuriant, finds the
needful conditions, and in the gardens of Surco tropical fruits, such
as bananas, cherimolias, oranges, and granadillas, are cultivated
with tolerable success. Of the indigenous plants in flower at this
season the large majority were _Compositæ_, chiefly belonging to the
sun-flower tribe (_Helianthoïdeæ_), a group characteristic of the New
World.[7] It was tantalizing to see so many new forms of vegetation
pass before one’s eyes untouched. Most of them were indeed finally
captured, but several yet remain as fleeting images in my memory, never
fixed by closer observation.

About one p.m. we reached the chief village of the valley, San Juan
de Matucana, fifty-five miles from Lima, and about 7800 feet above
the sea. The train halted here for twenty minutes, and we discovered
that very tolerable food is to be had at a little inn kept by an
Italian. Hunger having been already stilled, the time was available
for botanizing in the neighbourhood of the station, and, along with
several cosmopolite weeds which we are used to call European, I found
a good many types not before seen. Owing to the accident of having
left my gloves in the carriage, I unwisely postponed to collect one
plant not seen by me again during my stay in Peru. This was a small
species of _Tupa_, a genus now united to _Lobelia_, with flowers of
a lurid purple colour, which is said to have the singular effect of
producing temporary blindness in those who handle the foliage, and I
had been assured by Mr. Nation that he had verified the statement by
experiment.[8] We were here in the intermediate zone, wherein many
species of the subtropical region are mingled with those characteristic
of the Andean flora. Hitherto the most prevalent families, after the
_Compositæ_, had been the _Solanaceæ_ and _Malvaceæ_. These have many
representatives in the Andean flora, but henceforward were associated
with an increasing proportion of types of many different orders.


As we continued the ascent in the afternoon our locomotive began to
show itself unequal to the heavy work of the long-continued ascent,
whether owing to defects in construction or, as seemed more probable,
to the bad quality of the fuel supplied. Two stoppages occurred,
required, as we learned, to clear out tubes. A considerable ascent
was then achieved by a detour into a lateral valley above Matucana,
returning to the Rimac at a much higher level, as is done on the
Brenner line between Gossensass and Schelleberg.

Up to this time the scenery had fallen much below my anticipations.
Owing to the nature of the rocks, there was an utter deficiency in that
variety of colour and form that are essential elements in the beauty
of mountain scenery. A still greater defect is the entire absence of
forest. Along the course of the Rimac bushes or small trees, such as
_Schinus molle_, two _Acacias_, _Salix Humboldtiana_, and others,
are tolerably frequent; but on the rugged surface of the mountain
slopes nothing met the eye more conspicuous than the columnar stem of
a cactus, or dense rigid tufts of what I took to be a Bromeliaceous
plant, most probably a species of _Puya_. The sun had set, and darkness
was fast closing round us when the train came suddenly to a standstill,
and the intelligent American guard informed us that a delay of at least
twenty minutes was required to set the locomotive in working order.

The accident was in every way fortunate. We had just reached the Puente
Infernillo, by far the most striking scene on the whole route, rendered
doubly impressive when seen by the rapidly fading light. The railway
had here returned to the Rimac, and is carried for a short distance
along the right bank. In front the river rushes out of a narrow cleft,
while on either hand the mountains rise to a prodigious height, with
a steeper declivity than we had as yet anywhere seen. With a lively
recollection of the Via Mala, the gorge of Pfeffers, and other scenes
of a similar character, I could bring to mind none to rival this for
stern sublimity. The impassable chasm that seemed to defy further
advance, the roar of the river in the deeply cut channel below, the
impending masses that towered up above us, leaving but a strip of sky
in view, combined to form such a representation of the jaws of hell as
would have satisfied the imagination of the Tuscan poet. To a botanist
the scene awoke very different associations. Before it became quite
dark I had captured several outposts of the Andean flora, not hitherto
seen. The beautiful _Tropæolum tuberosum_, with masses of flowers
smaller, but even more brilliant, than those of the common garden
species, climbed over the bushes. A fleshy-leaved _Oxalis_, the first
seen of a numerous group, came out of the crevices of the adjoining
rocks, and _Alonsoa acutifolia_, which I had never seen but in an
English greenhouse, was an additional prize.


Night had completely fallen as we resumed our journey, and although
my curiosity was much excited in the attempt to follow the course of
the line, I utterly failed to do so. Watching the stars as guides to
our direction, where these were not cut off by the frequent tunnels, I
could only infer that we were constantly winding round sharp curves,
at times near the bottom of a deep ravine, with the roar of a torrent
close at hand, and soon after working at a dizzy height along the verge
of a precipice, with the muffled bass of a waterfall heard from out
of the depths. Even after I had travelled the reverse way in broad
daylight, I remained in some doubt as to the real structure of this
part of the line. So far as I know, the first application of a spiral
tunnel in railway construction was on the line across the Apennine
between Bologna and Florence, but the spiral is there but a semicircle;
you enter it facing north, and emerge in the opposite direction at a
higher level. A similar device has been more freely resorted to in the
construction of the St. Gothard line; but on this part of the Oroya
line, completed before that of the St. Gothard was commenced, the
spiral, if I mistake not, includes two complete circles, at the end of
which the train stands nearly vertically above the point from which it
started. It is by no means altogether a tunnel, as the form of a great
projecting buttress has allowed the line to be carried in great part
along a spiral line traced upon its flanks.

Nearly two hours after sunset we at length reached the terminus at
Chicla, very uncertain as to the resources of that place in point of
shelter and food. We had had the pleasure of meeting in the train Mr.
H----, a distinguished German statesman, who had travelled with us
in the _Islay_ on his way from California to make the tour of South
America. He was accompanied by Baron von Zoden, the German minister at
Lima. As their object was merely to see the railway line, they intended
to return on the following morning; but meanwhile we resolved to
confront together any difficulties that might arise.

The architecture of Chicla is remarkably uniform, the only differences
being in the size of the edifices. Stone, brick, tiles, slate,
and mortar are alike unknown. Planks are nailed together around a
framework, the requisite number of pieces of corrugated iron are nailed
to some rafters on the top, and the house is complete. After stepping
from the railway car and scrambling up a steep bank, we found ourselves
before the chief building of the place, a so-called hotel, kept by
a worthy German whose ill fortune had placed him on the borderland,
where for some time the place was alternately occupied by small parties
of Chilian or Peruvian troops. Besides some rooms on an upper floor
occupied by the people of the house, the hotel consisted of two large
rooms on the ground floor, where food and drink were supplied to all
comers, with an adjoining kitchen. For such fastidious travellers as
might require further sleeping accommodation than a cloak in which
to roll themselves, and a floor on which to stretch their limbs, a
long adjoining shed was provided. This was divided by thin partitions
into four or five small chambers, each capable of holding two beds.
Supper was before long provided; and when we afterwards learned the
difficulties of our host’s position, our surprise was excited more by
the merits than by the defects of the entertainment.


We had been assured at Lima that, on going up to Chicla, we should be
sure to suffer from the _soroche_, by which name the people of South
America denote mountain-sickness, familiar to those who ascend from the
coast to the plateau of the Andes. Knowing the height of Chicla to be
no more than 12,220 feet above the sea, and never having experienced
any of the usual symptoms at greater heights in Europe, I had treated
the warning with derision so far as I was personally concerned,
though not sure what effect the diminished pressure might have on my
companion. I have described elsewhere[9] my experience at Chicla,
which undoubtedly resulted from a mitigated form of mountain-sickness,
the symptoms being felt only at night, and passing away by day and
in exercise. They were confined to the first two nights, and after
the third day, during which we ascended to a height of more than two
thousand feet above Chicla, they completely disappeared.

With regard to mountain-sickness, the only matter for surprise, as
it seems to me, is that it is not more frequently felt at lower
elevations, and that the human economy is able so readily to adapt
itself to the altered conditions when transferred to an atmosphere of
say two-thirds of the ordinary density, where the diminished supply to
the lungs is aggravated by the increased mechanical effort requisite
to move the limbs, and raise the weight of the body in an attenuated
medium. Observation shows that the effects actually produced at great
heights vary much with different individuals, and that in healthy
subjects the functions after a short time adapt themselves to the new
conditions. It is obvious that this process must have a limit, which
has probably been very nearly attained in some cases.

In spite of some statements lately published, I am inclined to believe
that the utmost limit of height compatible with active exertion will
be found to lie, according to individual constitution, between twenty
and twenty-five thousand feet. As regards our experiences at Chicla,
the difficulty is to account for the fact that the effects produced
while the body is at rest should disappear during active exercise; and
whatever the nature of the disturbance of the functions, this was not
accompanied by any discernible derangement of the respiration or the
circulation. It appeared to me that the seat of disturbance, such as it
was, was limited to the nervous system.

On the evening of our arrival we met at the hotel the commandant
of the Chilian detachment, and on presenting my letter from the
commander-in-chief, he was profuse in offers of assistance. It was
speedily arranged that we should start on the following morning, to
ride as far as the tunnel at the summit of the pass to Oroya, where
I promised myself an ample harvest among the plants of the higher
region of the Andes. When morning broke, after a sleepless night with
a splitting headache, I found or fancied myself unfit for a hard
day’s work; and, my companion being in much the same plight, we sent
at an early hour to request that the excursion should be postponed
till the following day. By the time, however, that we had dressed
and breakfasted, the troubles of the night were all forgotten. A new
vegetable world was outside awaiting us, and we were soon on the
slopes above the station, where, in the person of my friend W----,
I had the advantage of a kind and zealous assistant in the work of


Deferring to a later page some remarks on the vegetation of the
Cordillera, I need merely say that of this first delightful day the
morning hours were devoted to the steep declivity of the mountain
overhanging the left bank of the stream, while the afternoon was given
to the less precipitous but more broken and irregular slopes on the
opposite, or right, bank.

Having soon made the discovery that the supplies at Chicla were very
limited, we had taken measures to procure a few creature comforts
through the obliging conductor of the train, which left Chicla, in
the morning, and was to return from Lima on the following evening.
A far more serious deficiency was at the same time apparent. I had
quite underrated the quantity of paper required to dry the harvest of
specimens that I was sure to collect here, and no one but a botanist
can measure the intensity of distress with which I viewed the prospect
of losing precious specimens, and seeing shapes of beauty converted
into repulsive masses of corruption, for want of the material necessary
for their preservation. I addressed an urgent note to Mr. Nation, on
whose sympathy as a brother naturalist I could safely count, telling
him that unless I could find two reams of suitable drying-paper on my
return, I should infallibly require accommodation in a lunatic asylum
at Lima.

The scenery at Chicla is wild, but neither very beautiful nor very
imposing. As in the lower valley of the Rimac, the slopes of the
mountains are steep, but the summits are deficient in boldness and
variety of form. Those lying on the watershed of the Cordillera, at a
distance of fifteen or twenty miles, apparently range from seventeen
to eighteen thousand feet in height, and on the first day of our
visit showed but occasional streaks and patches of snow, while the
sombre tints of the rocks exhibited little variety of hue even in the
brightest sunshine.

Although the stream at Chicla is the main branch of the Rimac, its
volume is here much reduced, not having yet received the numerous
tributaries that fall into it between this place and Matucana. It is
here no more than a brawling torrent, swelling rapidly after even a
very moderate fall of rain, but prevented from ever dwindling very low
by the snows, of which some patches at least remain at all seasons on
the upper summits of the Cordillera. In a country without wood, and
where the art of building in stone had made little progress, one of the
most serious obstacles to any advance in civilization must have arisen
from the difficulty of crossing the streams by which the upper ranges
of the Andes are everywhere intersected.


The art of constructing suspension bridges must have originated in
the subtropical zone of Eastern Peru, where the abundance of climbing
plants with long, flexible, tough stems supplied the requisite
materials. These, being light and easily transported, were everywhere
used in the valleys of the Andes to sustain hanging bridges, of
which the roadway was formed of rough basket-work. The only change
that has resulted from the introduction of European arts is that of
late years iron wire is used instead of flexible _lianes_ to sustain
the bridges; but the roadway is still made of basket-work, which is
rapidly worn by the feet of passing men and animals, and the natives
have a disagreeable habit of stopping up the holes, not by mending the
basket-work where this has begun to give way, but by laying a flat
stone over the weak place. Being very slight and not nicely adjusted,
these bridges swing to and fro under the feet of a passenger to an
extent that is at first rather startling, but, as in everything else,
habit soon makes one indifferent. Our first experience this afternoon
was very easy, as the bridge connecting the station with the _pueblo_,
or village of Chicla, was new and more solid than usual.

The little village, altogether composed of frail sheds, was occupied
by the Chilian detachment of about two hundred men, posted here to
guard the railway line. Four houses, larger than the rest, wherein the
officers had established themselves, were adorned with conspicuous
painted inscriptions worthy of the hotels of a great city. The _Fonda
del Universo_ informed the public that it contained “apartamentos para
familias,” and the rival establishments were no way inferior in the
stateliness of their titles and the inducements offered. It must be
recollected that Chicla is the first halting-place on the main, almost
the only, line of communication between the coast and a magnificent
region, as large as England, and teeming with natural resources--the
_montaña_ of Central Peru. Before the war the hostelries of Chicla were
often crowded, and the accommodation doubtless appeared sumptuous to
the wearied travellers who had been contending with the hardships of
the journey from the interior, and the passage of the double range of
the Andes.

I have already said that the supplies at our hotel were somewhat
scanty. Inquiries for eggs were met by the reply that the Chilian
soldiers had killed all the poultry, and milk was not to be thought
of, because the cows had all been driven to a distance to save them
from the Chilians. But these were only trifling inconveniences.
The experience of our German landlord was full of graver matter. A
foreigner in the interior of Peru during this abominable war is placed
between the devil and the deep sea. Having no one to protect him,
his property is at the mercy of lawless soldiery; he is an object of
suspicion to both parties, and his life is in constant peril. Our host
owed to a fortunate accident that he had not been shot by a Peruvian
party under the suspicion of having given information to the enemy.
He was certainly no lover of the invader; but, like every foreigner
in Peru, he looked forward with undisguised dread to the day when the
Chilians should depart.


If one had not recollected how very slowly and imperfectly the
elementary rules of health have made way in Europe, it would have
been hard to understand how men of education and intelligence, such
as the great majority of the Chilian officers, should neglect the
simplest precautions for preserving the health of themselves and
their men. We had heard that the troops at Chicla had lost many men
owing to a severe outbreak of typhoid fever, though the disease had
recently almost disappeared. The cause was not far to seek. The
ground all around the village was thickly strewn with the remains of
the numerous baggage animals that had fallen from overwork, and the
beasts that had been slaughtered by the soldiers. In South America
the only sanitary officials are the carrion-eating birds. Near the
coast the removal of offal is chiefly accomplished by the _gallinazo_,
a large black vulture; in the Andes the condor takes charge of all
carrion, and travels far in quest of it. It is likely that in the
noisy neighbourhood of a detachment of soldiers the birds were shy of
approach. If the remains had been dragged a short distance away from
the village, they would have been quickly disposed of. As it was, the
carcases were allowed to accumulate close to the sheds in which the
men were lodged until they bred a pestilence. Things were mended, they
said, at the time of our visit, yet, warned by vile emanations, I found
the carcase of a horse lying close beside the _baraque_ in which we
slept; and it was only after energetic remonstrances that I succeeded
in having it removed to some distance, where, doubtless, the condors
made a savoury meal.

We were not curious to inquire too particularly what animal had
supplied the material for our evening repast. It was enough that the
skill of the Chinese boy who acted as cook had converted it into a very
eatable dish. The work of the establishment seemed to be conducted
altogether by two boys--the Chinese cook and a young German who acted
as waiter. It was curious to notice that the intercourse between the
two was carried on in English, or what passed as such. On many another
occasion during my journey I observed the same thing. Throughout
America, and I believe that the same is true in most countries out of
Europe, English has become the _lingua franca_, the general medium of
communication between people of different nationalities.

Having felt perfectly well all day, and inclined to believe that the
discomforts of the previous night had arisen from some accidental
cause, we had no hesitation in renewing the arrangement for an
excursion to the _Tunnel en la cima_, and the Chilian commandant
readily promised to send two horses, with a soldier who was to act as
guide and escort, at seven o’clock on the following morning. Rather
late, after some hours’ work in laying out the plants collected during
the day, I lay down to sleep, but in a short time awoke with a severe
headache, accompanied by ineffectual nausea, the light supper being
already digested. It was an undoubted case of mountain-sickness,
which had to be borne through the sleepless dark hours until daylight
summoned us to rise. As on the previous day, the operations of washing
and dressing chased away the symptoms, and before seven o’clock we
were ready to start. At half-past seven we began to lose patience,
and despatched a messenger to ascertain the cause of delay. No answer
coming, we resolved to go in quest of the promised steeds, and,
shouldering the _impedimenta_, proceeded across the stream to the
_pueblo_. We soon discovered that no order had been given the night
before, and that the commandant had not yet made his appearance. The
messenger had not ventured to awake him, and thought it safest to
await events. Having discovered the high-sounding name of the “hotel”
where he lodged, I lost no time in proceeding to the double-bedded
room shared by our commander with a brother officer, and rousing them
both from sleep. Profuse excuses in excellent Spanish, with a promise
that not a moment should be lost, were but a poor salve for my growing
impatience, though policy required some faint effort at politeness,
which had to be maintained through what seemed intolerable and
interminable delays, until we at last got under way at ten o’clock.


It was indeed aggravating to find an excursion, to accomplish which
any naturalist would gladly traverse an ocean, maimed and curtailed
by the indolence which is the curse of the American Spaniard.
One circumstance, indeed, helped to moderate the keenness of my
disappointment. Rather heavy rain had fallen throughout the night, and
the mountains about the head of the valley, previously almost clear of
snow, were now covered pretty deep down to the level of about fifteen
thousand feet. I already judged that it would be difficult, starting
so late, to reach the summit tunnel, if sufficient time were to be
reserved for botanizing. With snow on the ground the vegetation would
be concealed, and the chief interest of the expedition lost, so that I
readily made up my mind that we should not attempt to reach the summit
of the pass.

We had not gone far on the track when we came to a suspension bridge,
over which our soldier-guide rode as a matter of course. Seeing the
frail structure swing to and fro under the horse’s feet, I confess that
I felt much inclined to dismount and cross on foot; but in such cases
one remembers that whatever men or animals are accustomed to do they
are sure to do safely, and I rode on, admiring the judgment with which
my horse avoided the weak places in the basket-work under his feet.

The track is well beaten, and in easy places broad and even; but here
and there, where it climbs over some projecting buttress of rock, is
rather rougher and steeper than I have ever seen elsewhere in mountain
countries on a path intended for horsemen, excepting, perhaps, some
choice spots in the Great Atlas. It was impossible to push on rapidly,
for we overtook a succession of long trains of baggage-animals--mules,
donkeys, and llamas--moving towards the interior at a rate of little
over two miles an hour. As it was only in favourable places that it was
possible to pass, our patience went through many severe trials.

At about thirteen thousand feet above the sea we passed two farmhouses,
evidently constructed by European settlers, plain but neat in
appearance, and the fields better kept than one could have expected in
a spot so remote, each with a clump of well-grown trees of the Peruvian
elder. Higher up the scenery was constantly wilder, desolate rather
than grand, and with no trace of the presence of man until we reached
Casapalta, a small group of poor sheds now occupied by an outpost of
Chilian soldiers, nearly fourteen thousand feet above the sea.


We had now evidently reached the true Alpine region. At the head of the
valley in front fresh snow lay on the flanks of the mountains where the
dark rugged masses of volcanic rock were not too steep to allow it to
rest, and the higher summits in the background were completely covered.
The slopes near at hand were carpeted with dwarf plants thickly set,
rising only a few inches from the surface. The only exception was an
erect spiny bush, growing about eighteen inches high, with dark orange
flowers, one of the characteristic Andean forms--_Chuquiraga spinosa_.

The guide seemed disposed to halt here, but we had not yet reached our
goal, and we pushed on for about three miles, to a point about 14,400
feet in height, where it seemed judicious to call a halt. For some time
the horses had begun to show symptoms of distress. The spirited animal
which I rode panted heavily in ascending the gentle slope, and at last
was forced to stop and gasp for breath every thirty or forty yards.
Near at hand a slender stream had cut a channel through some rough
rocks, and promised a harvest of moisture-loving Alpine plants; and
opposite to us, on the northern side of the valley, a wild glen opened
up a vista of snow-covered summits, of which the more distant appeared
to reach a height of about eighteen thousand feet.

It was now about one o’clock, and, our light early breakfast being
long since forgotten, we hastily swallowed our provision of sandwiches
formed of the contents of a sardine-box, which, flavoured with the pure
cold water of the stream, seemed delicious. Although the sun which
had shone upon us during the morning was now covered with clouds,
and we were very lightly dressed, no sensation of cold was felt at
this height, and I do not believe that the thermometer at any time
during the day fell below 50°. Doubtless the feverish excitement of
those unique two hours of botanizing in a new world left no space
for sensitiveness to other influences. The mountain-sickness of the
previous night was utterly forgotten, and no sensation of inconvenience
was felt during the day.

Reserving some remarks on the botany of this excursion, there is yet
to be mentioned here one plant of the upper region so singular that
it must attract the notice of every traveller. As we ascended from
Casapalta we noticed patches of white which from a distance looked like
snow. Seen nearer at hand, they had the appearance of large, rounded,
flattened cushions, some five or six feet in diameter, and a foot high,
covered with dense masses of floss silk that glistened with a silvery
lustre. The unwary stranger who should be tempted to use one of these
for a seat would suffer from the experiment. The plant is of the cactus
family, and the silky covering conceals a host of long, slender,
needle-like spines, that penetrate the flesh, easily break, and are
most difficult to extract. Unfortunately, the living specimen which I
sent to Kew did not survive the journey.


At about three o’clock it was necessary to think of returning.
Several precious plants had been passed on the way and remained to be
collected, and it was only prudent to return to our quarters before
night, which here falls so abruptly. Soon after we started along the
descending track, a whirring sound overhead caused us to look up. Two
magnificent condors swooped down from the upper region, and, wheeling
round about forty feet above our heads, described a half circle, and,
having satisfied their curiosity, soared again to a vast height, till
they seemed mere black specks in the sky. Meanwhile my horse, fresh
after the long halt, and apparently delighted at the prospect of
returning to pleasanter quarters, broke into a gallop, and throughout
the way it cost me some trouble to restrain his impatience.

As we drew near Chicla, there being yet half an hour of daylight, we
dismounted and dismissed our guide with the horses, thus being able to
secure several plants not seen elsewhere. One of these was a solitary
plant of the common potato, growing in a wild place among dwarf bushes
near the stream. I do not, however, attach any importance to the fact
as evidence on the disputed question of the true home of a plant which
in South America has been cultivated from remote antiquity. The valley
of the Rimac has doubtless been a frequented highway since long before
the Spanish conquest, and, as we know, the plant spreads easily in
favourable conditions. As far as I know, all the evidence as to the
plant being indigenous in Peru and Bolivia is open to suspicion, and
the only part of the continent where it can be said to be certainly a
native is Southern Chili and the sub-Alpine region of the Chilian Andes.

The excursion to the upper region apparently completed the work of
acclimatization. We slept soundly, and no symptoms of _soroche_ was
afterwards experienced. When I sallied forth on the morning of the 23rd
in quest of breakfast, which was made luxurious by a tin of Swiss milk
received by the train from Lima, I found my friend W---- conversing in
English with a Chilian officer. This gentleman, introduced as Captain
B----, the son of English parents, was about proceeding in command of
a small detachment to occupy some place beyond the Cordillera. The
number of Englishmen in the Chilian service is not small, and there is
no part of South America where the conditions of climate, the habits of
life, and the character of the people seem to be so well suited to our

One of the sights of Chicla was the daily despatch of trains of laden
animals towards the interior. In the opposite direction the traffic was
very limited, for since the war the working of the silver mines about
Cerro de Pasco has been suspended, and little of the produce of the
montaña now makes its way to the coast. But, war or no war, the wants
of the inland population, living in a region which produces nothing
but food and raw material, must in some measure be supplied. There
was nothing very new in seeing goods packed on the backs of mules
and donkeys, but the llamas and their ways were a continual source of
interest. If the body be somewhat ungainly, the head with its large
lustrous eyes may fairly be called beautiful. They vary extremely in
colour. The prevailing hues are between light brown and buff, but we
saw many quite white, and a few nearly black, with a good many mottled
in large patches of white, and dark brown. The legs appear weak, and
the animal can bear but a light burthen. On the mountain tracks, the
load for a mule is three hundred pounds, that for a donkey two hundred
pounds, while a llama can carry no more than a hundred pounds; and
when any one attempts to increase the load, the animal lies down and
moans piteously. He seems, indeed, not yet thoroughly resigned to
domesticity, and there is a note of ineffectual complaint about his
bearing and about all the sounds which he emits. One morning I was so
much struck by what appeared to be the wailing of a child or a woman in
distress, that I followed the sound until, behind a rock, I discovered
a solitary llama that had somehow been separated from his companions.
The advantage of the llama in the highlands of Peru, where fodder is
scarce and must often be carried from a distance, is that he is able to
shift for himself. Where the herbage is so coarse and so scanty that a
donkey would starve, the llama picks up a living from the woody stems
of the dwarf bushes that creep along the surface.


Supposing that most of the plants growing on the slopes around Chicla
had been collected two days before, I expected to find it expedient to
go to some distance from the village on the 23rd. But I had formed
an inadequate idea of the richness of the Andean flora. Commencing
with a ridge of rocks on the opposite side of the valley, only a few
hundred yards from the ground before traversed, I found so many new and
interesting forms of vegetation that at the end of three or four hours
of steady work I had ascended only four or five hundred feet above the
village, and I believe that ample occupation for a week’s work to a
collector might be found within one mile of the Chicla station.

As already arranged, we decided to return to Lima on the morning of the
24th of April. If other engagements had not made this necessary, the
condition of my collections would have forced me to retreat. It was
certain that without a speedy supply of drying-paper a large portion
must be lost. As we were despatching an early breakfast, we were struck
by the appearance of a tall, vigorous, resolute-looking man, booted up
to the thighs, who had arrived during the previous night. He turned
out to be a fellow-countryman, one of that adventurous class that have
supplied the pioneers of civilization to so many regions of the earth.
This gentleman had settled in the montaña of Eastern Peru, at a height
of only about four thousand feet above the sea. His account of the
country was altogether attractive, and it was only after entering into
some details that one began to think that a man of a less cheerful and
enterprising disposition might have given a less favourable report. The
place which he has selected is only some twenty leagues distant from
the river Ucayali, one of the great tributaries of the Maranon, which
is destined hereafter to be the channel for direct water-communication
between Eastern Peru and the Atlantic coast. At present the only
obstacle to communication is the fact that the country near the river
is occupied by a tribe of fierce and hostile Indians, who allow no
passage through their country. The climate was described by our
informant as quite delightful and salubrious, the soil as most fertile,
suitable for almost all tropical produce, and many of the plants of
temperate regions, and the supposed inconveniences as unimportant.
Jaguars are, indeed, common, but the chief objection to them is that
they make it difficult to keep poultry. Poisonous snakes exist, but the
prejudice against them is unreasonably strong. No case of any one dying
from snake-bite had occurred at our informant’s location.


One drawback he did, indeed, freely admit. There was scarcely any
limit to be set to the productive capabilities of the country, but,
beyond what could serve for personal consumption, it was hard to say
what could be done with the crops. He was then engaged in trying the
possibility of transporting some of the more valuable produce of his
farming to Lima. The journey had been one of extreme difficulty. In
some of the valleys heavy rains had washed away tracks and carried
away bridges, and he had been driven back to seek a passage by some
other route. About one-half of his train of mules with their loads
had been carried away by torrents, or otherwise lost; but our buoyant
countryman, now virtually arrived at his journey’s end, seemed to think
the experiment a fairly successful one. He had received no news from
England since the beginning of the previous November, so that one or
two newspapers five weeks old were eagerly accepted.

The return journey from Chicla to Lima was easy and agreeable, but
offered little of special interest. I noticed a curious illustration
of the effects of the sea-breeze on vegetation even at a distance of
thirty or forty miles from the coast. As we descended, I observed that
the acacias which abound in the middle zone of the valley were densely
covered with masses of the white flowers of a climbing _Mikania_, quite
masking the natural aspect of the shrub. I thought it strange that
this appearance should not have struck me while on my way ascending
the valley. On closer attention, I saw that the _Mikania_ was entirely
confined to the eastern side of the acacia, so that the same shrub,
looked at from the western side, showed no trace either of the leaves
or flowers of the visitor. On reaching the Lima station, I was kindly
greeted by Mr. Nation, who at once relieved my most pressing anxiety by
telling me that I should find two reams of filtering paper awaiting me
at my hotel.


Having given in the twenty-second volume of the _Journal of the Linnæan
Society_ a list of the plants collected during my excursion in the
Cordillera, it is needless to overload these pages with technical
names, and I shall content myself with a few general remarks on the
vegetation of this region, amidst which I passed a brief period of
constantly renewed admiration and delight. In the first place, the
general character of the flora of Chicla differed altogether from my
anticipations, for the simple reason that the climate is completely
different from what might, under ordinary conditions, be expected. I
had seen reason to conjecture that, in ascending from the Pacific coast
to the Cordillera, the rate of diminution of mean temperature would be
less considerable than in most other parts of the world, but I was no
way prepared to find it so slight as it really is. During the time of
my visit, the mean temperature at Lima, 448 feet above the sea, was
very nearly 70°, while the annual mean appears to be 66·6° Fahr.[10]
The mean temperature at Chicla at the same season was estimated by me
at 54°, with a maximum of 65·7°, and a minimum of 42°, and the first
figure probably approximates to the annual mean. For a difference in
height of 11,774 feet this would give an average fall of 1° Fahr. for
935 feet of elevation, or 1° Cent. for 512 metres; whereas, as is well
known,[11] the ordinary estimate found in physical treatises, resulting
chiefly from the observations of Humboldt, would give for Equatorial
America a fall of 1° Fahr. for about 328 English feet of increased
altitude, or 1° Cent. for 180 metres. This rate of decrease would give
a fall of 36·6° Fahr. in ascending from Lima to Chicla, whereas, as
we have seen, the difference is probably little more than one-third,
certainly less than one-half, of that amount. It is, therefore, with
some astonishment that the stranger, arriving in this region of the
Cordillera, finds himself amidst a vegetation characteristic of the
Temperate zone,[12] and that many of the most conspicuous species are
such as in mid-Europe require the protection of a greenhouse. Amongst
the more attractive and characteristic of the Andean flora, I may
mention five species of _Calceolaria_, _Alonsoa_, two fine _Loasaceæ_
(one with large deep orange flowers and stiff hairs that penetrate
the gloves, the other a climber with yellow flowers), several bushy
_Solanaceæ_, and a beautiful clematis, which may hereafter adorn
European gardens.

Along with many types of vegetation peculiar to the Andes, or more or
less widely diffused throughout the Western continent, it was very
interesting to a botanist from Europe to find so large a proportion
of the indigenous plants belong to types which characterize the
mountain vegetation of our continent. Of the genera in which the
plants collected by me are to be classed, fully one-half belong to
this category, and these genera include more than an equal proportion
of species. I find, indeed, that fully sixty per cent. of the species
in my collection belong to European genera, but that, with trifling
exceptions, the species are distinct and confined to the Andean region.
The reasonable conclusion is that the types which are thus common to
distant regions must be of very great antiquity, and that the ancestors
of the existing species must have spread widely at a very remote period
of the world’s history. Most of the plants in question belong to genera
having very numerous species, of which it may be presumed that the
parent forms possessed a strong tendency to variation.


The only tree seen at Chicla is a species of elder--_Sambucus
Peruviana_ of botanists--not widely differing from the common black
elder of Europe.

Along with the numerous allies of the Old-World flora that characterize
the indigenous vegetation, it was somewhat remarkable to find, in the
upper valley of the Rimac, a number of cosmopolitan weeds, most of them
common in Europe, which appear to have become thoroughly naturalized.
Most of these, which are also found in the coast region of Peru, were
undoubtedly introduced by the Spaniards; but there are a few, such as
the common chickweed, whose wide diffusion throughout the world seems
to me to be more probably due to transport by birds.

To the botanist, the most interesting features in the Andean flora are
supplied by the great family of _Compositæ_. To this belong nearly
one-fourth of all the plants collected by me, and nearly one-third
of those found in the higher Alpine region; and, as far as available
materials allow me to judge, I believe these to be about the true
proportions for the higher parts of the Andean chain. It is further
remarkable that of the thirteen tribes into which the 780 genera and
10,000 species of this family have been divided, all but the two
smallest tribes--_Calendulaceæ_ and _Arctotideæ_--are represented in
the Andes. To the European botanist, the most interesting group is that
of the _Mutisiaceæ_, which is especially characteristic of the South
American flora. Of 420 known species belonging to this tribe, fully
350 are exclusively American, the remainder being distributed through
Australasia, and from South Africa to Southern Asia. They exhibit many
unfamiliar forms very unlike what we are used to find elsewhere in the
world. One of the first plants which I gathered was a tall, straggling
climber with pinnate leaves ending in a tendril. I naturally thought of
the vetch tribe, but I observed that the leaves were without stipules,
and that the leaflets were not articulated to the midrib. Great,
however, was my surprise when, on finding a flowering specimen, it
revealed itself as a composite belonging to the genus _Mutisia_.

Next to the _Compositæ_, the grasses are of all the natural orders the
most largely represented in the Andean flora, but with the difference
that nearly all belong to genera common to the mountain regions of
Europe. The species are indeed different, but the general aspect does
not strike the European botanist as presenting any marked features of


One further characteristic of the flora of Chicla is the great
variety of species to be found within a small area. In this respect
it seemed to me to rival the flora of Southern Spain and Asia Minor,
which are known to be exceptionally rich in endemic forms. I am, of
course, unable to judge whether in this part of the Andes the species
are localized to nearly the same degree as in those parts of the
Mediterranean region, and it is at least possible that the individual
species which I saw crowded together at Chicla may have a relatively
wide geographical range. The only social species, in some places
covering large patches on the steep slopes, is a lupen growing in dense
bushy masses.

Again guarding myself from the temptation to draw positive inferences
from very slight opportunities for observation, I may add a few
remarks on what I saw of the flora of the upper or Alpine zone of
the Cordillera. This appears to be far more sharply defined at its
lower limit than that which I shall designate as the temperate zone.
In the latter, although the nights are at all seasons cool, actual
frost is rarely experienced, and snow never lies on the ground. In
the upper or Alpine zone, on the contrary, night frosts recur not
unfrequently throughout the year, snow falls from time to time, more
frequent in winter--from May to August--but does not lie long enough
to provide a season of complete rest to the vegetative organs. To the
influence of these conditions we may probably attribute the chief
characteristics of the flora. With scarcely an exception, the species
of this zone are stunted in growth, rising but a few inches from the
surface, but have much developed prostrate or creeping woody stems, or
underground rhizomes. Compared with the middle, or temperate, zone,
the species generally belong to the same natural groups. Some of the
families, however, which are characteristic of the middle zone, such as
_Loasaceæ_, _Verbenaceæ_, and _Solanaceæ_, do not appear to reach the
higher region.

Of forms characteristic of the Alpine region of mountains in the Old
World I observed several; _e.g._ _Geranium_, _Astragalus_, _Valeriana_,
_Draba_, a saxifrage, and a very small gentian.

To sum up my impressions as to the flora of the western slopes of the
Cordillera, I should say that it appears to be naturally divided into
three well-marked zones. The lower, or subtropical, extending to about
eight thousand feet above the sea, characterized by deficient rainfall,
moderate heat continued throughout the year, and a complete absence of
cold, the thermometer rarely falling below 50°. The species here mainly
belong to genera characteristic of the flora of tropical America, but,
owing to the climatal conditions, are limited in number, and do not
include groups requiring much moisture.

The middle, or temperate, zone, extending from about eight thousand to
about thirteen thousand feet above the sea, possesses a very varied
flora which includes many groups characteristic of the Andes, and
entirely or mainly confined to that range, with representatives of
numerous genera that are widely diffused through the temperate regions
of the northern hemisphere, and a smaller number of representative
species of groups belonging to the tropical American flora. The climate
of this region is marked by the absence of all extremes of temperature.
Cool nights, in which frosts are infrequent and of short duration,
alternate with days wherein the shade temperature rarely surpasses 70°.
The division between the temperate and subtropical zones is marked
rather by the more frequent, though moderate, rainfall, which in the
former recurs at intervals throughout the year, than by any marked
change of temperature. Hence there may be distinguished a rather broad
intermediate zone in which many of the characteristic forms of each
meet and are intermingled; but this does not appear to be defined by
any genera, or even by more than a few species peculiar to it, and does
not deserve to be treated apart in a general survey of the flora.


The upper, or Alpine, zone of the Cordillera, extending from about
thirteen thousand feet to the utmost limit of vegetation, is well
defined by the circumstance that night frosts here recur throughout
the year, and snow lies at least occasionally on the surface, while a
somewhat greater amount of aqueous precipitation, in the form of rain
or snow, combined with diminished evaporation, maintains a moderate
degree of moisture in the soil. The proportion borne by some groups of
the characteristic Andean flora as compared with the entire vegetable
population is here larger than in the temperate zone, but other types
better adapted to the climate of the latter zone are here nearly or
altogether wanting. The forms common to the north temperate zone are
present in about an equal proportion, while the representatives of the
tropical flora are but very few.

With reference to the opinion expressed by writers of authority, and
especially by Engler,[13] that the Andean flora is exceptionally rich
in endemic genera and species, and to the explanation which would
account for the facts, first, by the greater facility afforded for
the extension of new varieties in dry climates, where the soil is not
continuously covered by the existing vegetation; and, secondly, by the
isolation of the summits, favouring the development of special local
forms, I may venture on some sceptical remarks.

When we are struck by the large number of genera and species that are
exclusively confined to the Andean flora, we are apt to forget the vast
extent of the region which we are contemplating. Even if we exclude the
mountains of Central America, and also those of Southern Chili, from
Araucania to the Straits of Magellan, we have in the Andes a mountain
region considerably more than three thousand miles in length, and from
two hundred to over five hundred miles in breadth. This vast region is
as yet far from being sufficiently explored to enable us to fix the
geographical limits of its genera and species with any precision; but
it appears to me that, while a very large number of genera are limited
to the Andes as a whole region, the range of most of them within the
limits of that region is very wide. I am further disposed to form a
similar opinion as to the distribution of the species if compared to
what is found in some other mountain districts. If we were to find in
South America anything like the variety of species limited to very
small areas that is encountered in Southern Spain, Greece, Asia Minor,
and Southern Persia, where on each mountain that we ascend we find
several well-marked local species, differing from those in similar
stations a few miles distant, the catalogue of the Andean flora would
have to be extended to three or four times its actual length.


Fully agreeing, as I do, with Engler in his general conclusion that dry
climates are more favourable than moist ones to the development of new
varieties, which are the ancestors of future new species, I must remark
that in the Andes, so far as we know, the species with very restricted
area abound more in the upper zone, where the soil is relatively moist,
than in the drier middle or lower zones. Nor does it appear that
isolation of the summits can be with reason invoked as an explanation.
The most marked feature in the range, and one that geologists have
perhaps not taken enough to heart, is the extremely continuous
character of the crest of the range, especially on the western side, as
is evidenced by the fact that from Colombia to Southern Chili there are
so very few passes below the limit at which snow frequently lies on the
surface. For a rational explanation of the facts as to the distribution
of mountain floras, we are forced to assume that the various agencies
which are in daily operation--birds and land animals, winds, etc.--are
competent to effect the transference of the great majority of species
from one mountain to another not very far removed; and if that be
true in districts where peaks are separated by arms of the sea or by
intervals of low country having a very different climate, the process
must be still easier in a chain so continuous as that of the Andes.

On the evening of the 24th I had the advantage of meeting the
representatives of nearly all the European powers then present at Lima
at the table of Don R. C----, a native gentleman of large fortune and
influential position. The entertainment might properly be described as
sumptuous, and, excepting in some royal palaces, could not easily be
matched in Europe. One feature, indeed, was unique, and appealed to the
susceptibility of a botanist. The vases heaped with choice specimens
of tropical fruits could scarcely have been seen out of Peru. The
occasion was not one on which political questions could with propriety
be discussed, but I was struck by the complete agreement amongst men
of various nationalities, whose duty it was to know the real state of
things, as to the formidable prospect of anarchy and disorder that must
ensue whenever the Chilian forces should be withdrawn from Lima and the
adjoining provinces--a prospect, I need scarcely add, that has been
since fully realized.

Soon after sunrise on the 25th Mr. Nation was good enough to call for
me. We had agreed to make a short excursion along the bed of the Rimac,
the best, if not the only, ground near the city where one can form
some idea of the indigenous vegetation of the low country. As happens
elsewhere, the river has carried down seeds or roots of many plants of
the valley, which find a home on its broad gravelly bed, while the
continual moisture has enabled many species of the plain, elsewhere
dried up at this season, to maintain a vigorous growth. The little
expedition was full of interest, and, with the aid of Mr. Nation’s
extensive local knowledge, I was able to make acquaintance with many
forms of vegetation not hitherto seen. It was necessary to return early
to the town, as my Chicla collections required many hours of diligent
work until nightfall, when I had the pleasure of joining an agreeable
party at the house of Mr. Graham, the British _chargé d’affaires_.


Among other scientific or social engagements, I called on the following
day upon M. Lombardi, the author of a voluminous work on Peru, of which
three large volumes have already appeared. M. Lombardi is a man of
varied and extensive acquirements, especially in natural history, and
in the course of frequent travels through the interior has accumulated
a large mass of new materials of no slight value. Unfortunately, his
work has been planned on a scale needlessly vast and costly; and now
that the funds, at one time freely supplied by the Government, are
no longer forthcoming, the prospect of its completion seems rather
uncertain. The drawings and dissections of many species of plants from
the higher regions of the Andes not hitherto figured, which M. Lombardi
was good enough to show me, appeared to be very carefully executed, and
their publication, in whatever form, would be welcomed by botanists.


I had accepted an invitation to visit on the 27th a _hacienda_
belonging to Don R. C---- and his brothers at a place called
Caudivilla, about twenty miles north of Lima. In company with an
agreeable party of the officers of two Italian frigates then stationed
at Callao, we started by the railway which runs parallel to the coast
from Lima to Ancon and Chancay. At a station about three miles from the
hacienda, we left the main line, and were conveyed to our destination
on a private line of railway belonging to the estate. This is a tract
of flat country about eight miles long by four in breadth, extending
to the base of the outermost spurs of the Cordillera, and watered
by a stream from the higher range in the background. It is almost
exclusively devoted to sugar-cultivation, and in the large buildings
which we inspected the whole process of extracting sugar and rum from
the cane was proceeding on a large scale, and with the aid of the most
complete machinery and apparatus. Although some fifteen hundred workmen
are employed upon the works, it appeared as if human labour played but
a small part in the processes wherein steam power was the chief agent.
Trains of small trucks, laden with sugar-cane cut to the right length,
were drawn up an incline, the contents of each tilted in turn into a
huge vat, wherein it was speedily crushed. We followed the torrent of
juice which constantly flowed from this reservoir through a succession
of large chambers until it reached the final stage, in which, purified
and condensed, it is at once converted into crystals of pure sugar when
thrown off by the centrifugal action of a rapidly revolving axis, while
the colourless pellucid product which is to furnish the rum of commerce
was conveyed into vessels whose dimensions would put to shame the great
tun of Heidelberg.

I confess to having felt less interest in the industrial results of
this admirably conducted estate, than in what I was able to learn of
the human beings employed and their relations to their employers; and
I found here matter for agreeable surprise. The workmen are partly
agricultural labourers engaged in the sugar-plantation and other
outdoor work, partly those employed in and about the factory. Among
them were representatives of various races, the Chinese being perhaps
in a majority, but with a considerable proportion of negroes and
half-caste natives of Peru. I was struck at first with a general air
of well-being among all the working people, and I found this easily
accounted for when I saw more of the arrangements made for their

Among other departments we were shown the hospital, small, but
perfectly clean and airy, in which there were only three or four
patients, and a school with a cheerful-looking young mistress
surrounded by jolly-looking little children, who came forward unasked
to display their acquirements in spelling. But what particularly
pleased me was the large eating-house, or restaurant, where we found
hundreds of workmen at their midday meal. They were not marshalled
at long tables, but sitting in small groups round separate tables,
every man choosing his own company, and calling for the dish which
he preferred. Seeing these men, each with his napkin, enjoying his
selected food, I could not help thinking that in the article of diet
they are better off than a traveller in many parts of Europe, to say
nothing of the population of the British Islands. I was assured that
no profit whatever was made on this branch of the establishment.
There was no pretence of philanthropy, but simply the intelligent view
that as a mere matter of business it answered best that the working
men should feel themselves to be well off. In point of fact, the mere
threat to discharge a man from his employment is usually found to be
sufficient to maintain order and industry.

There was little time available for botanizing here, and, the ground
being all under cultivation, little of any interest to be found. On
the way back I secured one of the beautiful reeds (_Gynerium_) which
abound in tropical America. Herbarium specimens give little idea of a
grass which, in moist situations, is from twenty to twenty-five feet in
height, and whose flowering panicle is from four to five feet long.

On the following day, April 28, Mr. Nation again acted as my guide in a
short walk about the outskirts of the city on the south and south-west
sides. Nothing could be more uninviting than the appearance of the
ground, which consists of volcanic sand, in most places completely bare
of vegetation, but strewn with the refuse of the city, skeletons of
cattle, and all sorts of _rejectamenta_, which make it the favourite
resort of the black gallinazo (_Cathartes atratas_), the universal
scavenger in this part of South America. The bird is deservedly
protected by the population, which probably owes to its activity
protection from pestilence. On the banks of some ditches and drains,
and on some patches of waste land moistened by infiltration, we found
several interesting plants. It was not evidence of the good character
of the lower class in Lima to observe that on these occasions Mr.
Nation carried a loaded revolver in his breast-pocket.


Amongst various items of information received from Mr. Nation, I
was especially interested in the facts which he had observed in the
neighbourhood of Lima regarding the disintegration of the exposed
volcanic rocks. As he was kind enough to give me a written memorandum
on the subject, along with specimens of the objects referred to, I
think it better to give the substance in his own words.

“In one of the earlier editions of his ‘Principles of Geology,’ Sir
Charles Lyell, on the authority of Mr. Cruikshank, speaks of the
evidence afforded of a considerable rise of land in the neighbourhood
of Lima by the appearance of the surface of hard green sandstone rocks
hollowed out into precisely the forms which they assume between high
and low water mark on the shores of the Pacific, while immediately
below these water-worn lines are ancient beaches strewn with rounded
blocks. One of these cliffs appears on the hill behind the Baños del
Pingro, about seven hundred feet above the contiguous valley; another
occurs at Amancaes, about two hundred feet above the sea;[14] and
others at intermediate elevations.” Mr. Nation remarks that, having
seen these appearances soon after his arrival at Lima, continued
observation during more than twenty-five years has satisfied him not
only that the hollows spoken of in the surface of the rocks are
larger than they were, but that many new ones have been formed during
the interval. He is satisfied that the appearances, which, he admits,
exactly resemble those caused by the sea on shore rocks, are due to
subaërial action. The chief agent, in his opinion, is a cryptogamic
plant growing on the surface of the rock. During a great part of the
year, when dense fogs prevail at this elevation, the plant is in active
vegetation. In the alternations of relative dryness and dampness of the
air the cells swell and mechanically remove scales from the surface,
which are seen to accumulate rapidly in the course of a single season.

Having submitted a specimen of the cryptogam in question to the eminent
lichenologist, Mr. Crombie, I am informed that the plant belongs to the
group of lowly organized lichens, now distinguished as the _Ephebacei_,
but formerly referred to the _Algæ_. In the absence of fructification,
Mr. Crombie is unable to decide whether the specimen should be
referred to _Sirosiphon_ or _Spilonema_; but he is sceptical as to the
possibility of any direct chemical action upon the rock arising from
the growth of the lichen. Some indirect action may, in his opinion,
be due to retention of moisture on surfaces covered by the lichen.
This opinion is strengthened when it is remembered that the rock is
not affected by carbonic acid, which might be derived from the air, or
by vegetable acids which might be formed by the decomposition of the
lichen. I am disposed to think that vicissitudes of temperature play a
great part in the disintegration of rock surfaces, and such action must
be increased by alternations of moisture and dryness which must occur
where, during a great part of the year, the hills are covered with fog
in the morning and exposed to the sun in the afternoon.


In connection with this subject I may remark that, in countries where
the rainfall is very slight or altogether deficient, we are apt to
be misled by the appearance of the surface, and to much overrate the
real amount of disintegration. In the drier parts of the Mediterranean
region, especially in Egypt, as well as in Peru and Chili, we
constantly see rocky slopes covered with fine _débris_ which represent
the accumulated work of many centuries, remaining _in situ_ because
there is no agency at work to remove it, while in countries where
the slopes are frequently exposed to the action of running water
fresh surfaces are subjected to the action of the atmosphere, and the
comminuted materials are carried to a distance to form alluvial flats,
to fill up lakes, or ultimately to reach the sea-coast. A somewhat
similar remark may be made with regard to rock surfaces habitually
covered with snow and very rarely exposed to heavy rain. I have often
observed in the Alps and Pyrenees that, when the snow disappears during
the short summer of the higher regions, we generally find the surface
covered with small fragments of the underlying rock, not removed by
the slow percolation of water during the melting of the snow. The same
phenomenon long ago attracted the attention of Darwin during his short
excursion across the passes of the Chilian Andes.

I regretted much that my very short stay at Lima left me no time to
visit the places where these curious appearances may be observed; but
I trust that they may engage the attention of some future traveller
more competent than myself to thoroughly investigate them.

The morning of the 29th of April, my last day in Peru, was fully
employed in needful preparations. As is usual in South America, I was
troubled by the dilatory habits of the natives. The passport, which was
promised in the morning, and without which, as I was told, I should not
be allowed to depart, was not forthcoming until late in the afternoon;
and at length I went, after bidding farewell to my travelling
companions and to some new friends, by the four-o’clock train to
Callao, too late to have any time for visiting the surroundings of that
curious place. The _Ayacucho_ steamer of the Pacific Steam Navigation
Company had already left her moorings, and lay in the outer harbour.
Having hurried on board rather after the hour named for departure, I
found that my haste was quite superfluous, as we were not under way
till long after dark, about nine p.m.

I quitted Lima full of the interest and enjoyment of my brief visit,
but full also of the sense of depression necessarily caused by the
condition of a country whose future prospects are so dark. The ruinous
war, and the occupation of the best part of Peru by a foreign army, are
far from being the heaviest of her misfortunes. It may even be that
they afford the best chance for her recovery. The immediate prospect
is that of a feeble military despotism, tempered by anarchy. It seems
possible that amongst the classes hitherto wealthy, and now reduced to
comparative want, men of a type superior to the ordinary political
adventurer may come forward; some strong man, with resolute will and
clear insight, may possibly arise, and re-establish order in the midst
of a moral chaos; but of such a deliverance there is as yet no promise.
Conversing with men of very different opinions, I was unable to hear of
any man whose name inspired confidence. Some such feeling had existed
with regard to the President Pardo, but when he was assassinated no
serious attempt was made to detect and punish his murderers. The only
opinion which appeared to obtain general assent was that the worst of
the adventurers who have been the curse of Peru was the late dictator


One thing, at least, appears certain: if Peru is to be rescued from
anarchy and corruption, it must be through the influence of a single
will--by a virtual, if not a formal, autocracy. To believe that in such
a condition of society as exists here progress can be accomplished by
representative institutions seems to me as gross a superstition as the
belief in the divine right of kings.


  Voyage from Callao to Valparaiso--Arica--Tocopilla--Scenery of
      the moon--Caldera--Aspect of North Chili--British Pacific
      squadron--Coquimbo--Arrival at Valparaiso--Climate and vegetation
      of Central Chili--Railway journey to Santiago--Aspect of the
      city--Grand position of Santiago--Dr. Philippi--Excursion
      to Cerro St. Cristobal--Don B. Vicuña Mackenna--Remarkable
      trees--Excursion to the baths of Cauquenes--The first
      rains--Captive condors--Return to Santiago--Glorious sunset.

The voyage from Callao to Valparaiso was accomplished under conditions
as favourable to the comfort and enjoyment of the passengers as that
from Panama to Callao. The _Ayacucho_ is a larger ship than the
_Islay_, but built on a nearly similar plan, and except towards the end
of the voyage, when we took on board a detachment of Chilian soldiers
returning to Valparaiso, we had no inconvenience from overcrowding.
I was very fully occupied in the endeavour to preserve and put away
in good condition the rather large collections made during my stay in
Peru. Notwithstanding the character of the climate, I found the usual
difficulty felt at sea in getting my paper thoroughly dry, and for
several days the work was unceasing. It had the effect of preventing my
going ashore at two or three places which at the time appeared to me
uninteresting, but which I afterwards regretted not to have visited.


By daylight on the morning of April 30 we were off Tambo de Mora, a
small place near the mouth of the river Canete, which, at some seasons,
is said to bring down a large volume of water from the Cordillera.
After a very short stay we went on to Pisco, a more considerable place,
but unattractive as seen from the sea, surrounded by sandy barren
flats. It is, however, of some commercial importance, being connected
by railway with Yca, the chief town of this part of Peru; and we
remained in the roads about three hours, pursuing our voyage in the

Our course on May 1 lay rather far from land, this being the only day
during the voyage on which we did not touch at one or more ports.
Under ordinary circumstances all the coast steamers call at Mollendo,
the terminus of the railway leading to Arequipa, and thence to the
highlands of southern Peru and the frontier of Bolivia. Arequipa being
at this time occupied by a Peruvian force, and communication with the
interior being therefore irregular and difficult, Mollendo was touched
only on alternate voyages of the Pacific steamers.

I was impressed by the case of a Bolivian family on board which seemed
to involve great hardship. An elderly father, with the manners and
bearing of an educated gentleman, had taken a numerous family, chiefly
young girls, with several servants, to Europe, to visit Spanish
relations, and was now on his way to return to La Paz. The choice lay
for him between the direct land journey from Arica, involving a ride
of some two hundred miles through a difficult country, partly almost a
desert, and partly through the defiles of the Cordillera, or returning
by another steamer to Mollendo, and thence making his way between the
hostile Chilian and Peruvian forces to the shores of his native lake of
Titicaca. There was, in the latter case, the additional difficulty that
Mollendo is about the worst port on the western coast of America. It
is, in fact, an open roadstead, and, although there is little wind, the
swell from the Pacific often breaks with a heavy surf upon the shore,
and serious accidents are not infrequent. As all seamen are agreed, the
terminus of the railway should have been fixed at Quilca, about the
same distance from Arequipa as Mollendo, and, as usual in Peru, the
selection of the latter is attributed to a corrupt bargain.

Early on May 2 we cast anchor opposite Arica. There is nothing
deserving to be called a harbour; but a projecting headland on the
south side of the little town protects the roadstead from the southerly
breeze and the swell, which was here scarcely perceptible. On landing,
I hastened along the shore on the north side, where a fringe of low
bushes and some patches of rusty green gave promise to the botanist,
and broke the monotony of the incessant grey which is the uniform tint
of the Pacific coast from Payta to Coquimbo. As at very many other
places on the coast, the maps indicate a stream from the Cordillera
falling into the sea at Arica, but the traveller searches in vain for
running water, or even for a dry channel to show where the stream
ought to run. Nevertheless, Arica, unlike the places farther south,
does actually possess fresh water in some abundance. The water from
the Cordillera filters through the sandy belt of low country near the
coast, and there are springs or wells sufficing not only for the local
demand, but also for the wants of Iquique, a much more considerable
place more than eighty miles distant. The little steamer whose office
it is to carry the weekly supply of water to the Iquique people was
taking her cargo on board at the moment, and one was at a loss to
imagine what would happen if any mischance should befall the steamer or
the engine. It is certain that under the intelligent rule of the Incas,
many places now parched were made habitable by aqueducts carrying
water from the mountains, and there are probably many other places
where water might be procured by boring; but the porous character of
the superficial soil makes this an uncertain resource, and the general
uniformity of all the deposits gives little prospect of Artesian wells.


Near to the town are a few meagre attempts at cultivation in the shape
of vegetable gardens, surrounded by ditches, into which it seems that a
little water comes by infiltration. A few grasses and other herbaceous
plants, mostly common tropical weeds, were to be found here. Elsewhere,
the ground was, as usual on the coast, merely sand, with here and
there clumps of bushes about six or seven feet in height, chiefly
_Compositæ_ of the characteristic South American genera, _Baccharis_
and _Tessaria_. A bush of _Cæsalpinia Gilliesii_, with only a few of
its beautiful flowers left, the ornament of hot-houses in Europe,
struck one as a strange apparition on this arid coast.

The position of Arica, connected as it is by railway with Tacna, the
centre of a rich mineral district, possessing the best anchorage on
this part of the Pacific coast, and a constant supply of good water,
must some day make it a place of importance. The headland which
commands it is crowned by a fort, on which the Peruvians had planted a
good many guns, and its seizure by the Chilians was one of the first
energetic blows struck during the war.

For some reason, not apparent, the great waves which flow inland after
each considerable earthquake shock have been more destructive at Arica
than at any other spot upon the coast. Three times the place has been
utterly swept away, and one memorial survives in the shape of the hull
of a large ship, lying fully a mile inland, seen by us a few miles
north of the town as we approached in the morning. On each occasion
the little town has been rebuilt close to the shore. Experience has
not taught the people to build on the rising land, only a few hundred
yards distant. Each man believes that the new house will last his
time--_Après moi le deluge_, with a vengeance!

At Arica the coast-line, which from the promontory of Ajulla, about
6° north latitude, has kept a direction between south-east and
south-south-east for a distance of about twelve hundred English miles,
bends nearly due south, and maintains the same direction for nearly
double that distance. It is in the tract lying between Arica and
Copiapò that the conditions which produce the so-called rainless zone
of the Pacific coast have had the maximum effect. In that space of
about six hundred miles (farther than from Liverpool to Oporto) there
is no inhabited place--with the possible exception of Pisagua--where
drinkable water is to be had. Nowhere in the world is there such an
extensive tract of coast so unfitted for the habitation of man. But
this same region is rich in products that minister to human wants, and
man has overcome the obstacles that seemed to render them inaccessible.
Besides mines of copper, silver, and lead, the deposits of alkaline
nitrates, whose extent has not yet been fathomed, richly reward the
expenditure of labour and capital. One after another industrial
establishments have arisen along the coast at places suitable for
the embarkation of produce, and some of these have already attained
the dimensions of small towns. The _Ayacucho_ called at no less than
nine of these places, and there are two or three others that are
occasionally visited. At a few of them, as at Iquique, the water-supply
is partially or altogether conveyed by sea, but most of them subsist by
distillation from sea-water.


As may well be supposed, there is little in these places to interest
a stranger, and a description of one may serve for all. Some more
or less extensive works, with one or several tall chimneys, are the
most prominent feature. Near to each establishment are three or four
clean-looking houses for managers and head agents, of whom the majority
appear to be English. Grouped in narrow sandy lanes near at hand are
the dwellings--mere sheds built of reeds--of the working people. In
some of the more considerable places an iron church, in debased
sham-Gothic style, has been procured from the United States, and has
been set up in a central position, with the outline of a _plaza_ in
front of it, and several drinking-shops clustered near.

The aspect of the coast is not less monotonous than that of the
inhabited places. The sea-board is nearly a straight line running from
north to south, and, except at Mejillones, I saw no projecting headland
to break its uniformity. Nearly everywhere what appears to be a range
of flat-topped hills from about eight to fifteen hundred feet in
height, of uniform dull grey hue unbroken by a single patch of verdure,
forms the background. In truth, these seeming hills are the western
margin of the great plateau of the desert of Atacama, which at its edge
slopes rather steeply towards the Pacific coast, sometimes leaving
a level margin of one or two miles in width, sometimes approaching
within a few hundred feet of the shore. I find it difficult to form a
conception of the causes which have led to this singular uniformity
in the western limit of the volcanic rocks of the plateau. Whether
we suppose the mass to have been originally thrown out from craters
or fissures in the range of the cordillera by subaërial or submarine
eruptions, we should think it inevitable that the western front should
show great irregularities corresponding to greater volume of the
streams of eruptive matter in some parts.

Admitting--what may be held for a certainty--that, whatever may
have been the original conditions, the whole region has since been
submerged, and that marine action would have levelled surface
inequalities, it is not easy to understand how the uniformity in
the western front could have been brought about during the period of
subsequent and comparatively recent elevation. If this had occurred
along an axis of elevation near to the present coast-line, the effect
must have been to produce a coast-range parallel to that of the Andes,
with a watershed having an eastern as well as a western slope, and
accompanying disturbance of the strata, such as we find on a great
scale in western North America. Some indications of such action may be
seen in Chili, south of Copiapò, and further to the south, but I am not
aware of any fact to justify a similar supposition respecting this part
of the coast of South America.


On the morning of May 3 we were anchored in front of Pisagua, which,
being the port of Tarapacà, the chief centre of the nitrate deposits,
is at present an active place. The houses are rather more scattered
than usual, some of them being built on rising ground, apparently above
the reach of earthquake waves. The range of apparent hills, fully
fifteen hundred feet in height, rises steeply behind the little town,
and the monotonous slope is broken by a long zigzag line marking the
railway to Tarapacà. Some steep rocks rising from the sea to the south
of the anchorage were in great part brilliantly white, recalling the
appearance of quartz veins, or beds of crystalline limestone, dipping
at a high angle. Thinking the existence of such rocks on this coast
very improbable, I was anxious to inspect them; but when I was told
that the time of our stay would merely allow of a short visit to the
town, I did not care to land. The same appearances are common along
the coast, and I soon afterwards ascertained that they are produced by
the droppings of sea-birds--the same which, when accumulated in large
masses, form the guano deposits of the detached rocks and islets of the

In the afternoon we reached Iquique, which is, I believe, the largest
of the unnatural homes of men on this coast. Some one who had gone
ashore here returned, bringing copies of two newspapers, by which the
public of Iquique are kept informed as to the affairs of the world. I
had already seen with surprise, and had many further opportunities for
observing, the extent to which the newspaper press in South America
has absorbed whatever literary capacity exists in the country. Of
information there is not indeed much to be gathered from these sheets;
but of grand sentiments and appeals to the noblest emotions the supply
seems inexhaustible. I regret to own that experience in other parts of
the world had already made me somewhat distrustful of such appeals; but
the result of my study of South American newspapers culminated in a
severe fit of moral indigestion, and I do not yet receive in a proper
spirit any appeal to the noblest sentiments of my nature.

I am far from supposing, however, that with those who read literature
of this kind the debilitating effect attributed to it by some critics
necessarily ensues. Some at least of the heroic virtues have survived.
For a man to die for his country may not be the highest form of
heroism, but in every age it has drawn forth the instinctive admiration
of his fellows; and it is not at Iquique that one should think of
making light of it. These waters, which, during the late war, witnessed
the fight between the _Esmeralda_ and the _Huascar_,[15] would, in
another age of the world, have become as famous as those of Salamis.


On the morning of May 4 we called at Huanillos, a small place of recent
growth, not marked on any map that I have seen. It lies within a few
miles of the mouth of the Loa, which, as laid down on maps, appears
to be a considerable stream, rising in the Cordillera and traversing
in a circuitous course the Bolivian part of the Atacama desert. I
naturally inquired why the mouth of such a river had not been selected
as the site of a port. I was informed that, in spite of the maps, no
water flows through the channel of the river, and that what can be
obtained by digging is brackish and unfit for drinking. Whether this
arises from the fact that the trials have been made too near the shore,
within reach of the infiltration of sea-water, or that all the water
traversing the region inland becomes impregnated with saltpetre, I am
unable to decide; but it seems probable that careful examination of
the water, some of which undoubtedly finds its way underground from
the Cordillera to the Pacific coast, might add considerably to the
resources of the country. The cost of conveying water direct from
the mountains to certain points in the interior, and thence to the
coast, would possibly be repaid by the saving in fuel now used for the
distillation of sea-water, to say nothing of the probability that some
portions of the surface would become available for cultivation. The
experience of the Isthmus of Suez, where a constantly increasing area
near the course of the freshwater canal has become productive, should,
I think, encourage the attempt.


About midday we reached Tocopilla, another place of recent creation,
consisting of a large establishment with several chimneys and the
usual group of sheds for the workmen. Steep rocky slopes rise close
behind, and it seemed possible to see something of the conditions of
life on this part of the coast without going beyond sight and hearing
of the steamer. Being told that our stay was to be short, but that
the steam-whistle would be sounded a first time exactly a quarter of
an hour before our departure, I shouldered my tin vasculum and went
ashore. Passing the houses, I at once steered for the rocky slopes
behind. Here at last I found what I had often heard of, but in whose
existence I had almost ceased to believe--a land absolutely without a
trace of vegetable life. Among the dolomite peaks of South Tyrol I had
often been told that such a peak was absolutely bare of vegetation,
but had always found a fair number of plants in clefts and crevices.
I had been told the same thing at Suez of the burnt-up eastward face
of Djebel Attakah, where even on the exposed rocks I had been able to
collect something; but here I searched utterly in vain. Not only was
there no green thing; not even a speck of lichen could I detect, though
I looked at the rocks through a lens. Even more than by the absence of
life, I was impressed by the appearance of the surface, which showed no
token that water had ever flowed over it. Every edge of rock was sharp,
as if freshly broken, and on the steep slope no trace of a channel
furrowed its face.[16] The aspect is absolutely that of the scenery of
the moon--of a world without water and without an atmosphere. I saw no
insect and no lizard, no living thing, with the strange exception that
on the rocks nearest the houses there were several small birds, which
appeared to be rather shy, and which I was not able to approach. I was
afterwards told that these birds live on the grain which they are able
to steal or to pick out from the manure in the stables, where a few
horses and mules are kept for the needs of the place. Assuming this to
be correct, the arrival of the birds at such a place remains a mystery.

A passenger who had spent some time at this singular place further
told me that the horses, constantly fed on dry grain, and receiving
but a scanty ration of distilled sea-water, usually become blind, but
do not otherwise suffer in health. He added a story to the effect that
some palings which had been painted green were found a few days after
covered with marks of teeth, and with the paint almost completely
removed. The mules, attracted by the colour, had sought the refreshment
of green food, and had vainly gnawed away the painted surface.

However singular the aspect of nature in this place might be, it could
not long detain a naturalist. A world without life is soon found to be
monotonous; and after clambering about for some time, and satisfying
myself that there was nothing to be found, I turned to the shore, where
broken shells and other remains of marine animals presented at least
some variety. Seaweeds appeared to be scarce, but some were to be seen
in the little pools left among the rocks by the retreating tide.

Just as I was about to collect some objects which might have been
of interest, the steam-whistle of the _Ayacucho_ summoned me to
return to the ship. As I was by this time at some distance from the
landing-place, I hurried back under a blazing sun, and reached the ship
within less than twenty minutes, only to find that haste was quite
superfluous, as we did not start until more than an hour later.


The sun had already set when we reached Cobija. This was, I believe,
the first place inhabited on this part of the coast. Before the late
war, Bolivia held the coast from the mouth of the Loa to the Tropic
of Capricorn, a tract of about one hundred and sixty miles, rich in
mineral wealth, the whole of which, along with the adjoining provinces
of Peru, is now annexed to Chili. Cobija, which was a place of some
importance, is now much reduced, and little business seems to be
carried on there.

Early on the 5th of May we were before Antofagasta, now the most
thriving place on this coast, if a place can be said to thrive which
exists under such unnatural conditions. It is, however, slightly better
off than its neighbours to the north. A gentleman who resided here for
some time assured me that at intervals of five or six years a heavy
fall of rain occurs here. At such times not only the coast region, but
the Atacama desert lying between the Cordillera and the sea is speedily
covered with fresh vegetation, which after a few months is dried up and
disappears. At such times the guanacos descend from the mountains, and
actually reach the coast.

We must, without my attention being called to the fact while in my
cabin, have turned back to the northward after leaving Antofagasta, as
in the dusk we were before Mejillones, which lies fully thirty miles
north of the former place. It stands on a little bay, well sheltered
from the south by a considerable rocky promontory, and, as I had been
led to expect, the ground is here broken and irregular, offering more
promise of safe retreat for the indigenous vegetation than anywhere
else on this coast. I had looked forward with interest to an hour or
two on this more promising ground, and it was a disappointment to be
unable to profit by a comparatively long stay, for we remained at
anchor after nightfall, embarking cargo and some passengers until
midnight. For the third time within twenty-four hours we crossed the
Tropic of Capricorn, and thenceforward remained in the south temperate
zone. But in this region the term is in no way specially appropriate
to the coast climate of Chili, for nothing can be more truly temperate
than that of the so-called tropical zone which we were now leaving.
During the voyage from Callao the thermometer properly shaded had but
once (while anchored at Arica) reached 70° Fahr. It usually stood by
night at 64° to 65°, and at about 68° by day, except occasionally
when exposed to the cool southern breeze, when it fell rapidly on two
occasions, marking only 62·2°.

My aneroid barometer by Casella, graduated only to 19 inches, and
therefore useless during my visit to the Cordillera, did not appear
to have suffered, as these instruments often do, by the reduced
pressure. It did not vary during seven days by so much as one-twentieth
of an inch from the constant pressure 29·9, and agreed closely with
the ship’s mercurial barometer. Perhaps, owing to the fact that
my observations were not sufficiently frequent and recorded with
sufficient accuracy, I failed to detect on this coast of America the
daily oscillations of pressure, which in this latitude probably amount
to about one-twentieth of an inch.


On the 6th of May we reached Taltal, a small place, the general aspect
of which reminded me of Tocopilla, and my first impression on landing
was that this was equally devoid of vegetable and animal life. But on
reaching the rocky slope, which rises very near the landing-place, I
at once perceived some indications of water having flowed over the
surface, and in the course of the short half-hour which was allowed
ashore I found three flowering plants, two of them in a condition
to be determined, the third dried up and undistinguishable. In the
evening we touched at Chañeral, a place rising into importance as being
the port of a rich mining district. The southerly breeze had been
rather stronger than usual during the afternoon, and some passengers
complained of the motion of the ship. An addition of seventy tons of
copper in the hold, which was shipped here by torchlight, appeared to
have a remarkable effect in steadying the vessel.

We reached Caldera early on the 7th, and remained for five or six
hours. This is the port of Copiapò, the chief town of Northern
Chili--the only one, indeed, which could have grown up under natural
conditions. A considerable stream, the Rio de Copiapò, which drains
the western slope of the Cordillera, passes by the town. Caldera, the
port, is not at the mouth of the river, but several miles further
north, and water is doubtless conveyed there in some abundance, as, for
the first time since leaving Arica, a few bushes in little enclosed
gardens could be descried from the harbour, and I was afterwards shown
two stately trees, the ornament of the place, which were nearly fifteen
feet in height. I went inland about a mile and a half, visiting a
slight eminence where the rock, evidently very recent, crops out at the
surface, and one or two other promising spots. Most of the country was
covered with sand, in places soft and deep, and anywhere else in the
world I should have thought it wretchedly barren, but after my recent
experience the meagre vegetation appeared almost luxuriant.

There is much interest attaching to the flora of this desert region of
South-western America. The species which grow here are the more or less
modified representatives of plants which at some former period existed
under very different conditions of life. In some of them the amount of
modification has been very slight, the species, it may be presumed,
possessing a considerable power of adaptation. Thus one composite of
the sun-flower family, which I found here, and also at Payta, is but
a slight variety of _Encelia canescens_,[17] which I had seen growing
luxuriantly in the gravelly bed of the Rimac near Lima, and along that
river to a height of six thousand feet above the sea. In this parched
region the plant is stunted, and the leaves are hoary with minute white
hairs, which may serve as a protection against evaporation. The same
species, with other slight modifications, extends to all the drier
portions of the western coast as far south as Central Chili. A dwarf
shrub with yellow flowers like those of a jessamine, but with very
different two-horned fruit, called _Skytanthus_, was an example of
a much greater amount of change. Its only allies are two species in
tropical Brazil, very different in appearance, though nearly similar
in essential structure. We may safely conclude that a long period has
elapsed since these forms diverged from a common stock, and that many
intermediate links have perished during the interval.


Several of the ships composing the British Pacific squadron were lying
at Caldera at this time, and after returning from my short excursion
ashore, I went on board the _Triumph_, Captain Albert Markham,
bearing the flag of Admiral Lyons, commander-in-chief. With regret I
declined the admiral’s hospitable invitation to accompany the squadron
to Valparaiso, but I was unable to refuse Captain Markham’s kind
suggestion that, as his ship was under orders to return to England on
the arrival of the _Swiftsure_, then expected, I should become his
guest on the passage from Valparaiso to Montevideo. The _Triumph_
having been detained in Chilian waters many weeks longer than was then
expected, I was afterwards forced to forego the agreeable prospect of
a voyage in company with an officer whose varied accomplishments and
extensive observation of nature under the most varied conditions make
his society equally agreeable and instructive.

Leaving Caldera soon after midday, the _Ayacucho_ reached Coquimbo
early on the following morning. With only the exception of Talcahuano,
this is the best port in Chili, being sheltered from all troublesome
winds, and affording good anchorage for large ships. The town of La
Serena, the chief place in this part of Chili, stands on moderately
high ground about two miles from the sea, and may be reached in about
twenty minutes from the port by frequent trains which travel to and
fro. We were warned that our stay was to be very short, and that those
who went to the city could not remain there for more than half an hour.
I had no difficulty in deciding to forego the attractions of the city,
whatever they might be, for a far more tempting alternative offered
itself. The range of low but rather steep slopes that rises immediately
behind the chief line of street was actually dotted over with bushes,
veritable bushes, and the unusual greenish-grey tint of the soil
announced that it was at least partially covered with vegetation. In
the spring, as I was assured, the hue is quite a bright green. To a man
who for the preceding week had seen nothing on land but naked rocks or
barren sand, the somewhat parched and meagre vegetation of Coquimbo
appeared irresistibly attractive. I could not expect to add anything
of value to what is already known, through the writings of Darwin and
other travellers, respecting the evidences of elevation of the coast
afforded by the raised terraces containing recent shells, whose seaward
face forms the seeming hills behind the town, and I felt free to give
every available moment to collecting the singular plants of this region.


One of the minor satisfactions of a naturalist in South America arises
from the fact that the inhabitants are so thoroughly used to seeing
strangers of every nationality, and in the most varied attire, that
his appearance excites no surprise and provokes no uncivil attentions.
Going about almost always alone, with a large tin box slung across my
back, I never found myself even stared at, which, in most parts of
Europe, is the least inconvenience that befalls a solitary botanist.
The amount of attention varies, indeed, in different countries. In
Sicily and in Syria one is an object of general curiosity, and one’s
every movement, as that of a strange animal, watched by a silent crowd;
but it is only in Spain that the inoffensive stranger is subject to
personal molestation, and the little boys pelt him with stones without
rebuke or interference from their seniors, who nevertheless boast of
their national courtesy.[18] Fortunately it nowhere occurs to the
most ill-disposed populations that a shabbily dressed man, engaged in
grubbing up plants by the roots, can be worth robbing. Usually regarded
as the assistant to some pharmacist, the botanist is, I think, less
subject to molestation than the follower of any other pursuit; his
only difficulty being that, if ignorant of the healing art, he cuts a
poor figure when applied to for medical advice.

Quite unnoticed, I made my way through the long street of Coquimbo,
and, at the first favourable opportunity, turned up a lane leading to
the slopes above the town. The first plant that I saw, close to the
houses, was a huge specimen of the common European _Marrubium vulgare_,
grown to the dimensions of a much-branched bush four or five feet
high. It is common in temperate South America, reaching a much greater
size than in Europe. The season was, of course, very unfavourable,
the condition of the vegetation being very much what may be seen at
the corresponding season--late autumn--in Southern Spain, before the
first winter rain has awakened the dormant vegetation of the smaller
bulbous-rooted plants. Nevertheless, I found several very curious
and rare plants still in flower, some of them known only from this
vicinity, and among them a dwarf cactus, only three or four inches in
height, with comparatively large crimson flowers just beginning to

At length, on the morning of May 9, the voyage came to an end as we
slowly steamed into the harbour of Valparaiso, which, with the large
amount of shipping and the conspicuous floating docks, gives an
impression of even greater importance than it actually possesses. The
modern town, built in European fashion, with houses of two and even
three floors above the ground, on the curved margin of the bay partly
reclaimed from the sea, and the older town, chiefly perched on the
edge of the plateau some two hundred feet above the main street, and
divided by the deep ravines (_quebradas_) that converge towards the
bay, have been described by many travellers; but I do not remember to
have seen any sufficient warning as to the frightful peril to which the
majority of the population is constantly exposed. Over and over again
earthquakes have destroyed towns in western South America. Houses built
of slight materials, with a ground floor only, or at most with a single
floor above it, may fall without entailing much loss of life; but it is
frightful to contemplate the amount of destruction of life and property
that must ensue if a violent shock should ever visit Valparaiso. And
the peril is twofold; the great wave which is the usual sequel of a
violent earthquake, would inevitably destroy whatever might survive the
first shock in the crowded streets of the lower town.


After overcoming the preliminary difficulties of landing and passing
my luggage through the custom-house, I proceeded to the Hotel Colon,
in the main street, kept by a French proprietor to whose lively
conversation I owed much information and amusement during my short
stay. Some three hours were occupied by a few visits, a stroll through
the chief streets, and the despatch of a telegram to Buenos Ayres. Not
choosing to incur the heavy expense of a telegram from Valparaiso to
England, I had availed myself of the courtesy of the officials of the
Royal Mail Steamboat Company to arrange that a telegram from Valparaiso
to Buenos Ayres should be forwarded by post from the latter place, thus
saving fully three weeks’ time. In the afternoon I climbed up one
of the steep tracks leading to the upper part of the town, where the
population mainly consists of the poorest class. The houses were small
and frail looking, but fairly clean, and I nowhere saw indications of
abject want, such as may too often be witnessed in the outskirts of a
large European city.

Valparaiso has all the air of a busy place, with some features to which
we are not used in Europe. Along the line of the narrow main street
tramcars are constantly passing to and fro. The names over the shops,
many of which are large and handsome, are mainly foreign, German being,
perhaps, in a majority; but the important mercantile houses are chiefly
English, and, except among the poorer class, the English language
appears to be predominant. All people engaged in business acquire it
when young, and very many of Spanish descent speak it with fluency and
correctness. The Hotel Colon stands between the main street and a broad
quay, part of the space reclaimed from the margin of the bay, and my
windows overlooked the busy scene, thronged from daylight till evening
with a crowd of men and vehicles. It was somewhat startling to see
frequent railway trains run through the crowd, with no other precaution
than the swinging of a large bell on the locomotive to warn people to
get out of the way.

I started soon after daylight on the 10th for a botanical excursion
over the hills behind the town, and, as I had rather exaggerated
expectations of the harvest to be collected, I had engaged a boy to
carry a portfolio wherein to stow away what I could not conveniently
carry for myself. Though I moved slowly, as naturalists generally do,
my companion soon grew tired, or pretended fatigue, and after an hour
or so I sent him back to the hotel with the portfolio well filled.


The flora of Central Chili is denominated by Grisebach that of the
transition zone of western South America; but, except in the sense that
it occupies a territory intermediate between the desert region to the
north and that of the antarctic forests to the south, the term is not
very appropriate. On the opposite side of the continent, the flora of
Uruguay, Entrerios, and the adjoining provinces, may be truly said to
offer a transition between that of South subtropical Brazil and that
of the pampas region, most of the genera belonging to one or other of
those regions, the one element gradually diminishing in importance as
the other assumes a predominance. In this respect the Chilian flora
presents a remarkable contrast, being distinguished by the large number
of vegetable types peculiar to it, and having but slight affinities
either with those of tropical or antarctic America.

Of 198 genera peculiar to temperate South America, the large majority
belong exclusively to Central Chili, and these include several tribes
whose affinity to the forms of other regions is only remote. Two of
these tribes--the _Vivianeæ_ and _Francoaceæ_--have even been regarded
by many botanists as distinct natural orders; and many of the most
common and conspicuous species will strike a botanist familiar with
the vegetation of other regions of the earth as very distinct from all
that he has known elsewhere. With only a few exceptions, these endemic
types appear to have originated in the Andean range, whence some
modified forms have descended to the lower country; several of these,
as was inevitable, have been found on the eastern flanks of the great
range, and it is probable that further exploration will add to the
number; but it is remarkable that as yet so large a proportion should
be confined to Chilian territory.

Grisebach has fixed the limits of that which he has called the
transition zone at the Tropic of Capricorn to the north, and the
thirty-fourth parallel of latitude to the south; but these in no way
correspond to the natural boundaries. As I have already pointed out,
the flora of the desert zone, extending from about the twentieth nearly
to the thirtieth parallel of south latitude, shows a general uniformity
in its meagre constituents. It is about the latitude of Coquimbo, or
only a little north of it, that the characteristic types of the Chilian
flora begin to present themselves, and these extend southward at least
as far as latitude 36° south, and even somewhat farther, if I may judge
from the imperfect indications of locality too often afforded with
herbarium specimens.[19]


In discussing the causes that have operated on the development of the
Chilian flora, the same eminent writer has been misled by incomplete
and erroneous information as to the climate of the region in question,
and more especially as to the distribution of rainfall, which is no
doubt the most important factor. It is true that the peculiar character
of the Chilian climate makes it very difficult to express by averages
the facts that mainly influence organic life. Between the northern
desert region, where rain in a measurable quantity is an exceptional
phenomenon, and the southern forest region, extending from the Straits
of Magellan to the province of Valdivia, Central Chili has in ordinary
years a long, dry, rainless summer, followed by rather scanty rainfall
at intervals from the late autumn to spring. About once in four or five
years an exceptional season recurs, when rain falls in summer as well
as winter, and in which the total fall may be double the usual amount,
and at longer intervals, usually after a severe earthquake, storms
causing formidable inundations occur, when in a few days the rainfall
may exceed the ordinary amount for an entire year. When several such
storms are repeated in the same year, we may have a total rainfall of
three or four times the ordinary average.[20] Such seasons appear
to recur six or seven times in each century, and it is clear that,
according as the meteorologist happens to include or exclude such a
season in his data, the figures expressing the average must vary very
largely. Inasmuch as plant life is regulated by the ordinary conditions
of temperature and moisture, we are less liable to error in taking the
results which exclude exceptional seasons.

In discussing, therefore, the conditions of vegetation in Central
Chili, it seems safe to conclude that the averages given in the
following table, extracted from the careful work of Julius Hann,
“Lehrbuch der Klimatologie,” are above rather than below the ordinary
limit. I find, indeed, that while the average rainfall at Santiago
during the twelve years from 1849 to 1860 was 419 millimetres, or
nearly 16½ English inches, the average for the six years from 1866 to
1871 was 299 millimetres, or less than 12 inches. It is evident that
the indigenous vegetation must be adapted to thrive upon the smaller
amount of moisture expressed by the latter figures.


The following table, compiled from Hann’s work, gives the most reliable
results now available, and shows the mean temperature of the year, of
the hottest and coldest months, the extremes of annual temperature,
and the rainfall for the chief places in Chili, with a few blanks
where information is not available. The maxima and minima do not
express the absolute extremes attained during the entire period for
which observations are available, but the means of the annual maxima
and minima. The temperatures are given in degrees of Fahrenheit’s

    A: Places.
    B: South latitude.
    C: Mean temperature of the year.
    D: Mean temperature of January.
    E: Mean temperature of July.
    F: Maximum temperature.
    G: Minimum temperature.
    H: Rainfall in inches.

            A        |    B   |   C  |   D  |   E  |   F  |   G  |   H
  La Serena          |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   (Coquimbo)        | 29° 56′| 59·2°| 65·1°| 53·1°|      |      |   1·6
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Valparaiso         | 33°  1′| 57·6°| 63·1°| 52·5°| 77·9°| 45·0°|  13·5
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Santiago (1740 feet|        |      |      |      |      |      |
   above sea-level)  | 33° 27′| 55·6°| 66·2°| 45·0°| 87·6°| 30·4°|  14·5
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Talca (334 feet    |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   above the sea)    | 35° 36′| 56·5°| 70·2°| 45·0°|      |      |  19·7
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Valdivia           | 39° 49′| 52·9°| 61·5°| 45·0°| 84·0°| 29·5°| 115·0
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Ancud, Island of   |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   Chiloe (164 feet  |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   above the sea)    | 41° 46′| 50·7°| 56·5°| 45·9°|      |      | 134·0
                     |        |      |      |      |      |      |
  Punta Arenas[21]   |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   (Straits of       |        |      |      |      |      |      |
   Magellan)         | 53° 10′| 43·2°| 51·3°| 34·9°| 76·3°| 28·4°|  22·5

This table brings out very clearly the influence of the cold southern
currents of the ocean and air in reducing the summer heat of the
western side of South America; for, while the winter temperatures are
not very different from those of places similarly situated on the west
side of Europe and North Africa, those of summer are lower by 8° or
10° Fahr., and the mean of the year is lower by 6° or 7° than that of
places in the same latitude on the east side of South America. It is
also apparent that much of what has been stated in works of authority
as to the climate of this region is altogether incorrect. In his
great work on the “Vegetation of the Earth,” Grisebach gives the mean
temperature of Santiago as 67·5°, or nearly 12° higher than the mean
result of ten years’ observation, and the rainfall as over 40 inches,
or nearly three times the average--more, indeed, than three times the
average--of ordinary seasons.

Arriving in Chili about the end of the long dry season, I had but
very moderate expectations as to the prospect of seeing much of its
peculiar vegetation, and I was agreeably surprised to find that
there yet remained a good deal to interest me, especially among the
characteristic evergreen shrubs, having much of the general aspect of
those of the Mediterranean region, though widely different in structure
from the Old-World forms. One or two slight showers had fallen shortly
before my arrival, and as a result the ground was in many places
studded with the golden flowers of the little _Oxalis lobata_. This
appears to have a true bulb, formed from the overlapping bases of the
outer leaves, in the centre of which the undeveloped stem produces one
or more flowers, which appear before the new leaves. The surface of the
dry baked soil was extremely hard, costing some labour to break it with
a pick in order to collect specimens, and it is not easy to understand
the process by which a young flower-bud is enabled to force its way
to the upper surface. The open country on the hills near Valparaiso
is bare, trees being very scarce, and for the most part reduced to
the stature of shrubs with strong trunks; but in the ravines, or
_quebradas_, that descend towards the coast some of these rise to a
height of twenty or twenty-five feet.

One of the objects of my walk over the hills was to obtain a good view
of the Andes, and especially of the peak of Aconcagua, the highest
summit of the New World. I had had a glimpse of the peak from the sea
on the previous morning, but light clouds hung about the entire range
during this day, and I was unable to identify with certainty any of
the summits. The distance in an air line is about one hundred English
miles, and I was struck by the clearness of the air in this region as
compared with what I had seen from the coast of Ecuador or Peru. Every
point that stood out from the clouds was seen sharply defined, as one
is accustomed to observe in favourable weather in the Mediterranean


Returning to the town, I took my way along one of numerous deep ravines
that have been cut into the seaward surface of the plateau. Though
they are witnesses to the energetic action of water, they are often
completely dry at this season; yet they exercise a marked influence on
the vegetation. The shrubs rise nearly to the dimensions of trees, and
several species find a home that do not thrive in the open country.
I was specially interested in, for the first time, finding in flower
the Winter’s bark (_Drimys Winteri_), a shrub which displays an
extraordinary capacity of adaptation to varying physical conditions,
as it extends along the west side of America from Mexico to the
Straits of Magellan, and also to the highlands of Guiana and Brazil,
accommodating itself as well to the perpetual spring of the equatorial
mountain zone as to the long winters and short, almost sunless, summers
of Fuegia. The only necessary condition seems to be a moderate amount
of moisture; but even as to this there is wonderful contrast between
the long rainless summer and slight winter rainfall of Valparaiso,
and the tropical rains of Brazil on the one hand, and the continual
moisture of Valdivia and Western Patagonia on the other. This is one
of the examples which goes to show how much caution should be used in
drawing inferences as to the climate of former epochs from deposits of
fossil vegetable remains. This instance is doubtless exceptional, but
there is some reason to think that what may be called physiological
varieties--races of plants which, with little or no morphological
change, have become adapted to conditions of life very different from
those under which the ancestral form was developed--are far less
uncommon than has been generally supposed.

It is to me rather surprising that a shrub so ornamental as the
Winter’s bark should not be more extensively introduced on our western
coasts. It appears not to resist severe frosts, but in the west of
Ireland and the south-west of England it should be a welcome addition
to the resources of the landscape gardener. Although voyagers have
spoken highly of its virtues as a stimulant and antiscorbutic, it does
not appear to have held its ground in European pharmacopeias, and I
believe that the active principle, chiefly residing in the bark, has
never been chemically determined.

On May 11 I proceeded to Santiago. Mr. Drummond Hay,[22] the popular
consul-general, who at this time was also acting as the British _chargé
d’affaires_ at the legation at Santiago, was so fully occupied at the
consular court that I was able to enjoy little of his society; but he
was kind enough to telegraph to the Hotel Oddo at Santiago to secure
for me accommodation. With the usual difficulty of effecting an early
start, which appears to prevail everywhere in South America, I reached
the railway station in time for the 7.45 a.m. train. For some distance
the railroad runs near the sea, passing the station of Viña del Mar,
where many of the Valparaiso merchants have pretty villas. I was more
attracted by the appearance of the country about the following station
of Salto, where rough, rocky ground, with clumps of small trees and the
channels of one or more streams, promised well for a spring visit. But
I was at every turn reminded that I had fallen on the most unfavourable
season. After the long six or seven months’ drought the face of the
country was everywhere parched, and the only matter for surprise was
that there should yet remain some vestiges of its summer garb of


The direct distance from Valparaiso to Santiago is only about
fifty-five miles, but the line chosen for the railway must be fully
double that length. The country lying directly between the sea-coast
and the capital is broken up by irregular masses, partly granitic and
partly formed of greenstone and other hard igneous rocks. These in
Europe would be regarded as considerable mountains, as the summits
range from six thousand to over seven thousand feet in height, but
they nowhere exhibit the bold and picturesque forms that characterize
the granite formation in Brazil. On either side of this highland tract
two considerable streams carry the drainage of the Cordillera to the
ocean. The northern stream, the Rio Aconcagua, bears the same name as
the famous mountain from whose snows it draws a constant supply even
in the dry season. Some sixty miles further south, the Maipo, draining
a larger portion of the Andean range, flows to the coast by the town
of Melipilla. The valley of the Maipo offers a much easier, though a
circuitous, railway route to Santiago than that chosen by the Chilian
engineers, which for a considerable distance keeps to the valley of the
Aconcagua. The stream is reached near to Quillota, a place which has
given its name to this part of the valley.

Travelling at this season, I was not much struck by the boasted
luxuriance of the vegetation of the vale of Quillota; but I could
easily understand that the eye of the stranger, accustomed to the
arid regions of Peru and Northern Chili, must welcome the comparative
freshness of the landscape, in which orchards of orange and peach
trees alternate with squares of arable land. Of the few plants that I
could make out from the railway car what most attracted my attention
was the frequent recurrence of oval masses of dark leaves, much in the
form of a giant hedgehog three or four feet in length and half that
height, remarkably uniform in size and appearance. The interest was not
diminished when I was able, at a wayside station, to ascertain that the
plant was a bramble, on which I failed to find flower or fruit, but
which from the leaves can be nothing else than a variety of the common
bramble, or blackberry, introduced from Europe.

       *       *       *       *       *

At the station of Llaillai (pronounced _Yaiyai_) we met the train from
Santiago, and were allowed a quarter of an hour for breakfast. The
arrangements were rather rough, but the food excellent--much superior,
indeed, to what one commonly finds at an English refreshment-room. This
is a junction station, and a train was in readiness to take passengers
from Santiago or Valparaiso by a branch line up the valley of the
Aconcagua to San Felipe and Santa Rosa de los Andes. The Santiago train
here leaves that valley, and, turning abruptly to the south, commences
a long and rather steep ascent of the ridge that divides the basin
of the Maipo from that of the Aconcagua. To our right rose the Cerro
del Roble, about 7250 feet in height, one of the highest of the coast


Here I first encountered the characteristic aspect of the hilly region
of Central Chili. A tall columnar cactus (_Cereus Quisco_) is the
most conspicuous plant. Sometimes with a solitary stem, but usually
having two or three together from the same root, they stand bolt
upright from fifteen to twenty-five feet in height. Next to this the
commonest conspicuous plant is a large species of _Puya_, belonging
to the pine-apple family, with long, stiff, spiky leaves, and these
two combined to give a strange and somewhat weird appearance to the
vegetation. Here and there were dense masses of evergreen bushes or
small shrubs, and more rarely small solitary trees. Among these was
probably the species of beech (_Fagus obliqua_ of botanists) which the
natives call _roble_ (or oak), there being, in fact, no native oaks in
America south of the equator; but in a passing railway train I could
not hope to identify unfamiliar species. Both here and elsewhere in
Chili, I noticed that the _quisco_ is almost confined to the northern
or sunny slopes; while, as Darwin observed, the tall bamboo grass (a
_Chusquea_) prevails on the shady sides of the hills.

The summit level, according to Petermann’s map, is 4311 feet (1314
metres) above the sea, and thenceforward there is a continuous gradual
slope of the ground towards Santiago. The country shows few signs of
population, and the larger part of the surface is left in a state of
nature, and used only for pasturage in winter. In this arid region
cultivation is nearly confined to the valleys of the streams that
descend from the Cordillera. The stony beds of the streams passed by
the railway were almost completely dried up, and I think that I saw
water in one spot only on the whole way between the Aconcagua and the

Any want of interest or variety in the nearer landscape was amply
made up by the increasing grandeur of the views of the Cordillera as
we approached the capital of Chili, rendered all the more imposing by
fresh snow, which extended down to the level of ten or eleven thousand
feet. Although it does not include several of the highest summits of
the Andes, the range which walls in the province of Santiago to the
east is probably the highest continuous portion of the great range;
for in a distance of seventy miles, from near the Uspallata Pass to
the Volcano of Maipe, I believe that there is but one narrow gap where
the crest of the chain falls below the level of nineteen thousand
feet.[24] To the eye, however, the outline seen from the plain is very
varied, and by no means gives the impression of a continuous wall.
Huge buttresses, with peaked summits, not much inferior in height to
the main range, project westward, and in the bays between them form
Alpine valleys, which send down streams to fertilize the country. By
these buttresses the peak of Tupungato, 20,278 feet in height, the
highest summit of this part of the chain, is concealed from Santiago,
and I doubt whether it is anywhere visible from the low country on the
Chilian side.


Soon after twelve o’clock the train reached the station at Santiago,
and I found Mr. Flint, the obliging German proprietor of the Hotel
Oddo, in readiness with a carriage to take me to his hotel. The first
impression of Santiago, irrespective of the grandeur of its position,
is that of a great city. The houses, consisting only of a ground floor,
or at most with a single floor overhead, built round an enclosed court,
or _patio_, cover a large space, and the town occupies three or four
times the area that an equal population would require in Europe. It is
laid out, even more regularly than Turin, in square blocks of nearly
the same dimensions, so that the ordinary way of reckoning distances is
by _quadras_. One enters the town by the Alameda, a straight street,
with fine houses on one side and a public garden on the other, nearly
two miles in length, along which, at intervals, are statues of the men
who have earned the gratitude of their country, the most conspicuous
being the equestrian statue of General O’Higgins, the foremost hero of
the war of independence.

Turning at right angles into one of the side streets, we soon reached
the Hotel Oddo, unpretending in appearance, which was recommended to me
as being quieter and more comfortable than the Grand Hotel. This, which
was close at hand, occupies the upper floor of a fine pile of building,
that fills one side of the Plaza Major, or great square of the city.
There seems to be an uneasy feeling that at the first severe shock of
earthquake this monument of misplaced architecture may be levelled to
the ground, to the destruction of all its inmates.

My first visit in Santiago was made to Don Carlos Swinburne, an English
merchant, long established in the city, who has acquired the universal
respect and regard of all classes, and whose well-earned personal
influence has been on several occasions effective for the mutual
benefit of his native land and his adopted country. To his kindness and
courtesy I am under many obligations. Later in the day I proceeded to
call upon Dr. Philippi, the veteran naturalist, to whom we owe so much
of our knowledge of the flora and fauna of Chili.

In Santiago, as in most other South American towns, the first thing
that a stranger should do is to learn the routes of the tramcars, which
constantly ply through the principal arteries. Hackney coaches are to
be found, and are sometimes indispensable, but they are heavy cumbrous
vehicles, ill hung on high wheels; one travels slowly and suffers a
severe jolting over ill-paved streets. To say nothing of economy, the
tramcar runs smoothly at a brisk pace, is usually clean and commodious,
and is generally used by all classes of the population. The main point
is to take care not to travel in the opposite direction from that
intended; but here, with the great landmarks of the Andes always in
view, it is not easy to go wrong as to the points of the compass.


To find Dr. Philippi I was directed to a house of modest appearance
within the precincts of the Quinta Normal. This establishment is
intended to combine the functions of a horticultural garden and a
model farm, but the greater part of the grounds appears to be laid out
as ornamental pleasure-ground. A large handsome building, originally
constructed for a great industrial exhibition, has been turned to good
account as a museum of natural history. I was received by Professor
Federigo Philippi, who now worthily fills the chair of Natural History
in the University of Santiago, from which, after a tenure of many
years, his father has retired. Between naturalists none of the ordinary
formalities of introduction are required, and cordial relations grow
up rapidly. Knowing that Dr. Philippi had already reached an advanced
age, I was apprehensive that some infirmity might have chilled the
ardour of his interest in science; but I was agreeably disabused when
from an adjoining room the professor called his father to join our
conversation. I found a man who, although in his seventy-sixth year,
was still full of vigour of mind, and I had full opportunity on the
following morning to assure myself that this is sustained by abundant
physical energy.

Time slips by rapidly in a conversation on subjects of mutual interest,
and when, after arranging for a short excursion with Dr. Philippi, I
returned homeward, the setting sun was lighting up the heavens with the
beautiful tints that are more common in the warm Temperate zone than
in other regions of the earth. Low as are the houses, they were just
high enough to shut out all but occasional glimpses of the Cordillera
from the street; but when I reached the great plaza I came to the
conclusion, which I still retain, that Santiago is by many degrees the
most beautifully situated town that I have anywhere seen. Rio Janeiro,
Constantinople, Palermo, Beyrout, Plymouth, all have the added beauty
that the sea confers on land scenery; but such a spectacle as is formed
by the majestic semicircle of great peaks that curve round Santiago,
lit by the varying tints of day and evening, is scarcely to be matched
elsewhere in the world. In position, as in plan of building, I was
reminded of Turin; but here the Alps are nearly twice as high, and at
half the distance. Further than that, the low country at Turin opens
to the east, and, although glorious sunrise effects are not seldom
visible, they never rival the splendours of the close of day.


On the following morning, May 12, I started with Dr. Philippi in a
hackney coach for an excursion to the Cerro San Cristobal, an isolated
hill rising about one thousand feet above the valley of the Mapocho.
We crossed that stream by a very massive bridge, constructed to resist
the formidable flood poured down the channel after heavy rains, and
for about three miles followed the right bank along a rough road
deep in the sand formed by the disintegration of the volcanic rocks.
We were glad to leave our vehicle at some mills at the foot of the
hill, and spent some three hours very agreeably in clambering up and
down the rough slopes. The shrubs were much the same as those which I
afterwards saw elsewhere in similar situations, but I was fortunate
in being introduced to them by one so familiar with the flora as my
excellent companion. Among these, as well as the herbaceous plants, the
_Compositæ_ prevail over every other natural order. Two common species
belong to the tribe of _Mutisiaceæ_, unknown in Europe, and almost
confined to South America. The bushy species of _Baccharis_, a genus
very widely spread in the New World, but not known elsewhere, were also
very common. An acacia (_A. Cavenia_) approached more nearly to the
dimensions of a tree. It has stiff, spreading, and very spiny branches,
and is widely spread throughout the drier parts of temperate South
America. Among the few herbaceous plants in flower I was fortunate in
seeing the pretty _Gynopleura linearifolia_. This belongs to a tribe of
the passionflower family, very distinct in habit and appearance, which
has been by some eminent botanists ranked as a distinct natural order
under the name _Malesherbiaceæ_. It includes only two genera with ten
or twelve species, all exclusively natives of Chili or Peru.

A veil of morning haze or mist, not uncommon at this season, hung over
the city and marred the completeness of the grand view from the summit
of the Cerro. Though easily explained, the seeming opacity of a thin
stratum of vapour seen from above, as I have often noticed in the Alps,
is remarkable. Before we started, and after our return, the haze over
the city was scarcely perceptible. Not only did the sun shine brightly
in the town, but the outlines of the neighbouring peaks were perfectly
distinct. Looking down from the upper station, the slight differences
in the intensity of the comparatively feeble light proceeding from
the various objects on the surface, by which alone they are made
visible, were concealed by the haze which reflected a portion of the
comparatively strong light received from the sky, just as when looking
from the outside at a window which reflects the light from the sky, we
cannot distinguish objects within.

In the afternoon Mr. Swinburne was good enough to accompany me in a
visit to Don Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, one of the most conspicuous and
remarkable of the contemporary public men of Chili. His career has been
in many ways singular. In early life he took part in two attempts of
a revolutionary nature. Fortunately for themselves, the Chilians have
gained from their own and their neighbours’ experience a fixed aversion
to revolution, and, while acknowledging the existence of abuses,
have felt that violent change is certain to entail worse evils. Both
attempts failed, and the leaders were condemned to death, the sentences
being judiciously commuted to temporary exile.

Since his return, Mr. Mackenna has done good service as head of
the municipality of Santiago, has been a prominent member of the
legislature, and was, in 1881, the unsuccessful candidate for the
presidency of the republic. But it is chiefly by his fertility as
a writer that Mr. Mackenna has secured for himself an enduring
reputation. Gifted with keen intelligence and a marvellously retentive
memory, his readiness to discuss in turn the most varied topics,
whether by speech or pen, is quite phenomenal. Besides being a constant
contributor to newspapers and periodicals, he has published over a
hundred volumes, most of them devoted either to illustrate the history
or to promote the progress of his native country. I was most kindly
received, and my only regret, on this and subsequent occasions, was
that the shortness of my stay prevented me from enjoying more fully
the society of this interesting man. From the room--in itself a
library--reserved for the spare copies of his own works, I selected
four volumes out of the many which he was kind enough to place at my


On the following day Mr. Vicuña Mackenna was kind enough to devote
several hours to taking me to various objects of interest in the city,
beginning with the natural history museum at the Quinta Normal. Rightly
supposing that they would be of interest, my guide afterwards took me
to see the most remarkable trees of the city, each of which possesses
some historic interest. In an old and rather neglected garden attached
to the palace of the archbishop is the finest known specimen of the
peumo, the most important indigenous tree of Central Chili. Popular
tradition affirms that under this tree, in 1640, Pedro de Valdivia,
the founder of Santiago, held a conference with the native Indian
chiefs, in which they agreed to allow the strangers a certain territory
for settlement. It is undoubtedly very ancient, and is divided nearly
from the ground into a number of massive branches spreading in all
directions, so as to form a hemisphere of dark green foliage rather
more than sixty feet in diameter. The tree belongs to the laurel family
(_Cryptocarya Peumus_ of botanists), and is densely covered with thick
evergreen leaves impenetrable to the sun. The red oval fruits are much
appreciated by the country people, but they have a resinous taste
unpalatable to strangers.

In the garden of the Franciscan convent we saw a very fine old Lombardy
poplar, from which it is said that all those cultivated in Chili are
descended. The story runs that a prior of the convent, who visited his
brethren at Mendoza, some time in the seventeenth century, found there
poplar trees introduced from Europe, and which in that denuded region
were the sole representatives of arboreal vegetation. The sapling which
he carried back on his return across the Andes grew to be the tree
which still flourishes in the convent at Santiago. To judge from its
appearance, the story is no way improbable.

In the _patio_ of a fine house in the city are two remarkably fine
specimens of the _Eucalyptus globulus_, a tree now familiar to visitors
at Nice and many other places in the Mediterranean region. It has been
of late extensively planted throughout the drier parts of temperate
South America, and promises to be of much economic value. The pair
which I saw here had been planted seventeen years before, and, like
twins, had kept pace in their growth. The height was about sixty feet,
and the girth at five feet from the ground about seven feet.


As a specimen of one of the better houses in Santiago, Mr. V. Mackenna
took me to that of one of his cousins, who with his family was at the
time absent in the country. The building included three small courts,
or patios, each laid out with ornamental plants well watered. The
reception-rooms, very richly furnished in satin and velvet, as well as
the apartments of the family, were all on the ground floor, most of
them opening into a patio. Over a part of the building were small rooms
constructed of slight materials for the use of servants, so that the
risk of fatal injuries even in a severe earthquake seemed to be but

I was told the history of the owner of this fine house, which, from
what I afterwards heard, was no more than a fair sample of the economic
condition of Chilian society. Many of the older Spanish families
are large landowners, and, in spite of vicissitudes due to droughts
and occasional inundations, derive settled incomes from property of
this kind. But the prodigious wealth that has flowed from the rich
mining districts has proved a temptation too strong to be resisted,
and there are comparatively few of the wealthier class who have not
engaged in mining speculations. It is needless to say that along with
some great prizes there have been many blanks in the lottery, and the
result has been that the fortunes of families have undergone the most
extraordinary vicissitudes. People get used to a condition of society
where the same man may be rich to-day, reduced nearly to pauperism
a year later, and then again, after another short interval, rolling
in wealth. It is to be feared that the effect, if continued for a
generation or two, will not be favourable to progress in the higher

The existence of a class not forced to expend its energies on acquiring
wealth, and having some adequate objects of ambition, is still the
most important condition for the advancement of the human race. We may
look forward to other conditions of society when, having found out
the extremely small value of most of the luxuries that now stimulate
exertion, men will be able peacefully to develop a healthier and
happier social state, in which labour and leisure will be more equally
distributed; but this is yet in the distant future, and perhaps the
greatest difficulty in its attainment will arise from premature
attempts to impose new conditions which, if they are to live, must be
of spontaneous growth.

One of the marked features of Santiago is the steep rock of Santa
Lucia rising abruptly near the eastern end of the Alameda. It has been
well laid out with winding footpaths, and has a frequented restaurant.
The view of the snowy range on one side and the city on the other can
scarcely be matched elsewhere in the world.

On reaching Santiago, I was mainly preoccupied with the question of
how to use my short stay with the best advantage so as to see as
much as possible of the scenery and vegetation of the great range,
consistently with the promise I had given before leaving home to avoid
all risks to health. From the abundance of fresh snow along the range,
it was obvious that the precipitation on the higher flanks of the
Cordillera must be considerably greater than it is in the low country,
where only one or two slight showers had fallen; and we were in the
season when rain is annually expected, which, of course, would take
the form of snow in the higher region. I had already obtained a letter
to the manager of the mines at Las Condes, a place about fifteen miles
from Santiago, and some eight thousand feet above the sea. But, after
taking counsel with those best informed, I decided on giving a few days
to a visit to the Baths of Cauquenes, in the valley of the Cachapoal, a
little above the point where that stream issues from the mountains into
the plain of Central Chili. There remained a possibility of making an
excursion from Cauquenes into one of the interior valleys, especially
that of Cypres, famed for the variety of high mountain plants that
find a home near the glacier which descends into it, and there was the
advantage that even in case of bad weather no serious inconvenience
would arise.


I started next morning, May 14, by the railway, which is carried nearly
due south from the capital to Talca, and thence to Concepcion. I found
myself in the same carriage with Mr. Hess, the lessee and manager of
the Baths, an energetic, practical man, fully impressed with a sense of
his own importance as head of an establishment which annually attracts
the best society of Chili. The railway journey, which carries one for
about fifty miles parallel to the great range of the Cordillera, is
very interesting, even at this season, when much of the country shows
a parched surface. The finest views are those gained where the line
passes opposite the opening through which the Maipo issues from the
mountains into the plain. This river, which even in the dry season
shows a respectable volume of water, is formed by the union of the
torrents from four valleys that penetrate nearly to the axis of the
Cordillera. Of Tupungato, the highest summit hereabouts, 20,270 feet
above sea-level, I saw nothing, as it is masked by a very lofty range
that divides two of the tributary valleys. A slender wreath of vapour
marked the volcano of San José, just twenty thousand feet in height, at
the head of the southern branch of the river. It is only at one point
visible from the railway.

On the way from Valparaiso to Santiago I had already been much struck
by the prevalence over wide areas of plants not indigenous to the
country, most of them introduced from Southern Europe. The most
conspicuous are plants of the thistle tribe, all strangers to South
America, and especially the cardoon, or wild state of the common
artichoke. This is now far more common in temperate South America than
it anywhere is in its native home in the Mediterranean region. In Chili
it is regarded with some favour, as mules, and even horses, eat the
large spiny leaves freely at a season when other forage is scarce.
The same cannot be said of our common coarse spear-thistle (_Cnicus
lanceolatus_), which, though of much more recent introduction, has now
invaded large tracts of country, especially in the rather moister
southern provinces. I was informed that, with the strange expectation
that it would be useful as fodder, an Englishman had imported a sack of
the seed, which he had spread broadcast somewhere in the neighbourhood
of Concepcion. Many other European plants have been introduced, either
intentionally or by accident, and have in some districts to a great
extent supplanted the indigenous vegetation. As to many of these, it
appears to me probable that their diffusion is due more to the aid of
animals than the direct intervention of man. This is especially true of
the little immigrant which has gone farthest in colonizing this part of
the earth--the common stork’s-bill (_Erodium cicutarium_), which has
made itself equally at home in the upper zone of the Peruvian Andes,
in the low country of Central Chili, and in the plains of Northern
Patagonia. Its extension seems to keep pace with the spread of domestic
animals, and, as far as I have been able to ascertain, it is nowhere
common except in districts now or formerly pastured by horned cattle.
It is singular that the same plant should have failed to extend itself
in North America, being apparently confined to a few localities. It is
now common in the northern island of New Zealand, but has not extended
to South Africa, where two other European species of the same genus are


In considering the facts relating to the rapid extension of certain
plants when introduced into new regions, and the extent to which they
have supplanted the indigenous species, I confess that I have always
been a little sceptical as to the primary importance attributed by
Darwin[25] to the fact that most of these invaders are northern
continental species. In the course of a long existence extending over
wide areas, he maintains that these have acquired an organization
fitting them better to maintain the struggle for existence than the
indigenous species of the regions over which they have spread. Of
course, it is true in the case of territories very recently raised from
the sea, and not in direct connection with a continental area inhabited
by species well adapted to the conditions of soil and climate, that
immigrant species well adapted to the conditions of their new home
will spread very rapidly, and may easily supplant the less vigorous,
because less well adapted, native species. The most remarkable case
of this kind is perhaps presented by Northern Patagonia and a portion
of the Argentine region, raised from the sea during the most recent
geological period. The only quarters from which the flora could be
recruited were the range of the Andes to the west, and the subtropical
zone of South America to the north. Everything goes to prove that the
forms of plants are far more slowly modified than those of animals--or,
at least, of the higher vertebrate orders. The new settlers are unable
quickly to adapt themselves to the new conditions of life, and as a
result we find that the indigenous flora of the region in question is
both numerically poor in species, and that these have been unable fully
to occupy the ground. Among the species intentionally or accidentally
introduced by the European conquerors, those well adapted to the new
country have established a predominance over the native species; but
I question whether, if the course of history had been different, and
the conquerors of South America had come from South Africa or South
Australia, bringing with them seeds of those regions, we should not
have seen in Patagonia African or Australian plants in the place of the
European thistles and other weeds now so widely spread.


If I am not much mistaken as to the history of the introduction of
foreign plants into new regions, it very commonly happens that a
species which spreads very widely at first becomes gradually restricted
in its area, and finally loses the predominance which it seemed to have
established. Attention has not, I think, been sufficiently directed to
the fact that the chief limit to the spread of each species is fixed by
the prevalence of the enemies to which it is exposed, and that plants
carried to a distant region will, as a general rule, enjoy advantages
which in the course of time they are likely to lose. Whether it be
large animals that eat down the stem--as goats prevent the extension
of pines--or birds that devour the fruit, or insects that attack some
vital organ, or vegetable parasites that disorganize the tissues, the
chances are great that in a new region the species will not find the
enemies that have been adapted to check its extension in its native
home. Of the marvellous complexity of the agencies that interact in
the life-history of each species we first formed some estimate through
the teachings of Darwin; but to follow out the details in each case
will be the work of successive generations of naturalists. We cannot
doubt that in a new region new enemies will arise for each species
that has become common, or, in other words, that other organisms,
whether animals or plants, will acquire the means of maintaining their
own existence at the expense of the new-comer. The wild artichoke is
doubtless perfectly adapted to the climate of the warmer and drier
parts of the Mediterranean region, and is there rather widely spread;
but it is nowhere very common, even in places where the ground is not
much occupied by other species. We do not know all the agencies that
prevent it from spreading farther, but we do not doubt that it is held
in check by its appropriate enemies. In South America it would appear
that these, or some of them, are absent, and the plant has spread far
and wide. If some common bird should take to devouring the seeds, or
some other effectual check should arise, the area would very speedily
be reduced.

The train stopped for breakfast at the Rancagua station, a few
miles from the town of that name. Along with very fair food at the
restaurant, cheaper delicacies were offered by itinerant hawkers,
including various sweet cakes of suspicious appearance and baskets of
red berries of the _peumo_ tree. At the next station, called Gualtro,
about fifty miles from Santiago, we left the train, and, after the
usual long delay, continued our journey in a lumbering coach set upon
very high wheels. This seems to be the general fashion for carriages in
South America, arising from the fact that the smaller streams, which
swell fast after rain, are usually unprovided with bridges.

Incautious travellers in South America may easily be misled by the
frequent use of the same name for quite different places. One bound
for the Baths of Cauquenes must be careful not to confound these with
the town of Cauquenes, the chief place of a department of the same
name, more than a hundred miles farther to the south.


Before reaching Gualtro we had crossed the Cachapoal, a torrential
stream which drains several valleys of the high Cordillera. Our course
now lay eastward, towards the point where the river issues from the
mountains into the plain, and where, as everywhere in Central Chili,
its waters are largely used for irrigation. The road along the left
bank lies on a slope at some height above the stream, and gives a wide
view over the plain, backed by the great range of the Cordillera.
Irrespective of the picturesque interest of the grand view, I added
somewhat to the impressions respecting the physical geography of
Central Chili which I had recently received from an examination of
Petermann’s reduction from the large government map, and from the
information given me at Santiago.

I had reached Chili with no other ideas respecting the configuration
of the country than those derived from the twelfth chapter of Darwin’s
“Journal of Researches,” which with little modification have been
repeated by subsequent writers, even so lately as in the excellent
article on “Chile,” in the American Cyclopædia.

Struck by the conformation of the range between Quillota and Santiago,
and the somewhat similar range south of the Maipo, and writing at a
time when there were no maps deserving of the name, and when the
channels of Patagonia had been most imperfectly explored, Darwin
was led to infer a much closer resemblance between the orographic
features of the two regions than it is now possible to admit. He
supposed the greater part, if not the whole of the Chilian coast, to
be bordered by mountain ranges running parallel to the main chain of
the Cordillera, thus forming a succession of nearly level basins lying
between these outer mountains and the main range, each being drained
through a transverse valley which cuts through the outer range. Such a
conformation of the surface would undoubtedly resemble what we find on
the western coast of South America, between the Gulf of Ancud and the
Straits of Magellan. But the facts correspond with this view only to a
limited extent.

The tints laid down on Petermann’s map to indicate successive zones
of height above the sea are far from being completely accurate, but
slight errors of detail do not affect the general conclusions to which
we must arrive. If we carry the eye along from north to south, we
find a succession of great buttresses or promontories of high land
projecting westward from the main range, between which relatively deep
valleys carry the drainage towards the Pacific coast. The effect of a
continuous sinking of the land would be to produce a series of deep
bays running far inland to the base of the Cordillera, and further
depression might show here and there some scattered islets, but nothing
to resemble the almost continuous range of mountainous islands that
separate the channels of Patagonia from the ocean. As far as it is
possible to judge of a region yet imperfectly surveyed, the case is
quite different in Southern Chili, below the parallel of 40°. From
near Valdivia a lofty coast range, cut through by only one deep and
narrow valley, extends southward to the strait, only a few miles wide,
that divides the island of Chiloe from the mainland, and is evidently
prolonged to the southward in the high land that fringes the western
flank of that large island. A moderate rise of the sea-level would
submerge the country between Puerto Montt and the Rio de San Pedro, and
produce another island very similar in form and dimensions to that of


Our lumbering carriage came to a halt at the place where the road
crosses a stream--the Rio Claro--which drains some part of the outer
range and soon falls into the Cachapoal. Close at hand was a plain
building with numerous dependencies, which turned out to be the
residence of Don Olegario Soto, the chief proprietor of this part of
the country. I proceeded at once to deliver a letter to this gentleman,
whose property extends along the valley for a distance of thirty
or forty miles into the heart of the Cordillera. My object was to
ascertain the possibility of making an excursion into the interior of
the great range, and to obtain such assistance as the proprietor might
afford. The house, so far as I saw, was rustic in character, and my
first impression of its owner was that the same epithet might serve as
his description. There was a complete absence of the conventional and
perfectly hollow phrases which form the staple of Castilian courtesy.
But first impressions are proverbially misleading. On my making some
obviously superfluous remark as to my imperfect use of the Spanish
tongue, Don Olegario changed the conversation to English, which he
spoke with perfect ease and correctness. We discussed my project of
a mountain excursion, and I found at once that he was ready to give
practical assistance in every way. The doubt remained as to the season
and the weather. If no rain or snow should fall, there was no other
obstacle. He readily undertook to provide men and horses and everything
needful for an excursion of three days in the Cordillera, and I was to
let him know my resolve on the following day.

I afterwards heard in some detail the family history of this
liberal-minded gentleman. His father commenced life as a common miner.
With the aid of good fortune, natural intelligence, and activity, he
became the owner of a valuable mine in Northern Chili, and amassed a
large fortune, mainly invested in the purchase of land. Having several
sons, he sent them all for education to England, and, to judge from
the specimen I saw, with excellent results. Large proprietors who
use intelligence and capital to develop the natural resources of the
country supply, in some states of society, the most effectual means for
progress in civilization; but, excepting in Chili, such examples are
rare in South America.

The day was declining when we reached the Baths of Cauquenes, and I
had time only for a short stroll through the establishment and its
immediate surroundings. It stands on a level shelf of stony ground
less than a hundred feet above the river Cachapoal, the main building
consisting of a range of bedrooms, all on the ground floor, disposed
round a very large quadrangle. The rooms are spacious and sufficiently
furnished, and I was struck by the fact that there is no fastening
whatever to the doors, which usually stand ajar. This speaks at once
for the constant apprehension of earthquakes that seems to haunt the
Chilian mind, and for the general honesty of the people, amongst
whom theft is almost unknown. Besides some additional rooms in wings
adjoining the great court, the baths are an _annexe_ overhanging
the river, to which you descend by broad flights of stairs. A large
handsome hall, lighted from above, has the bath-rooms ranged on either
side, all exquisitely clean and attractive. The adjoining ground,
planted mainly with native trees, is limited in extent. A narrow and
deep ravine, cut through the rocky slope of the adjoining hill, is
traversed by one of those slight wire suspension bridges common in
this country, that swing so far under the steps of the passenger as to
disquiet the unaccustomed stranger. The views gained from below up the
rugged and stern valley of the Cachapoal are naturally limited, but the
rather steep hills rising above the baths promised a wider prospect
towards the great range of the Cordillera, and did not disappoint


The autumn season being now far advanced, the guests at the
establishment were few--about twenty in all. After supper they
assembled in a drawing-room and adjoining music-room. I was struck not
only by the general tone of courtesy and good-breeding of the party,
but by the fact that several of them at least were well-informed men,
taking an intelligent interest in physics and natural history. Two
or three gentlemen spoke a little, but only a little, English, and,
my command of Spanish being equally imperfect, conversation did not
flow very freely, and I retired for the night with a feeling that at
a more favourable season I should be very loth to quit such pleasant

After a rather cold night, I rose early on the 15th of May, with a
sense of the impending necessity for an immediate decision as to my
future plans. Scanning anxiously the portion of the great range seen
towards the head of the valley, I saw that fresh snow extended much
lower than I had observed it at Santiago, while heavy broken masses of
dark clouds lay along the flanks of the higher mountains. I received
no encouragement from Mr. Hess. The ordinary season for rain in the
low country had arrived, and this would take the form of snow in the
inner valleys of the Cordillera; all appearances boded a change of
weather which is always anxiously desired by the native population.
I reluctantly decided to despatch a messenger to Don Olegario Soto
renouncing the projected excursion, contenting myself with the prospect
of approaching as near to the great range as could be accomplished in a
single day from the baths.

To the naturalist, however, a new country is never devoid of interest;
and this was my first day on the outer slopes of the Chilian Andes. The
season was, indeed, the most unfavourable to the botanist of the entire
year. After six months’ drought, broken only by one or two slight
showers, the ground was baked hard, nearly to the consistence of brick,
and most of the herbaceous vegetation utterly dried up. A great part
of the day was nevertheless very well spent in rambling over the hill
above the baths, and making closer acquaintance with many vegetable
forms altogether new, or hitherto seen only from a distance. The trees
and shrubs of this region are with scarce an exception evergreen,
and the most conspicuous, though differing much from each other in
structure and affinities, bear a striking resemblance in the general
form and character of their foliage, formed of thickset, broadly
elliptical, leathery leaves, giving a dense shade impervious to the
sun. The largest is the _peumo_[26] tree, already referred to, which
forms a thick trunk, but rarely exceeds thirty feet in height. Next
to this in dimensions are two trees of the Rosaceous family, allied
in essential characters (though very different in appearance) to the
Spiræas, of which the common meadowsweet is the most familiar example.
One of these, the _Quillaja saponaria_ of botanists, is much prized
for the remarkable properties of the bark, said to contain, along with
carbonate of lime and other mineral constituents, much _saponine_, an
organic compound having many of the properties of soap. It is commonly
used for washing linen, and especially for cleansing woollen garments,
to which it gives an agreeable lustre. Nearly allied to this is the
_Kageneckia oblonga_, a small tree of no special use except to aid in
clothing the parched hills of the lower region of Chili. It would seem
that all these trees might be successfully introduced into the warmer
parts of southern Europe, especially the south of Spain and Sicily, and
the _Quillaja_ would doubtless prove to be of some economic value.


To the European traveller the most remarkable vegetable inhabitant of
the dry hills of Central Chili is the tall cactus (_Cereus quisco_),
which I had first seen on the way from Valparaiso to Santiago. They
were abundant on the lower slopes about Cauquenes, the stiff columnar
stems averaging about a foot in diameter. I was told that the plant
was now to be found in flower, and was surprised to observe on the
trunks, as I approached, clusters of small deep-red flowers that
appeared very unlike anything belonging to this natural family. Nearer
inspection showed that they had none but an accidental connection with
the plant on which they grew. The genus _Loranthus_, allied to our
common European parasite, the mistletoe, is widely spread throughout
the world, chiefly in the tropics. From three to four hundred different
species are known, nearly all parasites on other plants; as a rule,
each species being confined to some special group, and many of them
known to fix itself only upon a single species. Botanists in various
regions have remarked that there is frequently a marked resemblance
between the foliage of the parasitic _Loranthus_ and that of the
plants to which it is attached; but it is especially remarkable that
the only species which is known to grow upon the leafless plants of
the cactus family should itself be the only leafless species of
_Loranthus_, consisting as it does only of a very short stem, from
which the crowded flower-stalks form a dense cluster of bright-red,
moderately large flowers. Although it is not easy to conjecture how
it may act, it is conceivable that these conformities may be results
of natural selection; but it is also possible that, like many curious
instances of parallelism among the forms of plants belonging to widely
different types, the facts may hereafter be seen to result from some
yet undiscovered law regulating the direction of variation in the
development of organic beings.


In some places dense masses of spiny shrubs were massed together,
overgrown by climbing plants, amongst which the most strange and
attractive were composites of the genus _Mutisia_. The Chilian species
have all stiff, leathery, undivided leaves ending in a tendril, with
large brownish-red or purple flowers, of which very few were to be
found at this advanced season. Among the shrubs I was struck by a
species of _Colletia_, a genus characteristic of temperate South
America. They are nearly or quite leafless, and remind one slightly
of our European furze, but are much more rigid, with fewer, but hard
and penetrating spines, which, unlike those of the furze, are true
branches, sharpened to a point and set on at right angles to the stem.
The species common here (_Colletia spinosa_ of Lamarck) grows to a
height of four or five feet, and would probably be found very useful
for hedges on dry stony ground in the south of Europe. I regret that
the seeds which I sent to Italy have not germinated.

At the present season, corresponding to mid-November in Europe, I could
not expect to see much of the native herbaceous vegetation, and the
majority of the plants collected showed little more than the parched
skeletons of their former selves. The recent slight showers, which
alone had broken the long drought since the preceding spring, sufficed
to awaken into life two species of _Oxalis_, whose flowers and early
leaves just pierced through the hard surface of the soil; but, although
some young leaves heralded the appearance of species of the lily tribe,
no other new flowers had appeared. Ferns were scarce, but I was rather
surprised to find a fine _Adiantum_ in some abundance under the shade
of the _Quillaja_ and _Kageneckia_ trees.

In the evening I arranged with Mr. Hess to start early on the following
morning, with the object of approaching as nearly as possible to the
higher zone of the Cordillera, of which, despite cloudy weather, I had
tempting glimpses during the day.

I was on foot early on the 16th, but the prospect was not altogether
cheering. The clouds which covered the sky were of leaden hue, and lay
about mid-height on the range of the Cordillera. The horses were ready
after the usual delay, and a taciturn young man, who probably thought
the expedition a bore, was in readiness to act as guide. As I was about
to mount, Mr. Hess lent me a _poncho_, which I at once drew over my
head, and for which I afterwards had reason to be grateful. We rode on
in silence for more than an hour, following a track that cuts across
the great bend of the Cachapoal above the baths. The river is formed
by the union of four or five torrents that issue from as many of the
interior valleys of the Cordillera. It flows at first northward, nearly
parallel to the main chain, until, a few miles above the baths, it
bends westward and descends towards the open country. We had reached a
point overlooking the upper valley, and, as far as one might judge from
glimpses through breaks in the clouds, commanding a noble view of the
great range of the Cordillera. Before us lay the slopes by which, at a
distance of two or three miles, we might reach the only bridge which
spans the upper course of the Cachapoal. Just at this interesting point
the threatened rain began, at first gentle, but steadily increasing. I
went on for some time on the chance of any token of improvement; but,
as none appeared, I decided on sending back the horses and returning on
foot to the baths.


I had this day my first experience of the value of a genuine _poncho_
woven by the Indian women from the wool of the guanaco. Throughout
South America the cheap articles in common use, manufactured in
England and Germany, have almost replaced the native garment. They
are comparatively heavy and inconveniently warm, while not at all
efficient in keeping out rain. After more than three hours’ exposure
to heavy rain, the light covering lent to me by Mr. Hess had allowed
none to pass. It is surprising that such a serviceable and convenient
garment, which leaves the arms free, and is equally useful on foot or
on horseback, is not more generally adopted in Europe, especially by
sportsmen. A good _poncho_ is not, however, to be had cheaply. I was
asked sixty dollars for one at Buenos Ayres, and that, I believe, is
about the ordinary price.

The change of weather which culminated in this wet day at Cauquenes
seems to have extended along the range of the Cordillera; but, to
illustrate the rapid change of climate which is found in advancing
northward along the west side of the Andes, I may mention that, while
the rain continued to fall steadily for ten and a half hours at
Cauquenes, it lasted but five hours at Santiago, about fifty miles to
the northward; and at Santa Rosa, forty miles farther in a direct line,
only two hours’ rain was obtained by the thirsty farmers on the banks
of the Aconcagua.

On the morning of the 17th the clouds had disappeared, and the valley
was lit up with brilliant sunshine. Fresh snow lay thickly on the
flanks of the higher mountains, and I had reason to congratulate myself
that I had not undertaken an expedition which would have resulted in
utter discomfort without any adequate compensation, as the Alpine
vegetation must have been completely concealed by the fresh snow. The
roads and paths were all deep in mud, and the slopes very slippery from
the rain, so I decided on descending to the rocky banks of the river
below the baths, and, following the stream as far as I conveniently
could. I did not go far, but a good many hours were very well occupied
in examining the vegetation of the left bank of the Cachapoal and of
a little island of rock in the middle of the stream. In summer one of
the ordinary suspension bridges of the country enables the visitors to
cross to the right bank, but this is removed during winter, and the
swollen waters of the river made all the usual fords impassable for the


Many forms of _Escallonia_ were abundant along the stream. A few
species only of this genus are cultivated in English gardens, but in
their native home, the middle and lower slopes of the Andes, they
exhibit a surprising variety of form while preserving a general
similarity of aspect. They are all evergreen shrubs, some rising to
the stature of small trees, with undivided, thick, usually glossy
leaves, and white, red, or purplish flowers. Although forty-three
different species have been described from Chili alone, it is easy to
find specimens not exactly agreeing with any of them, and to light
upon intermediate forms that seem to connect what appeared to be quite
distinct species. They afford an example of a fact which I believe
must be distinctly recognized by writers on systematic botany--that in
the various regions of the earth there are some groups of vegetable
forms in which the processes by what we call species are segregated
are yet incomplete; and amid the throng of closely allied forms, the
suppression of those least adapted to the conditions of life has not
advanced far enough to differentiate those which can be defined and
marked by a specific name.

To the believer in evolution, it must be evident that at some period in
the history of each generic group there must have occurred an interval
during which species, as we understand them, did not yet exist; and
perhaps the real difficulty is to explain why such instances are not
more frequent than they now appear to be. Familiar examples are the
genera _Hieracium_ and _Rosa_ in Europe; _Aster_ and _Solidago_ in
North America; while in South America, _Escallonia_, _Malvastrum_, and
several groups of _Myrtaceæ_ seem to exhibit the same phenomenon.

Another genus having numerous species in South America, but, so far as
I know, not displaying the same close connection of forms linking the
several species, is _Adesmia_, a leguminous genus allied to the common
sainfoin. I found several species near the baths, the most attractive
being a little spiny yellow-flowered bush, with much the habit of some
Mediterranean _Genistæ_, but with pods formed of several joints, each
covered with long, purple, glistening hairs.

A bright day was followed by a clear cold night, the thermometer
falling to 40° Fahr. in the court, and slight hoar-frost was visible
in the lower part of the valley near the baths. I started early for
a ramble over the higher hills rising to the south and south-west of
the establishment. After following a track some way, I struck up the
steep stony slopes, meeting at every step the dried skeletons of many
interesting plants characteristic of this region of America, but here
and there rewarded by finding some species in fruit, or even with
remains of flower. After gaining the ridge, I found that the true
summit lay a considerable way back, quite out of sight of the baths. To
this, which is called _El Morro de Cauquenes_,[27] I directed my steps,
wishing to enjoy a unique opportunity for a wide view of the Chilian


The day was cloudless, and the position most favourable. In this part
of the range the Cordillera bends in a curve convex to the east, so as
to describe a nearly circular arc of about 60°, with Cauquenes as a
centre. The summits of the main range, which apparently vary from about
sixteen to nineteen thousand feet in height, and are nearly forty miles
distant, send out huge buttresses dividing the narrow valleys whose
waters unite to form the Cachapoal, and are in many places so high as
to conceal the main range. The slopes are everywhere very steep, so
that, in spite of the recent fall of snow, dark masses of volcanic rock
stood out against the brilliant white that mantled the great chain.
The tints in Petermann’s map would indicate that the highest peaks are
those lying about due east, but it appeared to me that two or three of
those which I descried to the south-east, though slightly more distant,
were decidedly higher. It will probably be long before the Chilian
Government can undertake a complete survey of the gigantic chain which
walls in their country on the eastern side. No pass, as I was informed,
is used to connect the upper valley of the Cachapoal with the Argentine

From the summit I descended about due north into a little hollow,
whence a trickling streamlet fell rather rapidly towards the main
valley. As commonly happens in Chili, this has cut a deep trench, or
_quebrada_; and when I had occasion to cross to the opposite bank, I
had no slight difficulty in scrambling down the nearly vertical wall,
though partly helped and partly impeded by the shrubs that always haunt
these favourable stations. The Winter’s bark, not yet in flower,
differed a good deal from the form which I had seen at Valparaiso, and
the foliage was much the same that I afterwards found in the channels
of Patagonia. Among the few plants yet flowering at this season was a
large lobelia, of the group formerly classed as a distinct genus under
the name _Tupa_,[28] and which is peculiar to Chili and Peru.


On my return from a delightful walk, I found much-desired letters from
home awaiting me, and along with them the less welcome information
that the departure of the _Triumph_ was delayed for several weeks.
Renouncing with regret the agreeable prospect of a voyage in company
with Captain Markham, I at once wrote to secure a passage in the German
steamer _Rhamses_, announced to leave Valparaiso on May 28.

Among other objects of interest at this place, I was struck by the
proceedings of two captive condors, who, with clipped wings, roamed
about the establishment, and seemed to have no desire to recover
the liberty which they had lost as young birds. One of them was
especially pertinacious in keeping to the side of the court near to
the dining-room and kitchen, always on the look-out for scraps of meat
and refuse. Contrary to my expectation, the colour of both birds,
which were females, was a nearly uniform brown, with only a few white
feathers beneath. They were larger than any eagles, but scarcely
exceeded one or two of the largest _lämmergeier_ of the Alps that I
have seen in confinement.

On the morning of May 19 I with much regret took my departure from the
baths, and found myself in company with an elderly gentleman and his
pretty and agreeable daughter, who also desired to return to Santiago.
Starting some two hours earlier than was at all necessary, we had
spare time, which I employed in looking for plants at Rio Claro and
about the Gualtro station; but at this season very little remained to
interest the botanist. We reached the capital about five p.m., and,
as the days were now short, the sun was setting as I went in an open
carriage along the broad Alameda, which runs nearly due east. The
better to enjoy the finest sunset which I had yet seen in America,
I was sitting facing westward, with my back to the horses, when an
unusual glow of bright light on the adjoining houses caused me to turn
my head. Never shall I forget the extraordinary spectacle that met my
eyes. I am well used to brilliant sunsets, for, so far as I know, they
are nowhere in the world so frequent as in the part of north-eastern
Italy approaching the foot of the Alps, with which I am familiar.
But the scene on this evening was beyond all previous experience or
imagination. The great range of the Cordillera that rises above the
town, mostly covered with fresh snow, seemed ablaze in a glory of red
flame of indescribable intensity, and the whole city was for some
minutes transfigured in the splendour of the illumination.


The subject of sunset illumination has been much discussed of late in
connection with the supposed effects of the great eruption of Krakatoa,
and I confess to a suspicion that these have been considerably
overrated. That the presence of finely comminuted particles in the
higher region of the atmosphere is one of the chief causes that
determine the colour of the sky, may be freely conceded by those
who doubt whether a single volcanic eruption sufficed to alter
the conditions over the larger part of the earth’s surface. It is
certain that some of the districts ordinarily noted for sunsets of
extraordinary brilliancy are remote from active volcanoes. So far as
South America is concerned, it may, on the other hand, be remarked that
if volcanic action be an efficient cause, it is present at many points
of the continent as well as in Central America, while brilliant sunsets
are, so far as I know, of rare occurrence except in Chili.


  Baths of Apoquinto--Slopes of the Cordillera--Excursion to Santa
      Rosa de los Andes and the valley of Aconcagua--Return to
      Valparaiso--Voyage in the German steamer _Rhamses_--Visit
      to Lota--Parque of Lota--Coast of Southern Chili--Gulf of
      Peñas--Hale Cove--Messier’s Channel--Beautiful scenery--The
      English narrows--Eden harbour--Winter vegetation--Eyre
      Sound--Floating ice--Sarmiento Channel--Puerto Bueno--Smyth’s
      Channel--Entrance to the Straits of Magellan--Glorious
      morning--Borya Bay--Mount Sarmiento--Arrival at Sandy Point.

Having devoted the day following my return to Santiago to botanical
work, chiefly in the herbarium of Dr. Philippi, I started on the
following morning in company with his son, Professor Friedrich
Philippi, for an excursion up the slopes of the mountain range nearest
the city. My companion had kindly sent forward in advance his servant
with horses, and we engaged a hackney coach to convey us to the Baths
of Apoquinto, where a warm mineral spring bursts out at the very
base of the mountain. The common carriages throughout South America
are heavy lumbering vehicles, and the road, though nearly level, was
deep in volcanic sand; but the horses are excellent, and, in spite of
several halts to collect a few plants yet in flower, we accomplished
the distance of nine miles in little over an hour.


The establishment at Apoquinto is on a small scale and somewhat rustic
in character, but it had been recently taken by an Englishman, and now
supplies fair accommodation, which would be prized by a naturalist who
should be fortunate enough to visit Chili at a favourable season. We
mounted our horses without delay, and at once commenced the ascent,
gentle for a short way, but soon becoming so steep that it was more
convenient to dismount at several places. Under the experienced
guidance of my companion, I found more interesting plants still in
flower or fruit than I had ventured to expect at this season. I here
for the first time found a species of _Mulinum_, one of a large group
of umbelliferous plants characteristic of the Chilian flora, and nearly
all confined to South America. The leaves in the commonest species
are divided into a few stiff pointed segments, reminding one somewhat
of the _Echinophora_ of the Mediterranean shores, once erroneously
supposed to be a native of England.

I was especially struck on this day with the extraordinary variety of
odours, pleasant or the reverse, that are exhaled by the native plants
of Chili. As commonly happens in dry countries, a large proportion
of the native plants contain resinous gums, each of which emits some
peculiar and penetrating smell. I had already observed this elsewhere
in the country, but, perhaps owing to the great variety of the
vegetation on these slopes, the recollections of the day are indelibly
associated with those of the impressions on the olfactory nerve. If
there be persons in whom such impressions are sufficiently distinct
to be accurately recalled by an effort of the memory, I can imagine
that in some countries the nose might afford a valuable help to the
botanical collector. To judge, however, from personal experience,
I should say that of all the senses that of smell is the one which
supplies the least accurate impressions, and those least capable of
certain recognition.

We reached a place where a small stream from the upper part of the
mountain springs in a little waterfall from a cleft in the rocks, and
which is known as the Salto de San Ramon. This is probably about four
thousand feet above the sea-level, and between us and the lower limit
of the snow which covered the higher slopes there stretched a rather
steep acclivity, covered, like the ground around us, with bushes and
small shrubby plants. A few small trees (chiefly _Kageneckia_) grew
near the Salto, but higher up scarce any were to be seen. Professor
Philippi, who is well acquainted with the ground, thought that little,
if anything, would be added to our collections by continuing the
ascent, so we devoted the spare time to examining the ground in our
immediate neighbourhood, thus adding a few species not before seen. In
summer, however, an active botanist, starting early from Apoquinto,
who did not object to an ascent of six or seven thousand feet, would
reach the zone of Alpine vegetation, and be sure to collect many of the
curious plants of this region of the Andes.

May 22 and the following day were fully occupied in Santiago. Among
other agreeable acquaintances, I called upon Don F. Balmacedo, then
minister for foreign affairs, and now President of the Republic,
who favoured me with a letter of introduction to the governor of
the Chilian settlement in the Straits of Magellan. I also enjoyed
an interesting conversation with Dr. Taforò, then designated by the
Chilian Government for the vacant archbishopric of Santiago. Some
canonical objections appear to have created difficulties at Rome, and
the see, as I believe, remains vacant.


I found in Dr. Taforò an agreeable and well-informed gentleman, who
appeared to hold enlightened views, and to be free from many of the
prejudices which the Spanish clergy have inherited from the dark period
of ecclesiastical tyranny and absolute royalty. With regard to the
Chilian clergy in general, I derived a favourable impression from the
testimony of my various acquaintances. At all events, they appear to
be respected by the mass of the population, whereas in Peru they are
regarded with dislike and contempt by all classes alike.

Among the various claims of the Chilian republic to be regarded with
interest by the student of political progress, I must note the fact
that it has for some time successfully adopted a system of suffrage
which is supposed to be too complex for the people of our country.
In political elections for representatives the mode of voting is, I
believe, very nearly the same as that known amongst us as the Hare
system; while in municipal elections the cumulative vote is adopted,
each voter having as many votes as there are candidates to be elected,
and being allowed to give as many votes as he pleases to the one or
more candidates of his choice. I unfortunately was not aware of these
facts while in the country, and therefore failed to make inquiry on the
subject; but the fact that, while there is a keen interest in political
life, no one has proposed to alter the present mode of voting, seems to
prove that the existing system gives general satisfaction.

Early in the morning of May 24 I left Santiago, bound for Santa Rosa
de los Andes, the highest town in the valley of the Rio Aconcagua.
That river is mainly fed from the snows of the great peak from which
it takes its name, the highest summit of the New World.[29] In its
lower course it waters the Quillota valley, through which the railway
is carried from Valparaiso to Santiago. In travelling from the latter
city it is therefore necessary to return to the junction at Llaillai,
whence a branch line leads eastward along the river to San Felipe and
Santa Rosa. The sky was cloudless, the air delightfully clear, and
the views of the great range were indescribably grand and beautiful,
especially in the neighbourhood of San Felipe. The summit of Aconcagua,
as seen from this side, shows three sharp peaks of bare rock, too
steep to retain the snow which now lay deep on the lower declivities.
It has been inferred that the summit must be formed of crystalline
or metamorphic rock, as there is no indication of the existence of
a crater. This is by no means improbable, as we know that granite,
old slates, and conglomerates, as well as newer Secondary rocks, are
found at many points along the axis of the main range; but, on the
other hand, we know that most of the higher peaks in Central Chili
are volcanic, and the removal of all but some fragments of the cone
of an ancient crater may leave sharp teeth of rocks such as are seen
at the summit of Aconcagua. In the view which I obtained from the
Morro of Cauquenes I observed several lofty peaks of somewhat the same
character, which struck me as probably the shattered remains of ancient


Reaching Santa Rosa early in the afternoon, I proceeded to the Hotel
Colon in the _plaza_, which, as usual, forms the centre of the
town. The French landlord and his wife were civil, obliging people,
and, although the establishment seemed to be much out at elbows,
I was soon installed in a tolerably good room, and supplied with
information for which I had hitherto been vainly seeking. The main
line of communication between the adjoining republics of Chili and
Argentaria[30] is over the Uspallata Pass at the head of the valley
of Aconcagua; and Santa Rosa, or as it is more commonly called, Los
Andes, is the starting-point for travellers from the west. Don B. V.
Mackenna had kindly furnished me with a letter to the officer in charge
of the custom-house station at the foot of the pass, known as the
_Resguardo del Rio_* _Colorado_, and led me to believe that a carriage
road extended as far as that point. The latter statement was, however,
disputed by several of my acquaintances in Santiago, and the most
various assertions were made as to the distance and the time requisite
for the excursion. As it turned out, Mr. Mackenna, as he generally
is, was correctly informed. The road, as I now learned, was in bad
order, but quite passable for a carriage; and the distance could be
accomplished in little over three hours.

Having ordered a vehicle for the next morning, I inquired for a man or
a boy acquainted with the neighbourhood of the town, who might serve
as guide and carry some of the traps with which a botanist is usually
encumbered. An ill-looking fellow, who seemed to have been drinking
heavily overnight, soon made his appearance, and we started through a
long, dusty street, with only very few houses at wide intervals, which
led to the road by which I was to travel on the following morning.
Seeing the ground near the town to be much inclosed, while on the
opposite side of the river a broad belt of flat stony ground, partly
covered with bushes and small trees, gave better prospect to the
botanist, I desired to be conducted to the nearest bridge by which I
might cross the stream. When we reached the place it appeared to be
even a more rickety structure than usual, requiring some care to avoid
the numerous holes in the basket-work which formed the floor. Having
ascertained that I meant to return the same way, my guide proceeded
to stretch himself on the bank, where I found him fast asleep on my


The character of the vegetation was the same as that about Santiago,
but the general aspect indicated a decided increase of dryness in
the climate, so that at the present season there was very little
remaining to be gleaned by the botanical collector. As usually happens,
however, careful search did not go quite unrewarded. I found several
species not before seen, and even where there were no specimens fit
for preservation something was to be learned. My next object was to
ascend the neighbouring hill, or _cerro_, which immediately overlooks
the town of Santa Rosa. A new proprietor had bought a tract of land
on the left bank of the river, and erected very substantial fences
rather troublesome to a trespasser. My so-called guide dropped behind
as I began to ascend the hill--only five or six hundred feet in
height--finally turned back, and, having deposited my goods at the
hotel, claimed and received an ill-earned fee. The stony slopes were
utterly parched, yet I found a few botanical novelties. A small shrubby
composite with prickly leaves, but with the habit and inflorescence
of a _Baccharis_, was still in tolerable condition. I took it for the
female plant of some species of that characteristic South American
diœcious genus; but I afterwards ascertained that it belonged to
a completely different group, namely, the _Mutisiaceæ_, being the
_Proustia baccharoides_ of Don.

The view from the summit of the Cerro towards the Andean range was not
equal to that from San Felipe, but on the opposite side the outlook
towards the plain was interesting. The contrast between the zone of
cultivation in the low lands accessible to irrigation and the higher
ground, burnt by the summer to a uniform yellow-brown tint, was
striking to the eye. The town of Santa Rosa, laid out on the flat at
the foot of the hill, was a curious feature in the prospect. It was
designed on the regular plan which seems to have recommended itself to
all the European settlers in the American continent, but which I have
nowhere seen so exactly carried out as at this place. A chess-board
supplied the model, with one row of squares cut off to avoid some
rough ground. Fifty-six squares--_quadras_--exactly equal in size, are
divided by broad roads, and the whole is surrounded by a wall about
half a mile in length each way. The _quadra_ in the centre forms the
_plaza_; the others were to be occupied by houses and gardens. To make
the town, as planned by its founders, a perfect model, it wants nothing
but houses and people to live in them. It was, perhaps, imagined that,
being on the main line of communication across the Andes, this might
become a place of some importance; but the traffic is very limited,
and, such as it is, it is carried on by trains of horses and mules that
travel to and fro between Valparaiso and Mendoza. The area of land fit
for cultivation in the valley above San Felipe is small, and the resort
of retail traders doubtless very limited. The result is that Santa
Rosa is a town without houses. Many of the _quadras_ are occupied by a
single house and annexed garden, and only round or close to the _plaza_
is such a thing as a row of adjoining buildings to be seen.

The morning of May 25 was noteworthy as producing the solitary instance
of punctuality in a native of South America that I encountered in the
course of my journey. The virtuous driver of the carriage which I had
engaged to take me to the Resguardo was actually at the door of the
hotel at the appointed hour, soon after sunrise; but it availed little
for my object. Not a soul was stirring in the hotel; and though I made
no small disturbance, it was long before I could induce the lazy waiter
to make his appearance. I had not thought of providing my breakfast
overnight, and could not start without food for a long day’s expedition.


At length we started on the road by the left bank which I had followed
on the previous evening, and, the weather being again nearly perfect,
I thoroughly enjoyed a very charming excursion, which carried me
farther into the heart of the Cordillera than I had yet reached. As
very often happens, however, the nearer one gets to the great peaks
the less one is able to see of them. The general outline of the slopes
in the inner valleys of high mountain countries is usually convex,
because the torrents have deepened the trench between opposite slopes
more quickly than subaërial action has worn away the flanks; and it
is only exceptionally that the summits of the ridges can be seen
from the intervening valley. Among mountains where the main lines of
valley are, so to say, _structural_--_i.e._ depending on inequalities
produced during the original elevation of the mountain mass--the case
is somewhat different. Such valleys are usually nearly straight, as we
see so commonly in the European Alps, and the peaks lying about the
head of the valley are therefore often in view; but in the Andes, as
in many parts of the Rocky Mountains, it would appear that the valleys
are exclusively due to erosive action, and, their direction being
determined by merely local conditions, they are extremely sinuous, and
rarely follow the same direction for any considerable distance.

The road up the Aconcagua valley seemed to me at the time to be
about the worst over which I ever travelled in a carriage, but I had
not then made acquaintance with the mountain tracks, which they are
pleased to call roads, in the United States. Looking back in the light
of subsequent experience, I suppose that the Chilian roads should
rank among the best in the American continent, although this one was
so uneven that in awkward places, where it overhung the river, the
carriage was often tilted so much to one side that I was thankful not
to have with me a nervous companion.

About half-way to the Resguardo the road crosses the river by a stone
bridge, where it rushes in a narrow channel between high rocky banks.
Seeing botanical inducements, I descended to examine the banks on
either side, and in crossing the bridge noticed, what I might otherwise
have overlooked, that the crown of the arch was rapidly giving way.
There was a large hole in the centre, and the structure was sustained
only by the still solid masonry on each side, where the wear and tear
had been less constant. I have often admired the calm good sense
displayed by the horses in all parts of America, and was interested in
observing the prudent way in which our steeds selected the safest spots
on either side of the hole without any appearance of the nervousness
which seems hereditary in English horses, partly due, I suppose, to
the unnatural conditions in which they live. With every confidence in
animal sagacity, but none whatever in the stability of the bridge, I
thought it judicious on my return in the evening to recross it on foot.


I found two or three curious plants not before seen on the rocks
here, and again found the singular Zygophyllaceous shrub _Porliera
hygrometrica_, which is not uncommon in this part of Chili. The
numerous stiff spiny branches diverging at right angles must produce
flowers during a great part of the year, as I observed at this season
both nearly ripe fruit and flowers in various stages of development.
The small pinnate leaves, somewhat resembling in form those of the
sensitive plant, have something of the same quality. But in this
case the effective stimulus seems to be that of light, causing them
to expand in sunshine and to close when the sky is covered. If at
all, they must be very slightly affected by contact, as I failed to
observe it. If I am correct, the appropriate specific name would be
_photometrica_ rather than _hygrometrica_.

In the hedges and among the bushes a pretty climbing plant
(_Eccremocarpus scaber_) seemed to be common on the right bank of the
stream, producing flower and ripe fruit at the same time. It belongs to
the trumpet-flower tribe (_Bignoniaceæ_), though not rivalling in size
or brilliancy of colour the true Bignonias which I afterwards saw in

Having passed on the left the opening of a narrow valley which appears
to contain the main stream of the Aconcagua, I reached the Resguardo
somewhat before noon, and proceeded at once to deliver my letter to
Captain X----, the officer commanding the frontier station. I was
most courteously received, with a pressing invitation to join the
_almuerzo_, or luncheon, which is the ordinary midday meal in Chili.
Besides the lady of the house, I met at table an officer of the Chilian
navy, a friend of my host, who had come to recruit in mountain air
after recovery from a serious illness, and who spoke English fairly
well. The conversation was interesting, and I was struck by the
excellent tone and quick intelligence displayed by these agreeable
specimens of Chilian society. In the kindest way, and with evident
sincerity, my host pressed me to remain for a week at his house, and
promised me many excursions in the neighbourhood. It was with real
reluctance that, owing to imperious engagements, I was forced to
decline the hospitable invitation; and it has been a further regret
that, having failed to note it at the time, my treacherous memory has
not retained the name of this amiable gentleman.

Meanwhile, although the time passed so pleasantly, I was burning with
the desire to make use of the brief interval available for seeing
something of the surrounding country. The Resguardo stands at the
junction of a rivulet that descends from the Uspallata Pass with the
Rio Colorado, which flows from the north-east apparently from the
roots of the great peak of Aconcagua. As far as I could see, the track
leading to the pass wind in zigzags up steep slopes, at this season
almost completely bare of vegetation, and I decided on following the
valley of the Rio Colorado, where, at least along the banks of the
stream, vegetation was comparatively abundant. My obliging host had
provided a horse and a guide, and I rode for about an hour up the
valley, which in great part is narrowed nearly to a ravine. In one
place, where it widens to a few hundred yards, I passed a peasant’s
cottage, with a few stony fields from which the crop had been gathered.


Among the plants not before observed, I was at first puzzled by a
sort of thicket of long green leafless stems eight or ten feet in
height, growing near the stream. Only after searching for some time I
detected some withered remains of a short spike of flowers at the ends
of the stems, which showed the plant to be of the _Verbena_ family.
Whatever may be the original home of that ancient tribe which has
spread throughout all the temperate and tropical regions of the earth,
it is in South America, and especially in the extra-tropical regions,
that it has developed the greatest variety both of genera and species.
On the heights of the Peruvian Andes, from the snows of the Chilian
Cordillera to the shores of the Pacific, as well as on the plains of
Argentaria and Uruguay, the botanist is everywhere charmed by the
brilliant flowers of numerous species of true _Verbena_. In the warmer
zone the allied genus _Lippia_ becomes predominant, and displays an
equal variety of aspect; but in Chili especially we find a number of
plants very different in aspect, although nearly allied in structure to
the familiar types. The plant of the Rio Colorado--known to botanists
as _Baillonia spartioides_--appears to be rare in Chili, as it is not
among the species collected by the earlier explorers of this region.

I was interested in finding here two species of _Loranthus_, which,
unlike their congeners, grow in a respectable way, depending on
their own resources for subsistence. The great majority of nearly
four hundred known species of this genus live as parasites on the
stems of other plants, but these form bushes with woody roots, which
apparently have not even an underground connection with those of their
neighbours. When I returned to the Resguardo, laden with plants, it was
high time to think of starting homeward to Santa Rosa. I did not much
fancy travelling by night over the curious road that I had followed
in the morning, and my coachman seemed to hold the same opinion very
strongly. Accordingly I soon started, after cordial leave-taking, but
was a little surprised when, without previous warning, the driver
pulled up his horses at the garden gate of a substantial house,
which I had noticed in the morning a few hundred yards below the
Resguardo. Presently a young man came out, and, addressing me in very
fair English, explained that he had written to order a carriage for
the following day, but would be thankful if I could give him a seat
to convey him to his family at Santa Rosa. Of course I willingly
consented, and in the conversation, which was carried on alternately
in Spanish and English during the following three hours, I gained an
opportunity for some practice in a language which has never been quite
familiar to me.

I became interested in the poor young fellow, who was evidently in an
advanced stage of pulmonary consumption. He had been on a visit with
friends, in the vain hope that the pure air of this mountain valley
might arrest the disease, and now, as the season was far advanced,
wished to rejoin his wife and children at Santa Rosa. Like many
consumptive patients, he had a feverish proneness for talk; and, having
first told me his own story, he asked me a multitude of questions
respecting my present journey and as to the other countries that I have
visited. At length, with evident reference to my age, he gravely said,
“No le parece Señor que es tiempo para descansar?” I answered that
there would be time enough to _descansar_ when one is laid underground,
and that for the present I saw no occasion to rest. As I stopped the
carriage only two or three times to gather plants, and the driver kept
his horses at a smart trot most of the way, we accomplished the return
journey of eighteen or twenty miles in a little under three hours, and
reached the town at nightfall.


On the 26th I returned to Valparaiso, meeting the Santiago train at the
now familiar junction station of Llaillai. Although the weather was
still fine, clouds hung round the Cordillera, and I was not destined
again to enjoy the glorious view of the great range. My first care on
reaching the port was to secure my passage in the German steamer as far
as the Straits of Magellan. I found that the steamship _Rhamses_ of
the Cosmos line, which in ordinary course should have departed on the
28th, was delayed until the following day, May 29. It was inevitable
to regret that the additional day had not been devoted to the Rio
Colorado, but, in fact, I found my time fully occupied during the two
days that remained available. The collections of dried plants made up
to this time had to be packed securely in the chest in which they were
to remain until they reached England, and, as every botanist knows,
it is expedient to hasten the process of drying fresh plants as far
as possible before going to sea, where the operation is always one of

I was invited to dinner on the day of my arrival by Mr. C----, one of
the chief English merchants established in Chili, and acquired some
interesting information from his conversation. Having been at work
during a great part of the previous night, I was, however, thoroughly
tired, and was able to profit less than I should have done by the
hospitable entertainment. On the morning of my departure from Cauquenes
I had met Mr. Edwin Reed, an English naturalist many years resident in
Chili, and by appointment called upon him at his house in Valparaiso.
Mr. Reed has a good knowledge of the botany and zoology of his adopted
country, and several hours were agreeably spent on each of the two
available days in going through parcels of his duplicate collections,
when he was good enough to give me flowering specimens of plants which
I had seen only in imperfect condition, as well as of many others
from the higher region of the Cordillera which had been entirely
inaccessible to me.

My visit to Chili had now come to an end. All needful preparations were
concluded; and, after a busy morning and an excellent luncheon at the
Hotel Colon, I went on board the _Rhamses_ early in the afternoon of
May 29, not without deep regret at quitting a country where I had spent
twenty of the most enjoyable days of my life. The only occupants of
the first-class saloon were a German gentleman, Mr. Z----; his wife, a
delicate Peruvian lady, who remained in her cabin during most of the
voyage; five children; and a maid. I found a good clean cabin, which
had been reserved for my use, and before long a tall, handsome man
of pleasant countenance introduced himself to me as Captain Willsen,
commanding the _Rhamses_.


The steamers of the German Cosmos line, of which this is, I believe,
a fair example, differ in many respects from the great English ocean
steamships which conduct most of the intercourse between Europe and
South America. They are mainly destined for cargo, the accommodation
for passengers being comparatively very limited, and of scarcely
half the dimensions, being of rather less than two thousand tons
displacement by our measurement. In our passenger ships speed is
always the foremost consideration. In accordance with the national
temperament, the German steamers set slight store on that object;
safety and economy are the aims constantly kept in view, and the
consumption of an increased quantity of coal in order to gain a day
would be regarded as culpable extravagance. The especial advantage
which they offer to every traveller in this region is that, owing to
their light draught, they are able to traverse the narrow and intricate
channels of Western Patagonia between the mountainous islands and the
mainland; while to sea-sick passengers the object of avoiding more
than four hundred miles of the heavy seas of the Southern Pacific is a
further inducement. A naturalist finds an additional attraction in the
general sympathy and helpfulness which he may expect from every officer
in a German ship. Courtesy and friendly feeling are almost invariably
to be found on board our steamers, but the pursuits of a naturalist
rarely seem to call forth the slightest show of interest.

Our departure was fixed for two p.m., but in fact we did not move till
past seven, long after dark at this season. On getting out to sea we
found a moderate swell running from the southward, and moved slowly, as
coal was economized. On the following morning we found ourselves rather
far from land, and, although the weather was moderately clear, we had
only a few distant glimpses of the coast during the day. The barometer
fell slowly about two-tenths of an inch from morning to night, and it
seemed evident that we were about to bid farewell to the bright skies
of Central Chili. We were to take in coal for the voyage to Europe at
Lota, about two hundred and fifty nautical miles south of Valparaiso.
That distance could be easily accomplished, even by the _Rhamses_,
in twenty-four hours; but as there was no object in arriving before
morning, we economized fuel and travelled slowly. Heavy rain fell
during the entire night, and ceased only when, on the morning of May
31, we entered the harbour of Lota.

Lota is a place which, although not marked on Stanford’s latest map
of South America, has within a short time risen to considerable
importance, owing to the discovery of extensive deposits of lignite of
excellent quality. I have heard various estimates of its value as steam
coal, the lowest of which set five tons of Lota coal as equal to four
of Welsh anthracite. The seams appear to be of considerable thickness,
and the underground works have now extended to a considerable distance
from the shore. All the ocean steamers returning to Europe now call
here for their provision of fuel, and in addition the proprietor
has established extensive works for smelting copper and for making
glass. The owner of this great property is a lady, the widow of the
late Mr. Cousiño, whose income is rated at about £200,000 a year.
About 2500 people are constantly employed, who, with their families,
inhabit a small town of poor appearance which has grown up on the hill
overlooking the harbour.


I was courteously invited to the house of Mr. Squella, a relation of
Madame Cousiño, who has the direction of this great establishment, and
there had the pleasure of again meeting my former travelling companion,
Mr. H----, and also Captain Simpson, an officer of the Chilian navy
of English extraction, who, while commanding a ship on the southern
coast, has rendered some services to science. The conversation was
carried on chiefly in English, which has decidedly become the _lingua
franca_ of South America, but was shortened by my natural anxiety to
turn to the best account the short time at my disposal. I had a choice
between three alternatives--a descent into the coal mine, a visit to
the works above ground and the miners’ town, or a ramble through the
so-called park, which occupies the promontory stretching westward
which forms the natural harbour of Lota, and covers a great portion of
the precious deposit to which the place owes its new-born importance. I
naturally preferred the latter, feeling that my limited experience as a
geological observer would not allow me to profit much by a subterranean
excursion. I made inquiry, however, as to the vegetable remains found
in the lignite, and I was told that they are abundant, although the few
specimens which I saw showed but slight traces of vegetable structure.
I was led to believe that a collection of specimens had been sent to
Europe to my late lamented friend, Dr. Oswald Heer, but I am not aware
that he has left any reference to such a collection, or even that it
ever reached his hands.

The _parque_ of Lota, to which I directed my steps, has rather the
character of an extensive pleasure-ground than of what we call a park;
but the surface is so uneven, and the outline so irregular, that I
could not estimate its extent. The numerous fantastic structures in
questionable taste that met the eye in every direction create at the
first moment an unfavourable impression, but the charms of the spot are
so real that this is soon forgotten. The variety and luxuriance of the
vegetation, and the diversified views of the sea and the rocky shores,
were set off by occasional bursts of bright sunshine, in which the
drops that still hung on every leaflet glittered like jewels of every
hue. The trees here were of very moderate dimensions, the largest (here
called _roble_) being of the laurel family, which, for want of flower
or fruit, I failed to identify. The Spaniards in South America have
given the name _roble_, which properly means “oak,” to a variety of
trees which agree only in having a thick trunk and spreading branches.
The shrubs were very numerous, partly indigenous and partly exotic,
and a peculiar feature which I have not noticed in any other large
garden is the number of parasites living on the trunks and branches of
the trees and shrubs. Ferns were very numerous and grow luxuriantly,
showing a wide difference of climate between this coast and that of the
country two or three degrees further north. But the great ornament of
this place is the beautiful climber, _Lapageria rosea_, now producing
in abundance its splendid flowers, which so finely contrast with its
dark-green glossy foliage. The specific name _rosea_ is unfortunate, as
the colour of the flowers is bright crimson, verging on scarlet.


One of the special features of this garden was the abundance of
humming-birds that haunted the shrubs and small trees, and darted from
spray to spray with movements so rapid that to my imperfect vision
their forms were quite indistinguishable. Whenever I drew near in the
hope of gaining a clearer view, they would dart away to another shrub
a few yards distant, and I am unable to say whether the bright little
creatures belonged to one and the same or to several different species.

At one place where the garden is only some twenty feet above the beach,
I scrambled down the rocks, and was rewarded by the sight of two or
three plants characteristic of this region. The most attractive of
these is one of the many generic types peculiar to the Chilian flora,
allied to the pine-apple. The long stiff leaves, edged with sharp
teeth and radiating from the lower part of the stem, are coloured
bright red along the centre and at the base, forming, when seen from
a distance, a brilliant, many-rayed red star. Another novelty was
_Francoa sonchifolia_, which also clings to the rocks by the sea. It
has somewhat the habit of a large crucifer, but the structure of the
flower and fruit is widely different. It was regarded by Lindley as the
type of a distinct natural family, but has been, with one other Chilian
genus (_Tetilla_), classed as a tribe of the saxifrage family.

Time passed quickly in such an interesting spot, and the hour appointed
for returning to the ship had nearly arrived, when Mr. Reilly, the
gardener who has the management of the _parque_, invited me to see his
house. He came, as I learned, from Wexford, in Ireland, had had some
training in the Royal Gardens at Kew, when his fortunate star led him
to Chili. I found him installed in a very pretty and comfortable house,
charmingly situated, in as full enjoyment of one of the most beautiful
gardens in the world as if he were its absolute owner. This was only
one more instance of the success which so often attends my countrymen
when removed to a distance from their native land. Freed from the evil
influences that seem indigenous to the soil of that unfortunate island,
they develop qualities that are too rarely perceptible at home. The
arguments for emigration are commonly based only on the economical
necessity for relieving the land of surplus population; to my mind
it may be advocated on other and quite different grounds. For every
Irishman who is carried to a distant land there is a strong probability
of a distinct gain to the world at large.


I left the _parque_ at Lota with my memory full of pictures of a spot
which, along with Mr. Cooke’s famous garden at Montserrat, near Cintra,
and that of M. Landon in the oasis of Biskra, I count as the most
beautiful garden that I have yet seen.

A rather large island--Isla de Sta. Maria--lies off the Chilian coast
to the west of Lota, and is separated on the southern side from the
promontory of Lavapie by a channel several miles wide. But as this
is beset with rocks, the rule of the German steamers is to avoid the
passage, excepting in clear weather by day. In deference, therefore,
to this cautious regulation, we set our helm to the north on leaving
Lota, two or three hours after sunset, and only after keeping that
course for some ten miles, and running past the small port of Coronel,
steered out to seaward, and finally resumed our proper southerly
direction. Our sleep was somewhat disturbed by the heavy rolling of
the ship during the night, and the morning of the 1st of June broke
dimly amid heavy lowering clouds, just such a day as one might expect
at the corresponding date (December 1) on the western coast of Europe.
Although the sea was running high, there was little wind. The barometer
at daybreak stood at 29·98, having risen a tenth of an inch since
the previous evening, and the temperature was about 52° Fahr. In our
seas one would suppose that a gale must have recently prevailed at
no great distance, but I believe the fact to be that in the Southern
Pacific high seas prevail during a great part of the year, even where
no strong winds are present to excite them. Gales are undoubtedly
common in the zone between the fiftieth and sixtieth degrees of south
latitude, and the waves habitually run higher there than they ever do
in the comparatively confined area of the Atlantic. The disturbances
are propagated to great distances, modified, of course, by winds,
currents, and the form of the coasts when they approach the land;
but the smooth waters that extend more than thirty degrees on either
side of the equator are rarely encountered in higher latitudes. The
skies brightened as the day wore on, and the sun from time to time
broke through the clouds; but we were out of sight of land, and the
only objects in view during the day were the sea, the sky, and the
numerous sea-fowl that followed the ship. The incessant rolling made it
difficult to settle down to any occupation.

We were now abreast of that large tract of Chili which has been left
in the possession of its aboriginal owners, the Araucanian Indians,
extending about one hundred miles from north to south, and a rather
greater distance from the coast to the crest of the Cordillera. It is
unfortunate that so little is known of the Araucanians, as, in many
respects, they appear to be the most interesting remaining tribe of
the aboriginal American population. For nearly two centuries they
maintained their independence in frequent sanguinary encounters with
the Spaniards, which are said on Chilian authority to have cost the
invaders the loss of 100,000 men. Since the establishment of Chilian
independence, the policy of the republic has been to establish
friendly relations with this indomitable people. The territory between
the Bio-Bio river to the north and the Tolten to the south was assigned
to them, and small annual donations were made to the principal chiefs
on condition of their maintaining order amongst the tribesmen. During
the last forty years, however, white settlers have trespassed to
a considerable extent on the Indian territory, both on the north
and south sides, but have generally contrived to keep up friendly
intercourse with the natives, while Chilian officials, established at
Angol on the river Mallego, exercise a species of supervision over the
entire region.


The present Araucanian population is somewhat vaguely estimated at
about 40,000, and it is a question of some interest whether, like most
native races in contact with those of European descent, they will
ultimately be improved out of existence, or be gradually brought within
the pale of civilization and fused with the intrusive element. The
soil is said to be in great part fertile; they raise a large quantity
of live stock, and some of the chiefs are said to have amassed wealth,
and to have begun to show a taste for the comforts and conveniences of
civilized life.

While at Santiago, I made some inquiry as to the language of the
Araucanian tribes. I was informed that in the seventeenth century the
Jesuit missionaries published a grammar of the language, of which only
two or three copies are known to exist. About the beginning of this
century a new edition, or reprint, of this work appeared at Madrid,
but, as I was assured, has also become extremely rare, and copies are
very seldom to be procured.

On the evening of the 1st the barometer had risen about a tenth of
an inch, but by the following morning had returned to the same point
(very nearly thirty inches) as on the previous day, without any change
in the state of the weather; but we enjoyed more sunshine, and the
proceedings of the birds that ceaselessly bore us company afforded us
constant occupation and amusement. Two species were predominant. One
of these was the well-known cape pigeon (_Daption capensis_), familiar
to all mariners in the southern hemisphere. This is a handsome bird,
much larger than a pigeon, exhibiting a considerable variety of plumage
in what appeared to be adult individuals. In all the ground colour
is white, and the tips of the spreading tail feathers are dark brown
or nearly black. The upper surface of the wings sometimes showed a
somewhat tesselated pattern of white and dark brown, but more commonly
were marked by two transverse dark bands, with pure white between. They
were very numerous, as many as from fifty to a hundred being near the
ship at the same time, keeping close company, and often swooping over
the deck a few feet over our heads; but, although seemingly fearless,
they never were induced to take a piece of meat from a man’s hand,
though the temptation was often renewed. The next in frequency--called
on this coast _colomba_--is nearly as large as the cape pigeon, with
plumage much resembling that of a turtle dove. This also approached
very near. Both of these birds seemed to feel fatigue, as, after
circling round the ship for half an hour at a time, they would rest
on the surface of the water, dropping rapidly astern, but after
some minutes resume their flight and soon overtake the ship. More
interesting to me were the two species of albatross, which I had never
before had an opportunity of observing. These were more shy in their
behaviour, never, I think, approaching nearer than seventy or eighty
yards, and usually following the ship with a slow, leisurely flight
still farther astern. The common, nearly white, species (_Diomedea
exulans_) is but a little larger than the dark-coloured, nearly
black species, which I supposed to be the _Diomedea fuliginosa_ of
ornithologists.[31] If, as is probable, the same birds followed us all
day, we saw but two of the latter, which are, I believe, everywhere
comparatively scarce. In both species I was struck by the peculiar form
of the expanded wing, which is very narrow in proportion to its great


The moment of excitement for the birds, as well as for the lookers-on,
was when a basket of kitchen refuse was from time to time thrown
overboard. It was amusing to watch the rush of hungry creatures all
swooping down nearly at the same point, and making a marvellous clatter
as they eagerly contended for the choice morsels. It did not appear to
me that the smaller birds showed any fear of the powerful albatross, or
that the latter used his strength to snatch away anything that had been
secured by a weaker rival.

About noon on the 2nd of June we were abreast of the northern part
of the large island of Chiloe, but were too far out to sea to get a
glimpse of the high land on the west coast. At the northern end the
island is separated from the mainland by a narrow channel (Canal de
Chacao) only two or three miles in width; but on the east side the
broad strait or interior sea between Chiloe and the opposite coast
is from thirty to forty miles in breadth, and beset by rocky islets
varying in size from several miles to a few yards.

Another unquiet night ushered in the morning of the 3rd of June. This
was fairly clear, with a fresh breeze from the south-west, which, as
the day advanced, rose nearly to a gale. The sea did not appear to
run higher than before, but the waves struck the ship’s side with
greater force, and at intervals of about ten minutes we shipped rather
heavy seas, after which the deck was nearly knee-deep in water, and a
weather board was needed to keep the saloon from being flooded. The
barometer fell slightly, and the temperature was decidedly lower, the
thermometer marking about 50° Fahr. Some attempts at taking exercise
on the hurricane deck were not very successful, my friend, Mr. H----,
being knocked down and somewhat bruised, and we finally retired to the
saloon, and found the state of things not exhilarating. We saw nothing
of the Chonos Archipelago, consisting of three large and numerous small
islands, all covered with dense forest, and separated from the mainland
by a strait, yet scarcely surveyed, about a hundred and twenty miles in
length, and ten to fifteen in breadth.

Darwin, writing nearly fifty years ago, anticipated that these islands
would before long be inhabited, but I was assured that no permanent
settlement has ever been established. Parties of woodcutters have
from time to time visited the islands, but no one has been tempted
to remain. The excessive rainfall, which is more continuous in summer
than in winter, makes them unfit for the residence of civilized man;
but it seems probable that Fuegians transported there would find
conditions favourable to their constitution and habits of life. It is
another question whether the world would be any the better for the
multiplication of so low a type of humanity.


In the afternoon, as the sea was running very high, the captain set the
ship’s head to the wind. We saw him but once, and perceived an anxious
expression on his usually jovial countenance. It afterwards came out
that he apprehended the continuance of the gale, in which case he
might not have ventured to put the helm round so as to enter the Gulf
of Peñas. At nightfall, however, the wind fell off, and by midnight
the weather was nearly calm, though the ship gave us little rest from
the ceaseless rolling. During all this time sounds that issued at
intervals from the cabin of the Peruvian lady and her children showed
that what was merely a bore to us was to them real misery. I have
often asked myself whether there is something about a sea-voyage that
develops our natural selfishness, or whether it is because one knows
that the suffering is temporary and has no bad results, that one takes
so little heed of the really grievous condition of travellers who
are unable to bear the movement of the sea. A voyage with sea-sick
passengers, especially in bad weather, when one is confined to the
saloon, is a good deal like being lodged in one of the prisons of the
Spanish inquisition while torture was freely applied to the unhappy
victims; and yet persons who are not counted as hard-hearted seem to
bear their position with perfect equanimity, if not with something of

The morning of the 4th of June was so dark that we supposed our watches
to have gone astray. Of course, the days were rapidly growing shorter
as we ran to the southward, but the dim light on this morning was
explained when we sallied forth. The wind had veered round to the
north, and in these latitudes that means a murky sky with leaden clouds
above and damp foggy air below. The change, however, was opportune. We
were steering about due south-east, entering the Gulf of Peñas, with
the dim outline of Cape Tres Montes faintly seen on our larboard bow.

I have already alluded to the peculiar conformation of the
south-western extremity of the South American continent, which, from
the latitude of 40° south to the opening of the Straits of Magellan,
a distance of about nine hundred miles, exhibits an almost continuous
range of high land running parallel to the southern extremity of the
great range of the Andes. At its northern end this western range, under
the names Cordillera Pelada and Cordillera de la Costa, forms part
of the mainland of Chili, being separated from the Andes by a broad
belt of low country including several large lakes, those of Ranco and
Llanquihue being each about a hundred miles in circuit. South of the
Canal de Chacao the range is continued by the island of Chiloe and the
Chonos Archipelago, and then by the great mountainous promontory whose
southern extremity is Cape Tres Montes. Here occurs the widest breach
in the continuity of the range, as the Gulf of Peñas is fully forty
miles wide. To the southward commences the long range of mountainous
islands that extend to the Straits of Magellan, between which and the
mainland lie the famous channels of Western Patagonia. It is worthy
of note that, corresponding to the elevation of this parallel western
range, the height of the main chain of the Andes is notably diminished.
Of the summits that have hitherto been measured south of latitude 42°
only one--the Volcano de Chana--attains to a height of eight thousand
feet, and there is reason to believe that numerous passes of little
more than half that elevation connect the eastern and western slopes of
the chain.


Another point of some interest is the northern extension of the
so-called antarctic flora throughout the whole of the western range,
many of the characteristic species being found on the Cordillera
Pelada close to Valdivia, which does not, I believe, much exceed three
thousand feet in height. It is true that a few antarctic species have
been found in the higher region of the Andes as far north as the
equator, just as a few northern forms have travelled southward by way
of the Rocky Mountains and the highlands of Mexico and Central America;
and Professor Fr. Philippi has lately shown that many southern forms,
and even a few true antarctic types, extend to the hills of the desert
region of Northern Chili, where the constant presence of fog supplies
the necessary moisture.[32] The true northern limit, however, of the
antarctic flora may be fixed at the Cordillera Pelada of Valdivia.

We crept on cautiously into the gulf, anxiously looking out for some
safe landmark to secure an entrance into the northern end of Messier’s
Channel. Soon after midday we descried a remarkable conical hill,
which is happily placed so as to distinguish the true opening from the
indentations of the rocky coast. As we advanced the air became thicker
and colder, as drizzling rain set in; but the practised eyes of seamen
are content with indications that convey no meaning to an ordinary
landsman, and just as the night was closing in almost pitch dark, the
rattle of the chain cable announced that we had come to anchor for the
night in Hale Cove.


The weather had become very cold. At two p.m. in the gulf the
thermometer stood at 42°, and after nightfall it marked only a few
degrees above freezing-point, so that, even in the saloon, we sat in
our great coats, not at all enjoying the unaccustomed chilliness. All
rejoiced, therefore, when the captain, having quite recovered his
wonted cheerfulness, announced that a stove was to be set up forthwith
in the saloon, and a tent erected on deck to give shelter from the
weather. The stove was a small, somewhat rickety concern, and we fully
understood that it would not have been safe to light it while the
ship was labouring in the heavy seas outside; but it was especially
welcome to me, as I was anxiously longing for the chance of getting my
botanical paper thoroughly dry. As we enjoyed a cheerful dinner, two of
the officers pushed off in one of the ship’s boats into the blackness
that had closed around. After some time a large fire was seen blazing
a few hundred yards from the ship, and, amid rain and sleet, we could
descry from the deck some moving forms. They had succeeded, I know not
how, in getting the damp timber into a blaze, and were good-naturedly
employed in gathering whatever they could lay hands upon to contribute
to my botanical collection. Not much could be expected under such
conditions, but everything in this, to me, quite new region was full
of interest. Dead branches covered with large lichens introduced me to
one of the most characteristic features of the vegetation. The white
fronds, four or five inches wide, and several feet in length, enliven
the winter aspect of these shores, and possibly supply food to some of
the wild animals. Among the plants which had been dragged up at random
were several roots of the wild celery of the southern hemisphere. It
is widely spread throughout the islands of the southern ocean, as well
as on the shores of both coasts of Patagonia, and was described as a
distinct species by Dupetit Thouars; but in truth, as Sir Joseph Hooker
long ago remarked in the “Flora Antarctica,” there are no structural
characters by which to distinguish it from the common wild celery of
Europe, which is likewise essentially a maritime plant. Growing in
a region where it is little exposed to sunshine, it has less of the
strong characteristic smell of our wild plants, and the leaves may be
eaten raw as salad, or boiled, which is not the case with our plant
until the gardener, by heaping earth about the roots, diminishes the
pungency of the smell and flavour.

One thought alone troubled me as I lay down in my berth to enjoy the
first quiet night’s rest. If the weather should hold on as it now
fared, there was but a slight prospect of enjoying the renowned scenery
of the channels, or of making much acquaintance with the singular
vegetation of this new region. It was therefore with intense relief
and positive delight that I found, on sallying forth before sunrise, a
clear sky and a moderate breeze from the south. Snow had fallen during
the night, and was now hard frozen; and in the tent, where my plants
had lain during the night, it was necessary to break off fragments of
ice with numbed fingers before laying them in paper.

We weighed anchor about daybreak, and the 5th of June, my first day
in the Channels, will ever remain as a bright spot in my memory.
Wellington Island, which lay on our right, is over a hundred and fifty
miles in length, a rough mountain range averaging apparently about
three thousand feet in height, with a moderately uniform coast-line.
On the other hand, the mainland presents a constantly varying outline,
indented by numberless coves and several deep narrow sounds running
far into the recesses of the Cordillera. In the intermediate channel
crowds of islets, some rising to the size of mountains, some mere
rocks peeping above the water, present an endless variety of form and
outline. But what gives to the scenery a unique character is the wealth
of vegetation that adorns this seemingly inclement region. From the
water’s edge to a height which I estimated at fourteen hundred feet,
the rugged slopes were covered with an unbroken mantle of evergreen
trees and shrubs. Above that height the bare declivities were clothed
with snow, mottled at first by projecting rocks, but evidently lying
deep upon the higher ridges. I can find no language to give any
impression of the marvellous variety of the scenes that followed in
quick succession against the bright blue background of a cloudless
sky, and lit up by a northern sun that illumined each new prospect as
we advanced. At times one might have fancied one’s self on a great
river in the interior of a continent, while a few minutes later, in
the openings between the islands, the eye could range over miles of
water to the mysterious recesses of the yet unexplored Cordillera of
Patagonia, with occasional glimpses of snowy peaks at least twice the
height of the summits near at hand. About two o’clock we reached the
so-named English Narrows, where the only known navigable channel is
scarcely a hundred yards in width between two islets bristling with
rocks. The tide rushed through at the rate of a rapid river, and our
captain displayed even more than his usual caution. Some ten men of the
crew were posted astern with steering gear, in readiness to provide for
the possible breakage of the chains from the steering-house. It seemed
unlikely enough that such an accident should occur at that particular
point, but there was no doubt that if it did a few seconds might send
the ship upon the rocks.


One of the advantages of a voyage through the Channels is that at all
seasons the ship comes to anchor every night, and the traveller is
not exposed to the mortification of passing the most beautiful scenes
when he is unable to see them. When more thoroughly known, it is
likely that among the numerous coves many more will be found to offer
good anchorage; but few are now known, and the distance that can be
run during the short winter days is not great. We were told that our
halt for the night was to be at Eden Harbour, less than twenty miles
south of the English Narrows, and to my great satisfaction we dropped
anchor about 3.30 p.m., when there was still a full hour of daylight.
Our good-natured captain put off dinner for an hour, and with all
convenient speed I went ashore with Mr. H---- and two officers of the

Eden Harbour deserves its name. A perfectly sheltered cove, with
excellent holding-ground, is enclosed by steep forest-clad slopes,
culminating to the north in a lofty conical hill easily recognized by
seamen. The narrow fringe between the forest and the beach is covered
with a luxuriant growth of ferns and shrubby plants, many of them
covered in summer with brilliant flowers, blooming in a solitude rarely
broken by the passage of man. After scrambling over the rocks on the
beach, the first thing that struck us was the curious nature of the
ground under our feet. The surface was crisp and tolerably hard, but
each step caused an undulation that made one feel as if walking on
a thick carpet laid over a mass of sponge. Striking a blow with the
pointed end of my ice-axe, it at once pierced through the frozen crust,
and sank to the hilt over four feet into the semifluid mass beneath,
formed of half-decomposed remains of vegetation.

At every step plants of this region, never before seen, filled me
with increasing excitement. Several were found with very tolerable
fruit, and there were even some remains of the flowers of _Desfontainea
spinosa_ and _Mitraria coccinea_. The latter beautiful shrub appears to
have been hitherto known only from Chiloe and the Chonos Archipelago.
In those islands it is described as a tall climber straggling among the
branches of trees. Here I found it somewhat stunted, growing four or
five feet high, with the habit of a small fuchsia. Neither of these is
a true antarctic species. Like many Chilian plants, they are peculiar
and much-modified members of tribes whose chief home is in tropical
America. Everything else that I saw was characteristically antarctic.
Three small coniferous trees peculiar to this region; a large-flowered
berberry, with leaves like those of a holly, growing six or eight
feet high, still showing remains of the flower; and two species of
_Pernettya_, with berries like those of a bilberry, and which replace
our _Vaccinia_ in the southern hemisphere, were among the new forms
that greeted me.


A few minutes’ stumbling over fallen timber brought us to the edge of
the forest, and it was soon seen that, even if time allowed, it would
be no easy matter to penetrate into it. The chief and only large tree
was the evergreen beech (_Fagus betuloides_ of botanists). This has
a thick trunk, commonly three or four feet in diameter, but nowhere,
I believe, attains any great height. Forty feet appeared to me the
outside limit attained by any that I saw here or elsewhere. But perhaps
the most striking, and to me unexpected, feature in the vegetation was
the abundance and luxuriance of the ferns that inhabit these coasts.
From out of the stiff frozen crust under our feet a profusion of
delicate filmy ferns (_Hymenophylla_) grew to an unaccustomed size,
including several quite distinct species; while here and there clumps
of the stiff fronds of _Lomaria magellanica_, a couple of feet in
height, showed an extraordinary contrast in form and habit. As Sir
Joseph Hooker long ago remarked, the regular rigid crown of fronds
issuing from a thick rhizome, when seen from a little distance, remind
one forcibly of a _Zamia_. It was to me even more surprising to find
here in great abundance a representative of a genus of ferns especially
characteristic of the tropical zone. The _Gleichenia_ of these coasts
differs sufficiently to deserve a separate specific name, but in
general appearance is strikingly like that which I afterwards saw
growing in equal abundance in Brazil.

This continent, with its thousands of miles of unbroken coast-line,
and its mountain backbone stretching from the equator to Fuegia, has
offered extraordinary facilities for the diffusion of varied types
of vegetation. As I have already remarked, some species of antarctic
origin travel northward, and some others, now confined to the
equatorial Andes, are most probably modified descendants from the same
parent stock; while a small number of tropical types, after undergoing
more or less modification, have found their way to the extreme southern
extremity of the continent.

By a vigorous use of my ice-axe, which is an excellent weapon for a
botanist, I succeeded in uprooting a good many plants from the icy
crust in which they grew; but the minutes slipped quickly by, daylight
was fading in this sheltered spot, shut out from the north and west by
steep hills, and too soon came the call to return to the ship. On the
beach I picked up the carapace of a crab--bright red and beset with
sharp protuberances--evidently freshly feasted on by some rapacious
animal. The whole of the body and the shell of the under part as well
as the claws had disappeared, leaving nothing but the carapace, which
I presume had been found too hard and indigestible. Darwin informs us
that the sea-otter of this region feeds largely on this or some allied
species of crab.


The cold was sufficient to make the little stove in the saloon of the
steamer very acceptable, but at no time throughout the voyage could
be called severe. Between noon and three p.m. on the 5th of June the
thermometer in the open air stood about 40° Fahr., and fell at night
only two or three degrees below freezing-point. The barometer was
high, gradually rising from 30 inches to 30·3, at which it stood on
the following day. Everything promised settled weather, and it was
therefore disappointing to find the sky completely covered when I went
on deck early in the morning of the 6th. A light breeze from the north
raised the temperature by a few degrees and brought the clouds. The
scenery throughout the day was even of a grander character than before,
and the absence of sunshine gave it a sterner aspect. At times, when
passing the smaller islands, I was forcibly reminded of the upper lake
of Killarney, the resemblance being much increased by the appearance
of the smaller islets and rocks worn down and rounded by floating ice.
On this and the following days I frequently looked out for evidences
of ice-action on the rocky flanks of the mountains. These were at some
points very perceptible up to a considerable height; but all that I
could clearly make out appeared to be directed from south to north,
and nearly or quite horizontal. I failed to trace any indication on
the present surface of the descent in a westerly direction of great
glaciers flowing from the interior towards the coast.

Before midday we passed opposite the opening of Eyre Sound, one of the
most considerable of the numerous inlets that penetrate the mountains
on the side of the mainland. This is said to extend for forty or fifty
miles into the heart of the Cordillera, and it seems certain that one,
or perhaps several, glaciers descend into the sound, as at all seasons
masses of floating ice are drifted into the main channel. We did not
see them at first, as the northerly breeze had carried them towards the
southern side of the inlet; but before long we found ourselves in the
thick of them, and for about a mile steamed slowly amongst floating
masses of tolerably uniform dimensions, four or five feet in height
out of the water, and from ten to fifteen feet in length. At a little
distance they looked somewhat like a herd of animals grazing. Seen near
at hand, the ice looked much weathered, and it may be inferred that the
parent glacier reaches the sea somewhere near the head of the sound,
and they had been exposed for a considerable time before reaching its


The existence of great glaciers descending to the sea-level on the
west coast of South America, one of which lies so far north as the
Gulf of Peñas, about 47° south latitude, is a necessary consequence
of the rapid depression of the line of perpetual snow on the flanks
of the Andes, as we follow the chain southward from Central Chili to
the channels of Patagonia. The circumstance that permanent snow is not
found lower than about fourteen thousand feet above the sea in latitude
34°, while only 8° farther south the limit is about six thousand
feet above the sea-level, has been regarded as evidence of a great
difference of climate between the northern and southern hemispheres,
and more especially of exceptional conditions of temperature affecting
this coast. It appears to me that all the facts are fully explained
by the extraordinary increase of precipitation from the atmosphere,
in the form of rain or snow, which occurs within the zone where the
rapid depression of the snow-line is observed. So far as mean annual
temperature of the coast is concerned, the diminution of heat in
receding from the equator is less than the normal amount, being not
quite 5° Fahr. for 7° of latitude between Valparaiso and Valdivia. But
the annual rainfall at Valdivia is eight times, and at Ancud in Chiloe
more than nine times, the amount that falls at Santiago. Allowing
that the disproportion may be less great between the snowfall on the
Cordillera in the respective latitudes of these places, we cannot
estimate the increased fall about latitude 40° at less than four times
the amount falling in Central Chili. When we further recollect that in
the latter region the sky is generally clear in summer, and that the
surface is exposed to the direct rays of a sun not far from vertical,
while on the southern coast the sun is constantly veiled by heavy
clouds, it is obvious that all the conditions are present that must
depress the snow-line to an exceptional extent, and allow of those
accumulations of snow that give birth to glaciers. When a comparison
is drawn between South Chili and Norway, it must not be forgotten that
at Bergen, where the Norwegian rainfall is said to be at its maximum,
the annual amount is sixty-seven inches, or exactly one-half of that
registered in Chiloe.

It is a confirmation of this view of the subject that in going
southward from the parallel of 42° to Cape Froward in the Straits
of Magellan, through 12° of latitude, while the fall of mean yearly
temperature must be reckoned at 8° Fahr., the depression of the
snow-line cannot exceed three thousand feet.[33] Of course, we have no
direct observations of rainfall in the Channels or on the west side
of the Straits of Magellan, but there is no doubt that it diminishes
considerably in going southward.

To the south of Eyre Sound the main channel opens to a width of four
or five miles, and is little encumbered by rocky islets, so that we
kept a direct course a little west of south, and in less than two
hours reached the southern extremity of Wellington Island, and gained
a view of the open sea through a broad strait which is known as the
Gulf of Trinidad. Now that this has been well surveyed, it offers an
opportunity for steamers bound southward that have missed the entrance
to the Gulf of Peñas to enter from the Pacific, and take the course to
the Straits of Magellan through the southern channels.


We had now accomplished the first stage in the voyage through the
Channels. Many local names have been given to the various passages
open to navigation on this singular coast; but, speaking broadly,
the northern portion, between Wellington Island and the mainland,
is called Messier’s Channel; the middle part, including a number of
distinct openings between various islands, is known as the Sarmiento
Channel; and the southern division, between Queen Adelaide Island and
the continent, is Smyth’s Channel. Facing the Pacific to the south of
Wellington Island are three of large size--Prince Henry Island, Madre
de Dios, and Hanover Island, besides countless islets which beset the
straits that divide these from each other; and the course followed
by the steamers lies between the outer islands and another large one
(Chatham Island) which here rose between us and the mainland.

In the afternoon the north wind freshened; as a result, the weather
became very thick, and rain set in, which lasted throughout the night.
Our intended quarters were in a cove called Tom Bay; but our cautious
captain, with a due dislike to “dirty weather,” resolved to halt in a
sheltered spot a few miles farther north, known as Henderson’s Inlet.
Both these places afford excellent shelter, but the bottom is rocky,
and ships are much exposed to lose their anchors. Although we arrived
some time before sunset, the evening was so dark, and the general
aspect of things so discouraging, that no one suggested an attempt to
go ashore. Although we were quite near to land, I could make out very
little of the outlines; and, indeed, of this middle portion of the
voyage I have retained no distinct pictures in my memory.

It struck me as very singular that, with a moderately strong breeze
from the north, the barometer should have stood so high, remaining
through the day at about 30·3 inches, and marking at nine p.m. 30·28.
The temperature, as was to be expected, was higher than on the previous
day, being about 40° during the day, and not falling at night below 35°.

Although the morning showed some improvement in the appearance of the
weather, the sky was gloomy when, after a little trouble in raising
the anchor, we got under way early on the 7th of June. The clouds
lifted occasionally during the day, and I enjoyed some brief glimpses
of grand scenery; but the only distinct impression I retained was that
of hopeless bewilderment in attempting to make out the positions of
the endless labyrinth of islands through which we threaded our way.
In spite of all that has been done, it seems as if there remained the
work of many surveying expeditions to complete the exploration of these
coasts. As to several of the eminences that lie on the eastern side of
the channel, it is yet uncertain whether they are islands or peninsulas
projecting from the mainland. It was announced that our next anchorage
was to be at Puerto Bueno, there being no other suitable place for
a considerable distance, and we were led to expect that we should
probably find there some Fuegians, as the place is known to be one of
their favourite haunts.


We dropped anchor about half-past two, in a rather wide cove, or
small bay, opening into the mainland a few miles south of Chatham
Island. The shores are comparatively low, and enclosed by a dense
forest of evergreen beech, which in most parts descends to the water’s
edge. The place owes its good repute among mariners to the excellent
holding-ground; but it did not appear to me as well sheltered as the
other natural harbours that we visited, and as the bottom shelves
very gradually, we lay fully a mile off the shore. Fortunately the
weather had improved somewhat; a moderate breeze from the north brought
slight drizzling rain, but gave no further trouble. A boat was soon
ready alongside, and we pulled for the shore, with three of the ship’s
officers armed with fowling-pieces, intended partly to impress the
natives with due respect, but mainly designed for the waterbirds that
abound along the shores of the inlet. We were correctly steered for the
right spot, as, on scrambling ashore and crossing the belt of spongy
ground between the water and the edge of the forest, we found evident
tokens that the Fuegian encampment had not been long deserted. The
broken remains of a rude canoe and fragments of basket-work were all
that we could find, and we judged that a small party, perhaps no more
than ten or a dozen, had left the place a few weeks before our arrival.
These wretched Fuegians are said to go farther south, and to keep more
to the exposed coasts during winter, because at that season animal life
is there more abundant.

After exchanging sundry jokes about the general disappointment in
failing to behold the _wilde fräulein_ in their natural home, the party
separated, two of the officers proceeding in the boat towards the
upper part of the inlet in quest of water-fowl. For nearly an hour we
heard the frequent discharge of their guns, and much ammunition must
certainly have been expended; but when they returned their report was
that the birds were too wild, and no addition was made to the ship’s

The general character of the vegetation at Puerto Bueno was the same
as that at Eden Harbour, but there were some indications of a slight
increase in the severity of the climate. _Mitraria coccinea_ and a few
other representatives of the special flora of Chili were no longer to
be found, while some antarctic types not before seen here first made
their appearance. The most prominent of these was a bush from three to
five feet high, in general appearance reminding one of rosemary, but at
this season abundantly furnished with the plumed fruits characteristic
of a composite. This plant, nearly allied to the genus _Olearia_,
whose numerous species are confined to Australia, New Zealand, and
the adjoining islands, is known to botanists as _Chiliotrichium
amelloides_, and is one of the characteristic species of this region.
It is plentiful in Fuegia and on the northern shores of the Straits of
Magellan. Sir Joseph Hooker, in the “Flora Antarctica,” remarks that
this is the nearest approach to a tree that is made by the meagre
native vegetation of the Falkland Islands.


My attention had already been directed at Eden Harbour to the peculiar
coniferous plants of this region, and I here found the same species
in better condition. The most conspicuous, a small tree with stiff
pointed leaves somewhat like an araucaria, here produced abundant
fruit, which showed it to be a _Podocarpus_ (_P. nubigena_ of Lindley).
Another shrub of the same family, but very different in appearance,
is a species of _Libocedrus_, allied to the cypress of the Old World,
which tolerates even the inclement climate of Hermite Island, near Cape
Horn. The distribution of the various species of this genus is not a
little perplexing to the botanical geographer. This and another species
inhabit the west side of South America, two are found in New Zealand,
one in the island of New Caledonia, one is peculiar to Southern China,
and one to Japan, while an eighth species belongs to California. The
most probable supposition is that the home of the common ancestor of
the genus was in the circumpolar lands of the Antarctic Circle at a
remote period when that region enjoyed a temperate climate; but the
processes by which descendants from that stock reached such remote
parts of the earth are not easily conjectured.

It was nearly dark when the unsuccessful sportsmen returned with the
boat, and but for the ship’s lights we should have scarcely been able
to make out her position. Some of the many stories of seamen cast
away in this inclement region came into my mind during the short
half-hour of our return, and, in the presence of the actual scenes
and conditions, my impressions assumed a vividness that they had never
acquired when “living at home at ease.”

In the evening I observed that the barometer had fallen considerably
from the usually high point at which it stood up to the 6th, and
throughout the night and the following day (June 8) it varied little
from 29·9 inches. When we came on deck on the morning of the 8th,
the uniform remark of the passengers was, “What a warm day!” We had
become used to a temperature of about 40°, and a rise of 5° Fahr.
gave the impression of a complete change of climate. It is curious
how completely relative are the impressions of heat and cold on the
human body, and how difficult it is, even for persons accustomed to
compare their sensations with the instrument, to form a moderately
good estimate of the actual temperature. We paid dearly, however, for
any bodily comfort gained from the comparative warmth in the thick
weather that prevailed during most of the day. We had some momentary
views of grand scenery, but, as on the preceding day, these were
fleeting, and I failed to carry away any definite pictures. It would
appear that in such weather the navigation amid such a complete maze
of islands and channels must be nearly impossible, but the various
surveying-expeditions have placed landmarks, in the shape of wooden
posts and crosses, that suffice to the practised eyes of seamen.

About ten a.m. we reached the end of the Sarmiento Channel, opposite to
which the comparatively broad opening of Lord Nelson Strait, between
Hanover Island and Queen Adelaide Island, leads westward to the
Pacific, and before long entered on the third stage of our voyage,
which is known as Smyth’s Channel. This name is used collectively for
the labyrinth of passages lying among the smaller islands that fill the
space between Queen Adelaide Island and the mainland of South-western
Patagonia; but to distinguish the openings between separate islands
various names have been given, with which no one not a navigator need
burthen his memory. Perhaps the thick weather may have been the cause,
but we all noticed the comparative rarity of all appearance of animal
life on this and the previous day. A large whale passing near the
ship gave the only occasion for a little momentary excitement. As we
ran southward, and were daily approaching the winter solstice, the
successive days became sensibly shorter, and it was already nearly dark
when, soon after four p.m., we cast anchor in an opening between two
low islands which is known as Mayne Channel.


It was impossible not to experience a sense of depression at the
persistence of such unfriendly weather during the brief period of
passing through a region of such exceptional interest, an opportunity,
if once lost, never to be recovered. With corresponding eagerness the
hope held out by a steady rise of the barometer was greeted, especially
when I found that this continued up to ten p.m., and amounted since
morning to a quarter of an inch. We were under way some time before
daylight on June 9, and great was my delight when, going on deck, I
found a cloudless sky and the Southern Cross standing high in the

It was a morning never to be forgotten. We rapidly made our way from
amid the maze of smaller islands, and glided over the smooth water
into a broad channel commanding a wide horizon, bounded a panorama of
unique character. As the stars faded and daylight stole over the scene,
fresh features of strangeness and beauty at each successive moment
came into view, until at last the full glory of sunshine struck the
highest point of Queen Adelaide Island, and a few moments later crowned
the glistening summits of all the eminences that circled around. The
mountainous outline of Queen Adelaide Island, on the right hand, which
anywhere else would fix attention, was somewhat dwarfed by the superior
attractions of the other objects in view. We had reached the point
where Smyth’s Channel widens out into the western end of the Straits
of Magellan, and right in front of us rose the fantastic outline of
the Land of Desolation, as the early navigators styled the shores that
bound the southern entrance to the Straits; and as we advanced it was
possible to follow every detail of the outline, even to the bold summit
of Cape Pillar, forty miles away to the westward. Marking as it does
the entrance to the Straits from the South Pacific, that headland has
drawn to it many an anxious gaze since steam navigation has made the
passage of the Straits easy and safe, and thus avoids the hardship and
delay of the inclement voyage round Cape Horn.

The coast nearest to us was at least as attractive as any other part
of the panorama. The southern extremity of the continent is a strange
medley of mountain and salt water, which can be explained only by the
irregular action of elevatory forces not following a definite line
of direction. Several of the narrow sounds that penetrate the coast
are spread out inland into large salt-water lakes, and all the shores
along which we coasted between Smyth’s Channel and Sandy Point belong
to peninsulas projecting between fifty and one hundred miles from the
continuous mainland of Patagonia. The outline is strangely varied. Bold
snow-covered peaks alternate with lower rocky shores, and are divided
by channels of dark blue water penetrating to an unknown distance into
the interior. From amidst the higher summits flowed several large
ice-streams, appearing, even from a distance, to be traversed by broad
crevasses. I did not see any of these glaciers actually reach the
sea, but one, whose lower end was masked by a projecting forest-clad
headland, must have approached very near to the beach.


I have called the scene unique, and, in truth, I believe that nothing
like it is to be found elsewhere in the world. The distant picture
showing against the sky under the low rays of the winter sun is
probably to be matched by some that arctic navigators bear in their
memory; but here, below the zone of snow and ice, we had the striking
contrast of shores covered by dense forest and clothed with luxuriant
vegetation. Not much snow can have fallen, as up to a height of about
twelve hundred feet above the sea, as far as the forest prevails, none
met the eye. On the Norwegian coast, where one might be tempted to
look for winter scenes somewhat of the same character, the forest is
composed of coniferous trees, which have a very different aspect, and
at the corresponding season they are, I imagine, usually so laden with
snow that they can give little relief to the eye.

I was struck by the fact that, although we had travelled southward five
and a half degrees of latitude (nearly four hundred English miles)
since entering the Gulf of Peñas, the upper limit of the forest belt
was so little depressed. I could not estimate the average depression at
more than from two to three hundred feet.

As we advanced into the main channel, and were drawing near to the
headland of Cape Tamar, where the Straits of Magellan are narrowed
between that and the opposite coast of the Land of Desolation, we
noticed that what seemed from a distance to be a mere film of vapour
lying on the surface of the sea grew gradually thicker, rose to a
height of about one hundred feet, and quite abruptly, in the space of
two or three ship’s lengths, we lost the bright sky and the wonderful
panorama, and were plunged in a fog that lasted through the greater
part of the afternoon. The one constant characteristic of the climate
of this region is its liability at all seasons to frequent and abrupt
change, especially by day. It is, as I learned, a rare event when a day
passes without one or two, or even more frequent, changes of the wind,
bringing corresponding changes of temperature, rain, or snow, or clear
sky; but, as a rule, the weather is less inconstant in winter than
at other seasons. A short experience makes it easy to understand the
extreme difficulty of navigation in the Straits for sailing ships, and
the expediency of preferring the less inviting course of rounding Cape


Several times during the day the fog cleared away for a while, and
gave us grand views of the coast on either hand. That of the Land of
Desolation especially attracted my attention. Captain Willsen pointed
out to me, as we stood on the bridge, to which I had free access,
the opening of a narrow sound which has lately been ascertained
to penetrate entirely through what used to be considered a single
island. The expressive name must, indeed, be abandoned, for, if I am
not mistaken, the Land of Desolation of our maps is already known to
consist of three, and may possibly form many more islands, divided from
each other by very narrow channels. Our cautious commander resolved
once again to anchor for the night, and selected for the purpose Borya
Bay, a small sheltered cove some distance east of Port Gallant, a
harbour often visited by the English surveying-expeditions. Daylight
had departed when, about half-past five, we reached our anchorage; but
the sky was again quite clear, and we enjoyed the weird effects of
moonlight illumination. The scenery is very grand, and was more wintry
in aspect than at any other point in our voyage. A mountain at the head
of the cove rose steeply to a height of at least two thousand feet,
and cast a dark shadow over the ship as we lay very near the shore.
The shores were begirt with the usual belt of forest, but this did
not extend far, and the declivities all around were clad with snow,
which lay rather deep. It appeared to me that a rather large glacier
descended to within a few hundred feet of the shore, but, seen by the
imperfect light, I felt uncertain as to the fact. Since entering the
Straits, I had noticed that on the steeper slopes facing the south,
where the surface can receive but little sunshine at any season, the
forest ascends but a short distance above the sea-level. Above that
limit in such situations I observed only a scanty covering of bushes,
and higher up the surface at this season appeared quite bare.

As Borya Bay is one of the customary haunts of the Fuegians, the
steam-whistle was sounded on our arrival as an invitation to any
natives who might be encamped there. This always suffices to attract
them, with the hope of being able to gratify their universal craving
for tobacco. The appeal was not answered, as the people were doubtless
on the outer coasts, and we were not destined to see anything of the
most miserable of all the races of man.

As the weather remained bright, the anchor was raised soon after
midnight, and by one a.m. we were on our way, steering south-east, to
round the southern extremity of the mainland of America. Awaking to the
disappointment of having missed a view of one of the most interesting
portions of the Straits, I hurried on deck, and found a new change in
the aspect of the skies. The night had been cold, with a sharp frost;
but in the morning, soon after daybreak, the air felt quite warm,
with the thermometer marking 39° Fahr. A northerly breeze had set in,
and as an inevitable result brought thick weather. I again noticed,
however, that the barometer on these coasts seems to be very slightly
affected by changes in the wind’s direction. It stood last night at
30·16 inches, and on the morning of the 10th, with a complete change of
weather, had fallen only eight-hundredths of an inch.


The southern end of the continent is shaped like a broad wedge, whose
apex is Cape Froward, laying in south latitude 53° 54′. We passed it
early in the forenoon, giving the headland, which we saw dimly to the
north, a broad berth, so that we about touched the 54th parallel. If
we compare this with the climate of places in about the same latitude,
as, for instance, with that of the Isle of Man, we are apt to consider
the climate as severe; but we habitually forget how far the condition
of Western Europe is affected by exceptional circumstances; and if
we look elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, taking, for instance,
the Labrador coast, the south of Kamschatka, or even the coast of
British Columbia, we must admit that the Straits of Magellan afford no
confirmation to the prevalent ideas respecting the greater cold of the
climate of the southern hemisphere.

Soon after this turning-point of the voyage the sky partially cleared
to the southward, and we were fortunate enough to enjoy one of the most
impressive scenes that my memory has recorded. The broad sound that
divides Clarence Island from the main island of Tierra del Fuego lay
open before us, flanked on either hand by lofty snow-clad summits. In
the background, set as in a frame, rose the magnificent peak of Mount
Sarmiento, the Matterhorn of this region, springing, as it appeared,
from the shore to a height of seven thousand feet.[34] Sole sovereign
of these antarctic solitudes, I know of no other peak that impresses
the mind so deeply with the sense of wonder and awe. As seen from the
north, the eastern and western faces are almost equally precipitous,
and the broad top is jagged by sharp teeth, of which the two outermost,
one to the east, the other to the west, present summits of apparently
equal height. At a distance of about twenty-five miles the whole mass
seemed to be coated with snow and ice, save where some sharp ridges and
teeth of black rock stood out against the sky. I remained for some time
utterly engrossed by the marvellous spectacle, and at last bethought
myself of endeavouring to secure at least an outline of the scene;
but before I could fetch a sketch-book, a fresh change in the weather
partly obscured, and, a few minutes later, finally concealed from my
eyes a picture that remains vividly impressed on my memory.

It was impossible not to speculate on the origin and past history of
this remarkable peak. Admitting that there is evidence to show that
the larger part of the rocks of this region are of volcanic origin, it
appeared to me evident not only that Mount Sarmiento is not a volcanic
cone, but that the rock of which it is composed is not of volcanic
origin. Whether its real form be that of a tower, or that of a ridge
with precipitous sides seen in profile, no volcanic rocks elsewhere in
the world can retain slopes so nearly approaching to the vertical. It
is, I believe, a portion of the original rock skeleton that formed the
axis of the Andean chain during the long ages that preceded the great
volcanic outbursts that have covered over the framework of the western
side of South America. Like most peaks of a similar form, I am disposed
to believe that in the course of gradual upheaval the flanks have been
carved by marine action to the nearly vertical form which impresses
the beholder. Although snow-covered mountains suffer a certain limited
amount of denudation in the channels through which glaciers flow, there
is reason to hold that they are far less subject to degradation than
those which are not protected from the main agencies that wear away
rocky surfaces. It is by alternations of temperature, by frost, and the
action of running water, that rocks are rapidly eaten away, and from
these a snow-covered mountain is to a great extent secured.


A few miles east of Cape Froward the coast of the mainland trends
nearly due north for a distance of fully sixty miles, and a marked
change is perceived in the aspect of the shores. Instead of the bold
outlines to which our eyes had become accustomed, the coastline lay
low, fringed with forest on the side of the mainland, which now lay
to our west, and on the other hand showing bare flats, here and there
flecked with fresh snow. The land on that side at first belonged to
Dawson Island; but later in the day, as we approached our destination,
the dreary flats formed part of Northern Tierra del Fuego.


The weather was thick as we passed Port Famine, and there was little
to attract attention until we drew near to Sandy Point, a place that
was to me the more interesting as I intended to make it my home until
the arrival of the next English steamer. The belt of forest rose over
low swelling hills near the sea, and in the distance a loftier range,
from two to three thousand feet in height, showed a nearly horizontal
line against the cloudy sky. As we approached, several structures of
painted wood became visible, and for the first time since we left
Lota we beheld human dwellings. Sandy Point, known to the natives of
South America by the equivalent name Punta Arenas, is certainly one
of the most isolated of inhabited spots to be found in the world.
Since the scramble for Africa has set in, it is, I suppose, only on
the Australian coast that one would find any settlement so far removed
from neighbours or rivals. On the side of Chili the nearest permanent
habitations are in the island of Chiloe, fully seven hundred miles
distant in a straight line, and considerably farther by the only
practicable route. On the side of Argentaria there is a miserable
attempt at a settlement at the mouth of the river Santa Cruz, where the
Argentine Government has thought it expedient to hoist their flag in
order to assert the rights of sovereignty of the Confederation over the
dreary wastes of South-eastern Patagonia. This was described to me as a
group of half a dozen wooden sheds, where a few disconsolate soldiers
spend a weary time of exile from the genial climate of Buenos Ayres.
By the sea route it is about four hundred miles from Sandy Point, but
no direct communication between the two places is kept up. For all
practical purposes, the nearest civilized neighbours to Sandy Point
are the English colonists in the Falkland Islands, where, in spite of
inhospitable soil and climate, some of our countrymen have managed
to attain to tolerable prosperity, chiefly by sheep-farming. But
with an interval of nearly five hundred miles of stormy ocean mutual
intercourse is neither easy nor frequent.


  Arrival at Sandy Point--Difficulties as to lodging--Story of the
      mutiny--Patagonian ladies--Agreeable society in the Straits
      of Magellan--Winter aspect of the flora--Patagonians and
      Fuegians--Habits of the South American ostrich--Waiting
      for the steamer--Departure--Climate of the Straits and of
      the southern hemisphere--Voyage to Monte Video--Saturnalia
      of children--City of Monte Video--Signor Bartolomeo Bossi;
      his explorations--Neighbourhood of the city--Uruguayan
      politics--River steamer--Excursion to Paisandu--Voyage
      on the Uruguay--Use of the telephone--Excursion to the
      camp--Aspect of the flora--Arrival at Buenos Ayres--Industrial
      Exhibition--Argentine forests--The cathedral of Buenos
      Ayres--Excursion to La Boca--Argentaria as a field for emigration.

The time had come for parting with my genial fellow-traveller, Mr.
H----, with our excellent captain, and with the officers of the
_Rhamses_, to all of whom I felt indebted for friendly aid in my
pursuits; and on entering the boat that was to take me ashore I was
introduced to the captain of the port, an important official of German
origin. Of his various excellent qualities, the only one that I at
first detected was a remarkable gift of taciturnity, rarely interrupted
by a single monosyllable. I was aware that accommodation for strangers
at Sandy Point is extremely limited, but I consoled myself with a
belief that, if it came to the worst, the letter which I carried to
the governor from the minister for foreign affairs at Santiago would
help me through any preliminary difficulties. On reaching the shore, my
luggage was without further question carried to a house close by, which
is at this place the sole representative of a hotel. The accommodation
available for strangers consists of a single room of fair dimensions,
and this, as I soon learned, was occupied by a stranger. A glance at
the multitudinous objects scattered about made me feel sure that the
visitor must be a brother naturalist, but did not help me to solve
the immediate difficulty. As I stood at the entrance, a dark-haired
person, speaking pretty good English, proposed to take me to the house
of the English vice-consul, and in his company I had the first view of
the settlement of Sandy Point. As the ground rises very gently from
the beach, few houses are seen from the sea, and the place is not so
inconsiderable as it at first appears. Though rather to be counted as
a village than as a town, it has the essential privilege of a Spanish
city in the possession of a _plaza_, not yet quite surrounded by
houses. The buildings are small, and nearly all built of wood painted


The next piece of information received was unfavourable to my
prospects. An Argentine corvette had reached Sandy Point a few days
before, and the vice-consul had been invited, along with the governor
and other notabilities, to a luncheon, which was likely to last for
some time. I was fortunately provided with a note of introduction
to Dr. Fenton, the medical officer of the settlement, which I now
proceeded to deliver. Being somewhat unwell, he had not joined the
marine entertainment, and I was at once cordially received. Not many
minutes were needed to discover in my host a fellow-countryman, one
of a family in the county of Sligo, with which I had some former
acquaintance. Possessing in large measure the national virtue of
hospitality, Dr. Fenton might have perhaps been satisfied with even a
slighter claim; but, as it was, I from that time continued during my
stay to receive from him the utmost kindness and attention. The first
short conversation made me much better acquainted with the history of
the settlement than I was before my arrival.

In 1843 the Chilian Government decided on establishing a penal
settlement in the Straits of Magellan, and selected for its position
Port Famine, which had been frequently visited by early navigators.
After a few years’ experience that place was abandoned, and the
settlement was transferred to Sandy Point. This was partly preferred on
account of a deposit of lignite of inferior quality, which lies little
more than a mile from the shore. A considerable number of convicts were
maintained at the station, and as there was little risk of escape they
were allowed considerable liberty. At length, in 1877, the injudicious
severity of the governor of that day provoked a revolt among the
convicts. They speedily overcame the keepers, and the officials and
peaceable inhabitants had no resource left but to fly to the forest.
The convicts proceeded to set fire to the houses. Dr. Fenton lost
his house, furniture, and books, and, in addition, the record of
ten years’ meteorological observations. By a fortunate accident, a
Chilian war-vessel reached Sandy Point just when disorder was at its
height; the insurgents were speedily overpowered, and several of the
ringleaders executed. The weather was unusually mild, and the refugees,
amongst whom were many ladies and young children, suffered less than
might have been expected in such a climate. Nearly all the houses seen
by me had been hastily erected since the outbreak, and, as was natural,
were on a scale barely sufficing for the wants of the inmates.


I fully understood that no amount of hospitable intentions could
enable Dr. Fenton to give me quarters in his house, and he assured me
that the governor, Don Francisco Sampayo, was no less restricted as
to accommodation. One resource, however, seemed available: the German
consul, Herr Meidell, had returned for a visit to Europe, and it was
thought that, on application to his partner, a room might certainly be
obtained in his house. My dark-haired friend, who had reappeared on the
scene, and who turned out to be a native of Gibraltar, kindly undertook
to arrange the matter, and, after an early dinner at Dr. Fenton’s
hospitable table, I proceeded with him to present my letter to the
governor. The great man had not yet returned to shore, but I made the
acquaintance of his wife, a delicate Peruvian lady, who sat, wrapped
in a woollen shawl, in a room without a fire, of which the temperature
must have been about 45° Fahr. On leaving the governor’s house, we
again encountered my envoy, whose countenance at once proclaimed that
he had failed in his mission. Mr. Meidell, being a cautious man, had
locked up most of his furniture and household effects before going to
Europe, and had left strict injunctions that no one was to enter the
part of his house used as a private dwelling. As we stood consulting
about further proceedings, a tall figure approached, and I learned that
it belonged to the stranger who occupied the solitary room available
for visitors to Sandy Point.

I speedily made the acquaintance of Signor Vinciguerra, one of the
group of energetic young Italian naturalists whose head-quarters are at
Genoa. He belonged to the expedition commanded by Lieutenant Bove of
the Italian navy, and had remained at Sandy Point to investigate the
zoology of the neighbouring coast, while his companions proceeded to
Staten Island, or Isla de los Estados, at the eastern extremity of the
Fuegian Archipelago. Community of pursuits and several mutual friends
at once cemented cordial relations, and Signor Vinciguerra kindly
undertook to make room for me in his rather restricted quarters. We
proceeded to the house close by the landing-place, and I was in the act
of arranging the matter with the landlord, when the British vice-consul
appeared. He had overcome the scruples of Mr. Meidell’s partner, a
mattress and some coverings had been found, a room was at my disposal,
with a bed on the floor, and the lodging difficulty was solved.

Not without some regret at being separated from an agreeable companion,
I accepted the offered quarters, and had the needful portion of my
luggage carried to my temporary home. As the sun set before four
o’clock, it was already dark before I was installed in my new quarters,
and the evening was spent under the hospitable roof of Dr. Fenton, from
whom I received much interesting information as to the region which
he has made his home, and the indigenous population. On my way to his
house I saw the first specimens of the Patagonian Indians, who at this
season frequent the settlement to dispose of skins, chiefly _guanaco_
and _rhea_, and indulge in their ruling passion for ardent spirits. Two
ladies of large and stout build, attired in shabby and torn European
dress, and both far gone in intoxication, were standing at a door of
a shop or store, and indulging in loud talk for the entertainment of
a circle of bystanders. The language was, I presume, their native
dialect, with here and there a word of Spanish or English, and the
subject seemed to be what with us would be called chaff, as their
remarks elicited frequent peals of laughter. I was suddenly reminded of
a drunken Irish basket-woman whose freaks had been the cause of mingled
alarm and amusement in my early childhood.


During the day the streets of Punta Arenas were deep in mud, but as I
went home at night, the sky was cloudless, a sharp frost had set in,
and the mud was hard frozen. I had not before enjoyed so fine a view of
the southern heavens. The cross was brilliant, nearly in the zenith,
and I made out clearly the dark starless spaces that have been named
the coal-sacks.

I was on foot before daylight on the 11th of June. The benevolent
German who managed Mr. Meidell’s establishment sent up a cup of hot
coffee, and a brazier with charcoal, which was grievously wanted to dry
my plant-paper. The sky was still clear, and the sun, rising blood-red
over the flat shores of Tierra del Fuego on the opposite side of the
Straits, was a striking spectacle. I had arranged overnight to take
with me a boy having some knowledge of the neighbourhood, and was just
starting for a walk when I met the governor, who at this early hour
was on his way to call upon me. After a short conversation with this
courteous gentleman, and accepting an invitation to dine at his house,
I pursued my course in the direction of the now disused coal mine. For
about half a mile I followed the tramway which was erected some years
ago to carry the coal to the port. It runs along the low ground between
the hills and the shore, and then enters a little flat-bottomed valley
between the hills. Heavy rain had recently fallen, and the flat had
been flooded, but the surface was now frozen over. Before long we found
the tramway impracticable; it had been allowed to fall to decay, and,
being supported on trestles, the gaps were inconveniently frequent. I
then attempted to continue my walk over the flat, and found the ice in
some places strong enough to bear my weight, but it frequently gave
way, and I soon got tired of splashing through the surface into the
ice-cold water, and resolved to betake myself to the adjoining hills.
The weather showed itself as changeable on this day as it usually is
in this singular climate. For about half an hour the sky was clear and
the sun so warm that I could not bear an overcoat. Then a breeze sprung
up from the north-west, the sky was soon covered, and some rain fell;
again the sky cleared, and, if I remember right, four or five similar
changes occurred before nightfall.


At this season I could not expect to see much of the vegetation of the
country, but I found rather more than I expected. Two _Compositæ_, both
evergreen shrubs, were abundantly clothed with fruit, and among other
characteristic forms I collected two species of _Acæna_, a genus widely
spread through the southern hemisphere, allied to, but very distinct
from, our common _Alchemilla_. From its ancestral home in south polar
lands, many descendants have reached South America, and some of these
have followed the Andean chain, and thus got to Mexico and California.
From the same stock we find representatives in New Zealand, Australia,
Tristan d’Acunha, and South Africa, while one has travelled so far
as the Sandwich Islands. The seeds are provided with hooked beaks,
which may have attached themselves to the plumage of oceanic birds,
and a single successful transport in the course of many ages may have
introduced the parent of the existing species to new regions of the
earth. It was not without interest to find two cosmopolitan weeds, our
common shepherd’s purse and chickweed, both flowering in winter in this
remote part of the world.

From the summit of the hill I enjoyed a good view of the flat-topped
range--apparently from 2500 to 3000 feet in height--that separates the
Straits of Magellan from Otway Water. This is a landlocked basin nearly
fifty miles long and half as wide, connected with the sea by a narrow
sound that opens on the western side of the Straits near Port Gallant.
The lower slopes of the intervening range are covered with forest, and
the summit apparently bare, but in this season covered with snow. If
the extreme difficulty of penetrating the forests were not well known,
it would be a matter of surprise that no one has ever crossed the
range, and that the eastern shores of Otway Water, not thirty miles
distant from Punta Arenas, are yet unexplored.

In returning to Punta Arenas I passed through the remains of the burnt
forest that once extended close to the houses. In the summer of 1873,
either by design or accident, fire seized the forest, composed of large
trees of the antarctic beech, and raged so furiously for a time as to
threaten destruction to the entire place. After the first efforts at
averting the immediate danger, no further interference was attempted,
and I was assured that the conflagration was not entirely exhausted
until the ensuing winter, nearly six months after it commenced. I
passed the charred remains of hundreds of thick stumps, many of them
over three feet in diameter, but I was surprised to find several
trees much too large to have grown up since the fire, which in some
unexplained way escaped destruction. Unlike most of the beeches of the
southern hemisphere, this has deciduous leaves, so that the branches
were bare; but many of them were laden with the curious parasite,
_Myzodendron punctulatum_, the structure of which plant and its allies
was long ago admirably illustrated by Sir Joseph Hooker.[35]


The evening of this day was very agreeably spent at the house of the
governor, who had invited to his table Commander Pietrabona and two
officers of the Argentine corvette, Cabo de Ornos, Signor Vinciguerra,
the captain of the port, and two or three of the principal inhabitants.
One of the favourable features by which a stranger is impressed in
Chili is the comparative moderation with which political conflicts are
conducted. In the other South American republics a conspicuous party
leader is marked by the opposite party for relentless proscription, and
not rarely for assassination. In Chili political offences are condoned.
Don Francisco Sampayo, who is a courteous and accomplished gentleman,
had been mixed up in the same abortive movements in which Don B. Vicuña
Mackenna was concerned, and had with that gentleman undergone a term of
exile, but was subsequently appointed by his political opponents to the
government of this settlement.

The government house was unpretending, and could not by any stretch of
language be called luxurious. Two good reception-rooms and the bedrooms
of the family, all on the ground floor, opened into a small court
exposed to rain and snow. The reception-rooms had fireplaces, but these
were used only in the evenings, and it was not surprising that the
governor’s wife, brought up in the tepid climate of Peru, seemed unable
to resist the inclemency of this region. Their children, however, were
vigorous and thriving, reminding one more of English boys and girls
than any I had seen in South America. The most interesting figure in
the family group was that of the mother of Madame Sampayo, an elderly
lady, with the remains of remarkable beauty, and an unusual combination
of dignity and grace with lively, almost playful, conversation. The
removal to this inhospitable shore had not quenched her activity, and
she employed her leisure in devising pretty ornaments from seaweeds,
shells, and other natural productions of the place.

The Chilian and Argentine Republics concluded, in the year before
my visit, a convention to regulate their rival pretensions to the
possession of the territory on both sides of the Straits of Magellan,
which at one time threatened to engage the two states in war for a
worthless object. The new boundary-line is drawn along the middle of
the peninsula, ending in Cape Virgenes at the eastern entrance of
the Straits, thus leaving to Chili the whole of the northern shores.
Opposite to Cape Virgenes is a headland named Cape Espiritu Santo on
the main island of Tierra del Fuego. The boundary runs due south from
that point, cutting the island into two nearly equal parts, of which
the eastern half, along with Staten Island, is assigned to Argentaria.
As I understood from the conversation at dinner, Commander Pietrabona
had obtained from his government a grant or lease of Staten Island, but
it seems very doubtful whether any profit can be derived from an island
lying nearly three degrees further south than the Falklands, and fully
exposed to the antarctic current.

Amongst the various nationalities that met on this evening, the
representative of Germany, the captain of the port, was perhaps the
most typical. He is believed to have a more complete and accurate
knowledge of the coasts of the Straits of Magellan and of the Channels
of Patagonia than any other living man. The conversation was animated,
and not seldom turned on the topography of this region; but the
worthy Teuton sat obstinately silent, or, when directly appealed to,
generally answered by a single monosyllable of assent or negation. A
superficial observer would have set this down as evidence of a surly
or misanthropic disposition, but in truth this worthy man is noted for
good nature and a ready disposition to oblige his neighbours. Having
accepted the governor’s offer of a horse for an excursion on the
following day, I departed with the other guests, and once again enjoyed
the view of the southern heavens undefiled by a single cloud, and found
the mud of the streets frozen hard.

[_A WET DAY._]

The dawn of June 12 was again cloudless, and the circle of the red sun,
distorted by refraction, rose over the flats of Tierra del Fuego. But
in less than a quarter of an hour heavy leaden clouds gathered from all
sides and portended a stormy day. I felt rather unwell, and resolved to
postpone my intended excursion to the following day. After the needful
care given to my plant-collections, I repaired to the hospitable
sitting-room of Dr. Fenton, which was, I believe, the only moderately
warm spot at Punta Arenas, and passed the day in his company, or that
of Mrs. Fenton and their pretty and intelligent children. The heavy
rain which persisted nearly all day diminished my regret at having to
remain indoors. I made a few notes of the varied information which
I obtained from a gentleman who has had unusual opportunities for
acquiring knowledge, and who, although not a professed naturalist,
appears to be an accurate observer.

The Patagonian Indians who frequent Punta Arenas to dispose of skins
appear to be rapidly diminishing in numbers, and one good observer
believes that they are now to be counted rather by hundreds than by
thousands. The chief cause is doubtless the destructive effect of
ardent spirits. They commonly expend nearly everything they gain in
drink, but after recovering from a fit of beastly intoxication they
usually invest whatever money remains in English biscuits, which they
carry off to the interior. Here, as well as at many other places in
South America, I heard curious stories showing the extraordinary
estimation in which Messrs. Huntley and Palmer are held by the native
population. Among the curious customs of these Indians, Dr. Fenton told
me that as soon as a child is born one or more horses are assigned
to it as property, and if the child should die, as they often do,
prematurely, the horses are killed. He further says that a childless
Indian not rarely adopts a dog, the ceremony being marked by assigning
horses to the dog as his property, and that, as in the case of the
human child, at the dog’s death the horses are killed.

Agreeing with most of those who have observed the Fuegians in their
native home, Dr. Fenton is sceptical as to the possibility of raising
that hapless tribe above their present condition. All honour is due to
the devoted men who have laboured at the mission station at Ushuaia
in the Beagle Channel, and it may be that some partial success has
been obtained with children taken at an early age. But, looking around
at the multiplied needs of so many other less degraded branches of
our race, one is tempted to believe that such noble efforts might
more usefully be bestowed elsewhere. Dr. Fenton thinks that the fact,
which appears to be well attested, that Fuegians, in a rough sea, when
in danger in their frail canoes, have been known to throw an infant
overboard, is evidence that they believe in spirits, the child being
offered to appease the wrath of supernatural powers. I confess that I
place little reliance on the conclusions of civilized men as to the
ideas or motives of savage races in a condition so low that we have the
most imperfect means of communicating with them.


I was not able to ascertain positively whether the species of _rhea_,
or South American ostrich, found near the Straits of Magellan, is
exclusively the smaller species (_Rhea Darwinii_), but I believe there
is no doubt that the larger bird does not range so far as Southern
Patagonia. Dr. Fenton has had frequent opportunities for observing the
habits of the bird. He finds that the nests are constructed by the
female birds, three or four of these joining for the purpose. One of
them deposits a single egg in a hollow place, and over this the nest is
built. Each of the females deposits several eggs in the nest, and then
wanders away, the male bird sitting on the nest till the young birds
are hatched. When this happens the parent clears away the nest, breaks
up the egg which lay beneath it, and gives it to the young birds for
food. The flesh is described as delicious, somewhat intermediate in
flavour between hare and grouse.

Dr. Fenton had commenced the trial of an experiment which, if
successful, may hereafter attract settlers to the eastern shores of
the Straits of Magellan. The appearance of the country had already
shown to me that the climate is much drier here than on the western
side of Cape Froward, and I believe that the range above spoken of,
which divides this coast from Otway Water, is about the eastern limit
of the extension of the zone of continuous forests that cover all but
the higher levels of Western Patagonia. Between Peckett Harbour, about
forty miles north of Punta Arenas, and the Atlantic coast the country
is open and produces an abundance of coarse herbage. Sheep are known to
thrive in the Falkland Islands, about the same latitude, and Dr. Fenton
had recently procured from that place a flock which he had established
in the neighbourhood of Peckett Harbour.

I was warned that the English steamer might possibly arrive in the
afternoon of June 13, though more probably on the following day, so
that it was expedient to start early on the short excursion which I
proposed to make along the coast to the north of Punta Arenas. The
horses were ready soon after sunrise, and the governor’s secretary
was good enough to accompany me. After fording the stream which flows
by the settlement, we for some distance followed the sandy beach,
dismounting here and there to examine the vegetation. Few plants could
at this season be found in a state in which they could be certainly
identified, but there was quite enough to reward a naturalist. It
was very interesting to find here several cosmopolitan species whose
diffusion cannot, I think, be set down to the agency of man. Of these
I may reckon _Plantago maritima_, and a slight variety of our common
sea-pink (_Armeria maritima_, var. _andina_). To these I am disposed
to add _Rumex acetosella_, which I found creeping in the sand far
from the settlement, and a form of the common dandelion (_Taraxacum
lævigatum_ of botanists). Along with these were several representatives
of the antarctic flora--a _Colobanthus_, three species of _Acæna_,
a _Gunnera_, an _Ourisia_, and several others. Of bushes the most
conspicuous are the berberries, of which I found three species. One of
these, which I had already seen in the Channels, has leaves like those
of a holly, and is appropriately named _Berberis ilicifolia_. Another,
which is very common here (_Berberis buxifolia_), has sweet berries,
pleasant to the taste; and the third (_B. empetrifolia_) is a dwarf
bush, scarcely a foot high, which seems to be confined to the sandy
shore. A taller shrub, which I had seen in the Channels as well as in
this neighbourhood (_Maytenus Magellanica_ of botanists), is called
_Leña dura_, and is valued for the hardness of the wood, useful for
many small articles. The genus extends throughout South America, but
most of the species inhabit tropical Brazil, and we may look on this as
the solitary representative of the tropical flora which has reached the
southern extremity of the continent.


Having collected whatever was to be found close to the shore, I
proposed to strike inland towards the base of the low hills. The
country near was a dead flat, and seemed to offer no obstacle. After
riding for about a mile over dry ground, we gradually found ourselves
in the midst of shallow pools of water, now frozen over. As we
advanced progress became more and more difficult. The heavy rain of
the preceding day had partially melted the ice. In some places it was
strong enough to bear the horses; but it constantly broke under their
feet, and they became restive, very naturally objecting to this mode
of travelling. After a while, to my surprise, we struck upon a cart
track. This, as I soon saw, led to two or three houses inhabited by
a few Swiss settlers, who endeavoured to make a living by raising
some vegetables for Punta Arenas. The soil appeared to be rich: in
this climate few plants can mature fruit or seed, but the more hardy
European vegetables thrive sufficiently. Our difficulties were by no
means at an end. The cart track was a mass of half-frozen mud, with
holes fully two feet deep, into which the horses plunged, until at
last it was not easy to persuade them to move in any direction. I
dismounted and ascended a hillock some eighty feet above the plain,
but on all sides could see no issue from the maze of shallow frozen
pools. With some trouble we reached one of the houses, but, in answer
to our inquiries, were told that they knew of no better way to Punta
Arenas than by the cart track. Apprehending the arrival of the Pacific
Company’s steamer, and not wishing to remain another fortnight in this
remote region, I resolved to return as best we could, and, as always
happens, experience enabled both horses and riders to avoid the worst
places, so that we got through better than we had expected.

Having made all ready for the possible arrival of the steamer, whose
stay is usually very short, I again enjoyed the hospitality of
the governor, and once more found myself in the agreeable society
of Signor Vinciguerra. One of the many laudable characteristics of
Chilian society, in striking contrast with their kinsmen in Spain,
is the genuine anxiety commonly shown for the education of the
rising generation. It is, indeed, rather amusing to note the tone of
contemptuous pity with which the Chilians of pure Spanish descent speak
of their European cousins, who are usually denominated “los Gotos.” The
governor’s eldest son had been sent to Germany to pursue his studies,
and the services of a young German, who apparently had got into some
scrape connected with politics in his own country, had been secured
to conduct the education of the younger children. Before dinner the
preceptor was engaged in guiding the fingers of one child upon an old
pianoforte, and immediately after dinner lessons were resumed with the
other children.


In the course of the evening we had a curious illustration of the
difficulty of speaking correctly two closely allied dialects.
Conversing in Italian with Signor Vinciguerra, a laugh was raised
against me for introducing a Spanish word into a sentence; but this was
redoubled when, a few minutes later, my Italian friend did exactly the
same thing.

Thought is inextricably linked with the impressions derived from the
senses, which, excepting with the deaf and dumb, are ordinarily based
upon language; and whenever a man speaks with even moderate fluency the
fact implies that he thinks in that language. The effort of changing
from one language to that of another is that of changing, so to say,
the channel through which thought runs. When they are sufficiently
different there is no difficulty in maintaining thought within the
assigned channel; but when the languages, or dialects, are nearly
alike, it is much more difficult to maintain the intended course. It
seems to me, indeed, that there is a link of association not only
between the idea and the word, but also with the sound of the word.
There is comparatively little difficulty in passing from one language
to another, though etymologically near akin, when the prevailing sounds
are different. Thus, although Portuguese and Spanish are so nearly
allied, it is easier to pass from one to the other than from Spanish
to Italian, because the phonetic differences are greater in the former

The night passed without disturbance, though I had made all ready in
case of being summoned to embark; but as the arrival of the steamer
was confidently predicted, I completed my arrangements, and removed my
luggage to the office of the port captain on the morning of the 14th.
The weather was nearly quite dry all day, with a prevailing sharp wind
from the south-west, varied by two or three abrupt changes. I did not
venture to go into the country, and contented myself with trotting
up and down, mainly with the object of keeping myself warm. Evening
closed; but no steamer appeared, and I accepted Dr. Fenton’s offer of a
sofa in his sitting-room for the night, whereon to await the expected
summons. Towards four o’clock I sallied forth, without disturbing the
household. Profound silence prevailed throughout the settlement; the
stars of the southern hemisphere beamed with extraordinary brilliancy,
and the muddy streets were iron-bound with frost. After another doze on
the sofa, I again went out at dawn, and enjoyed a beautiful sunrise.


The morning of June 15 was unusually favourable for distant views.
Beyond the low, bare flats of Tierra del Fuego there showed to the
south-east a range of hills, or mountains, whose heights I estimated at
from 3500 to 4000 feet, but it is needless to say that, with unfamiliar
atmospheric conditions, where the judgment as to distance is so
uncertain, such an estimate is quite unreliable. Nearly due south lies
Dawson Island, and several high summits were visible in that direction,
but I do not believe that either Mount Darwin or Mount Sarmiento are
visible from this part of the coast.

During the day I went a short way along the shore to the south,
passing the cemetery wherein lie the bodies recovered from the wreck
of the _Doterel_. The origin of the explosion which caused that ship
to go down with all hands within sight of the settlement, was long a
matter of doubt. The most probable opinion is that it was due to the
spontaneous ignition of gas generated in unventilated coal-bunkers.
Nearly opposite lay the hull of another ship which became a partial
wreck on this coast. It contained a cargo of Welsh coal, which is sold
at the heavy price of four pounds a ton, and occasionally serves for
steamers whose supply has run short.

Along the sandy shores the most conspicuous plant, with large
white cottony leaves, is a species of _Senecio_ (_S. candidans_
of botanists), which, with nearly twenty others, represents that
cosmopolitan genus in this region. What light would be thrown on the
past history of the vegetable kingdom if we could learn the origin
of that vast genus, and the processes by which it has been diffused
throughout the world! Of about nine hundred known species that extend
from the Arctic Circle to high southern latitudes, and from the highest
zone of the Alps, the Himalayas and the Andes, to the low country of
Brazil and the scorching plains of North and South Africa, the great
majority are confined to small areas, and are unusually constant in
structure, thus presenting a marked contrast to the ordinary rule,
dwelt on by Darwin, that among genera that extend over a large portion
of earth and have numerous species, the species, or many of them, are
themselves widely spread and vary much in form. Neither do we find
among the crowd of species many indications of the general tendency
to form groups of species nearly allied in appearance and structure
within the same geographical area. Many of the very numerous South
American species are nearly allied to European and Asiatic forms. Thus
in the comparatively small area of Europe we find the representatives
of groups characteristic of regions widely separated, and even in
the poverty-stricken flora of Britain such different forms as the
common groundsel, the ragwort of neglected fields, and the less common
_Senecio paludosus_, and _S. campestris_.


The day wore on, and yet no steamer appeared. Knowing people began
to speculate on the possibility of some accident having delayed her
arrival, or surmised the prevalence of such thick weather about the
western entrance to the Straits as might have led her commander to make
the circuit by Cape Horn. In the latter case, I should be detained for
another fortnight, and although I should have gladly seen something
more of the country, and found myself meantime fortunate in pleasant
society, I did not in this season desire so long a delay. Once more I
betook myself at night to the sofa in Dr. Fenton’s hospitable house,
and at length, about four in the morning, a tapping at the window
announced that the lights of the steamer were in view. Dr. Fenton,
who wished to go on board, was speedily ready, and we went to the
landing-place where, until the jetée, still in construction, should
be finished, the boats are run up on the sandy beach. There was some
delay in finding the key of the store where my luggage was housed, but
at last we were ready to start. The boat, however, was fast aground on
the flat margin of the bay; in vain the four boatmen shoved with their
oars, until the taciturn port captain barked out the order to get into
the water and shove her off. It was freezing hard, and I fear the poor
fellows wished me and my luggage no good when, after much striving,
we were finally afloat, and they resumed their places at the oars. In
the dark the great hull loomed gigantic as, about five a.m., we pulled
alongside of the steamer, which turned out to be the _Iberia_, one of
the largest and finest vessels of the Pacific Company, commanded by
Captain Shannon.

Having learned that the steamer had been detained by very heavy weather
in the South Pacific, and had had great difficulty in making Cape
Pillar, the western landmark of the Straits, I bade farewell to my
kind host, and sought for quarters in the great floating hotel. There
is something depressing in arriving in a place of entertainment on
a cold night, when it is obvious that one’s appearance is neither
expected nor desired. After a while a steward, scarcely half awake,
made his appearance, and arranged my berth. I soon turned in, and slept
until near nine o’clock, when we were already well on our way towards
the Atlantic opening of the Straits. The morning was bright and not
very cold, and for the first time since I entered this region the
weather remained unchanged during the day, and the sky clear, with the
exception of heavy banks of cloud which showed in the afternoon above
the southern and western horizon.

In the morning, when about twenty miles north of Sandy Point, and
nearly abreast of Peckett Harbour, the unmistakable peak of Mount
Sarmiento was for a short time distinctly seen. It is needless to say
that this was due to atmospheric refraction, for the distance was
rather over a hundred English miles, and in a non-refracting atmosphere
a mountain seven thousand feet high would be below the visible horizon
at a distance of about eighty-five miles. Of Mount Darwin, which is
believed to be the highest summit of the Fuegian Archipelago, I was not
destined to see anything; it is probably completely concealed by the
range which runs across the main island of Tierra del Fuego.


The scenery of the eastern side of the Straits of Magellan offers
little to attract the eye, the shores on both sides being low and
little varied. From Cape Froward to Peckett Harbour the Patagonian
coast runs nearly due north, and then trends east-north-east for about
seventy miles, where the channel is contracted between the northern
shore and Elizabeth Island. After passing the island, we entered the
part called “The Narrows,” where the Fuegian coast approaches very near
to the mainland of the continent. As the day was declining, we issued
from this channel into a bay fully thirty miles wide, partly closed by
two headlands, which are the landmarks for seamen entering the Straits
from the Atlantic. That on the Fuegian side is Cape Espiritu Santo, and
the bolder promontory on the northern side is the Cape Virgenes. To a
detached rock below the headland English seamen have given the name
Dungeness. In the failing light, I could see that the coast westward
from Cape Virgenes rises into hills, which appeared to be bare of
forest. I should guess their height not to exceed two thousand feet, if
it even reaches that limit.

It was almost quite dark when we finally re-entered the Atlantic,
and found its waters in a very gentle mood. In these latitudes the
name Pacific is not well applied to any part of that which the older
navigators more fittingly designated the Southern Ocean.

It was impossible to live for more than a week in winter, at the
southern extremity of the American continent, without having one’s
attention engaged by the singular features of the climate of this
region, and especially by their bearing on wider questions which have
of late years assumed fresh importance. Mainly through the writings
of Dr. James Croll, and the remarkable ability and perseverance with
which he has sustained his views, geologists and students of every
other branch of natural science have learned to estimate the influence
which the secular changes in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit
may have exercised on the physical condition of our planet. I have
ventured, in the Appendix, to discuss some portions of the vast range
of subjects treated of by Dr. Croll,[36] and to state the reasons which
force me to dissent from some of his conclusions; but I shall here
merely say that the impressions derived from my own short experience
have been confirmed by subsequent diligent inquiry, and especially by
the writings of Dr. Julius Hann, most of which have been published
since my return to England.

The belief that the mean temperature of the southern is considerably
lower than that of the northern hemisphere was, until recently,
prevalent among physical geographers, and has been assumed as an
undoubted fact by Dr. Croll. He accounts for it by the predominance
of warm ocean-currents that pass from the southern to the northern
hemisphere within the tropics, and which, as he maintains, ultimately
carry a great portion of the heat of the equatorial regions to the
north Temperate and Frigid Zones. I think that this belief, as well
as many others regarding physical geography, originated in the fact
that physical science in its more exact form, had its birth in Western
Europe, a region which, especially as to climate, is altogether
exceptional in its character. The further our knowledge, yet too
limited, has extended in the southern hemisphere the less ground we
find for a belief in the supposed inferiority of its mean temperature.
What we do find, in exact conformity with obvious physical principles,
is that in the hemisphere where the water surface largely predominates
over that of land, the temperature is much more uniform than where the
land occupies the larger portion of the surface. In the former, the
heat of summer is mainly expended in the work of converting water into
vapour, and partially restored in winter in the conversion of vapour
into water or ice.


We unfortunately possess but three stations in the southern hemisphere,
south of the fiftieth degree of latitude, from which meteorological
observations are available, and these are all in the same vicinity--the
Falkland Islands, Punta Arenas, and Ushuaja, the mission station in
the Beagle Channel at the south side of the main island of Tierra del
Fuego. The following table shows the mean temperature of the year at
these stations in degrees of Fahrenheit’s scale.

                  South latitude.  Mean temperature of year.
  Falklands          51° 41′             about 43·00°
  Punta Arenas       53° 25′                   43·52°
  Ushuaja            54° 53′                   42·39°

If we compare these with the results of observations at places on the
east side of continents in the northern hemisphere, we find the latter
to show a very much more rigorous climate. Nikolaiewsk, near the mouth
of the Amur, in lat. 52° 8′ north, has a mean annual temperature of
32·4° Fahr.; and at Hopedale, in Labrador, lat. 55° 35′, the mean is
certainly not higher than 26° Fahr. Even in the island of Anticosti,
at the mouth of the St. Lawrence, lat. 49° 24′ north, the main yearly
temperature is only 35·8°, or more than 70 below that of the Falkland
Islands. But it may be truly said that, although the stations now under
discussion are on the eastern side of the South American continent,
they virtually enjoy an insular climate, and that there is probably
little difference between their temperature and that of places on the
west side of the Straits of Magellan.

On comparing the few places out of Europe from which we possess
observations in high northern latitudes, I think that the station which
admits of the fairest comparison is that of Unalaschka in the North
Pacific. The observations at Illiluk in that island, in lat. 53° 53′
north, show a mean annual temperature of only 38·2° Fahr., while at
Ushuaja, 1° farther from the equator, the mean temperature is higher
by more that 4°. It is true that at Sitka, in lat. 57° north, we find
a mean temperature of 43·28° Fahr., or about the same as that of the
Falklands. But the position of Sitka is quite exceptional. It is
completely removed from the influence of the cold currents that descend
through Behring’s Straits, and a great mountain range protects it from
northerly winds; south-westerly winds prevail throughout the year, and
a very heavy rainfall, averaging annually eighty-one inches, imports to
the air a large portion of heat derived from equatorial regions. On the
coast of Western Patagonia and Southern Chili, this source of heat is
partly counteracted by the cold antarctic current that sets along the
western coast of South America.


The general conclusion, which seems to be fully established, is that
the southern hemisphere is not colder than the northern, and that all
arguments based upon an opposite assumption must be set aside.

Among the passengers on board the _Iberia_ were a large proportion
of ladies and children, the families of English merchants settled in
Chili. They had been miserable enough during the three or four days
before entering the Straits. The weather had been very severe, and,
large as is the vessel, heavy seas constantly broke over her upper
deck, so that even the most adventurous were confined to the cabins,
very many to their berths. The change to quiet waters and brighter
skies acted like a charm, and the spirits of the passengers rose even
more than the barometer. The children naturally became irrepressible,
and left not a quiet corner in the whole ship. Having first invaded the
smoking-cabin and made it the chief _depôt_ for their toys and games,
they next took possession of a small tent rigged up on the upper deck,
to which the ejected smokers had retired. There are moments in such a
voyage when one thinks that half a gale of wind with a cross sea would
not be altogether unwelcome.

If such a perverse wish did arise in any breast, it was certainly
disappointed. The voyage to Monte Video was uneventful, and offered
little of special interest, but the weather was throughout fine. On the
second day we met a slight breeze from the north, causing a decided
rise of temperature and a fall of the barometer, but only a few drops
of rain fell; and then, after returning to the normal temperature, the
thermometer rose steadily as we advanced daily about four degrees of
latitude. It may be worth while to give the following extract from my
notes, observing that on board ship temperature observations are merely
rough approximations. Those best admitting comparison are made about a
quarter of an hour after sunset, the precise hour, of course, varying
with the latitude, of which I give only a rough estimate.

   Date.  |  Time. | Latitude.| Barometer. | Thermometer
          |        |          |            |   (Fahr.).
  June 16 | Sunset |  52° 30′ |  30·06 in. |    37·5°
   ”   17 |   Noon |  50°     |  29·68  ”  |    48·5°
          | Sunset |          |  29·70  ”  |    48·0°
   ”   18 |   Noon |  46°     |  29·90  ”  |    50·5°
          | Sunset |          |  29·90  ”  |    45·2°
   ”   19 | 9 a.m. |          |  29·90  ”  |    52·0°
          |   Noon |  42°     |  29·86  ”  |
          | Sunset |          |  29·88  ”  |    48·0°
   ”   20 |10 a.m. |  38° 20′ |  29·88  ”  |
          | Sunset |          |  29·83  ”  |    54·0°

Favoured by clear weather, we occasionally had glimpses of projecting
headlands on the Patagonian coast, and especially on the 19th, when we
made out the promontory of San José on the south side of the wide and
deep Bay of San Matias, and later in the same day sighted some hills
on the north side of the same gulf near the mouth of the Rio Colorado,
the chief of Patagonian rivers.[37] As far as I could discern, the
sea-birds that approached the ship were the same species which had
visited us on the Pacific coast, cape pigeons being as before the most
numerous and persevering.


At sunrise on the shortest day we were approaching the city of Monte
Video. Covering a hill some three hundred feet in height, and spreading
along the shore at its base, the town presents a rather imposing
aspect. It looks over the opening of the vast estuary of La Plata,
fully sixty miles wide, into which the great rivers of the southern
half of the continent discharge themselves. From the detritus borne
down by these streams the vast plains that occupy the larger part of
the Argentine territory have been formed in recent geological times,
but the alluvial deposits have not yet filled up the gulf that receives
the two great streams of the Paranà and the Uruguay. It would seem,
however, that that consummation is rapidly approaching. Extensive
banks, reaching nearly to the surface at low water, occupy large
portions of the great estuary, and the navigable channel is so shallow
that large ships are forced to anchor twelve or fourteen miles below
Buenos Ayres, and even at Monte Video cannot approach nearer than two
miles from the landing-place.

A small steam-tender came off to convey passengers to the city, and,
with very little delay at the custom-house, I proceeded to the Hotel
de la Paix, a French house, to which I was recommended. In spite of
the irregularity of the ground, the city is laid out on the favourite
Spanish chess-board plan, in _quadras_ of nearly equal size. The main
streets run parallel to the shore, and, being nearly level, are well
supplied with tramcars; but the cross streets are mostly steep and
badly paved. The flat roofs of the houses, enjoying a wide sea-view,
are the favourite resort of the inmates in fine weather, and many of
them have a _mirador_, roofed in and windowed on all sides, whence idle
people may enjoy the view sheltered from sun or rain. A stranger is at
once struck by one marked difference between the towns on the Atlantic
coast and those on the western side of South America. Here people live
free from the constant dread of earthquakes, and do not shrink from
making their town houses as high as may be convenient; but the towns
become more crowded, and one misses the charming _patios_ of the better
houses of Santiago and Lima.

To a traveller fresh from Peru and Chili and Western Patagonia, the
region which I now entered, with its boundless spaces of plain and
its huge rivers, appears by comparison tame and unattractive to the
lover of nature. It is true that the industrial development of the
last quarter of a century has been almost as rapid here as in the
great republic of North America. The great plains are now traversed
by numerous lines of railway, and steamers ply on the greater rivers
and several of their tributaries. A naturalist may now accomplish in a
few weeks, and at a trifling cost, expeditions that formerly demanded
years of laborious travel. The southern slopes of the Bolivian Andes,
stretching into the Argentine States of Salta, Oran, and Jujuy, are
easily reached by the railway to Tucuman; and yet easier is the
journey by the Paraguay river steamers that carry him over seventeen
hundred miles of waterway to Cuyabà, in Central Brazil, the chief town
of the great province of Matto Grosso. But the time at my disposal
was strictly limited, and the coming glories of Brazil haunted my
imagination, so that I had no difficulty in deciding to make but a
brief halt in this part of the continent, limiting myself to a short
excursion on the river Uruguay and a glimpse of Buenos Ayres.


Of three days passed at Monte Video a considerable portion was occupied
by the English newspapers, full of intelligence of deep and chiefly of
painful interest; but I twice had a pleasant walk in the country near
the city. Some heavy rain had fallen before my arrival, and the roads,
which are ill kept, were deep in mire; but the winter season in this
region is very agreeable, and the favourable impression made during my
short stay was confirmed by the general testimony of the residents as
to the salubrity of the climate. The winter temperature is about the
same as in the same latitude on the Chilian coast, but the summers are
warmer by 9° or 10° Fahr., and the mean temperature of the year fully
5° higher, being here about 62° Fahr. We are, however, far removed
from the great contrasts of temperature that are found on the eastern
side of North America. At Monte Video the difference between the means
of the hottest and coldest months is 22°, while in the same latitude
on the coast of North Carolina the difference is fully 35°. On the
whole, the climate most nearly resembles that of places on the coast of
Algeria, especially that of Oran, save that in the latter place the
winters are slightly colder and the summer months somewhat hotter.

The town is surrounded by country houses belonging to the merchants
and other residents, each with a _quinta_ (garden or pleasure-ground),
in which a variety of subtropical plants seem to thrive. Comparatively
few of the indigenous plants showed flower or fruit, certainly less
than one is used to see in winter nearer home on the shores of
the Mediterranean. But a small proportion of the ground is under
tillage, and beyond the zone of houses and gardens one soon reaches
the open country, which extends through nearly all the territory of
the republic. The English residents have adopted the Spanish term
(_campo_), which is universally applied in this region of America to
the open country whereon cattle are pastured, and the stranger does not
at first well understand the question when asked whether he is “going
to the camp.”

The only fences used in a region where wood of every kind is scarce are
posts about six feet high, connected by three or four strands of stout
iron wire. These are set at distances of some miles apart, and serve to
keep the cattle of each _estancia_ from straying. It is said that when
these fences were first introduced, many animals were killed or maimed
by running at full speed against the iron wires, but that such cases
have now become rare. The more intelligent or more cautious individuals
avoided the danger, and have transmitted their qualities to a majority
of their offspring.

At the hospitable table of the British minister, Mr. Monson, I met
among other guests Mr. E----, one of the principal English merchants,
whose kindness placed me under several obligations. On the following
day he introduced me to an enterprising Italian, whose name deserves
to be remembered in connection with modern exploration of the coasts
of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Signor Bartolomeo Bossi, who
emigrated early in life to South America, seems to be a born explorer,
and whenever he has laid by sufficient funds for the purpose he has
forsaken other pursuits to start upon some expedition to new or little
known parts of the continent. In a small steamer of 220 tons, fitted
out at his own cost, he has in two expeditions minutely explored the
intricate coasts of the Fuegian Archipelago and a great portion of the
Channels of Patagonia.


Several of the discoveries interesting to navigators made in the
course of the first of these voyages were published in the _Noticias
Hidrograficas_ of the Chilian naval department for 1876, and Signor
Bossi asserts that the chief motive that determined the English
admiralty in despatching the surveying expedition of the _Alert_ was
to verify the announcements first made by him. I have not seen any
reference to Signor Bossi in the interesting volume, “The Cruise of the
_Alert_,” by Dr. Coppinger; but it appears certain that many of the
observations recorded in the Santiago _Noticias_ have been accepted,
and are embodied in the most recent charts.

In this part of America the Republic of Uruguay is commonly designated
as the Banda Oriental, because it lies altogether on the eastern bank
of that great river. It possesses great natural advantages--fine
climate, sufficiently fertile soil, ready access by water to a
vast region of the continent, along with a favourable position for
intercourse with Europe. But these privileges are made almost valueless
by human perversity. The military element, which has been allowed
to dominate in the republic, is the constant source of social and
political disorder. A stable administration is unknown, for each
successful general who reaches the presidential chair must fail to
satisfy all the greedy partisans who demand a share of the loaves and
fishes. After a short time it becomes the turn of a rival, who, with
loud promises of reform, and flights of patriotic rhetoric, raises the
standard of revolt. If he can succeed in getting enough of the troops
to join him, the revolution is made, and Uruguay has a new president,
whose history will be a repetition of that of his predecessors. If the
pretender should fail, he is summarily shot, unless he be fortunate
enough to make his escape into the adjoining territories of Brazil or

On the day after my arrival the news of a rising headed by a popular
colonel reached the capital, and troops were sent off in some haste
to suppress the revolt. In each case the existence of the Government
depends on the uncertain contingency whether the troops will remain
faithful or will hearken to the fair promises of the new candidate for

It is obvious that a country in a chronic condition of disorder is a
very inconvenient neighbour, and Uruguay would long have ceased to
exist as a separate government, if it were not for the jealousy of
the two powerful adjoining states. Brazil and Argentaria[38] are
each ready and willing to put down the _enfant terrible_, but neither
would tolerate the annexation by its rival of such a desirable piece
of territory. The prospect of a long and sanguinary war has hitherto
withheld the Governments of Rio and Buenos Ayres, and secured, for a
time, immunity to Uruguayan disorder.


I had arranged to start on the 24th of June, in the steamer which plies
between Monte Video and the Lower Uruguay. That day being one of the
many festas that protect men of business in South America from the risk
of overwork, banks and offices were closed, and but for the kindness
of Mr. E---- I should have found it difficult to carry out my plan. I
went on board in the afternoon, and found a small crowded vessel, not
promising much comfort to the passengers, but offering the additional
prospect of safe guidance which every Briton finds on board a ship
commanded by a fellow-countryman.

The sun set in a misty sky as we left our moorings and began to advance
at half speed into the wide estuary of La Plata. As night fell the
mist grew denser, and during the night and following morning we were
immersed in a thick white fog. It was in reality a feat of seamanship
that was accomplished by our captain. The great estuary of La Plata,
gradually narrowing from about sixty miles opposite Monte Video
to about sixteen at Buenos Ayres, is almost everywhere shallow and
beset by sand or mudbanks, between which run the navigable channels.
According to their draught, the ships that conduct the extensive trade
between Buenos Ayres and Europe are spread over the space below the
city, the larger being forced to anchor at a distance of fourteen
miles. To avoid the banks, and to escape collision with the ships in
the water-way, in the midst of a fog so dense was no easy matter. It
is needless to say the utmost caution was observed. We crept on gently
through the night, and at daybreak approached the anchorage of the
large ships. Our captain seemed to be perfectly acquainted with the
exact position of every one of them, and, as with increasing light he
was able to recognize near objects, each in turn served as a buoy to
mark out the true channel. Soon after sunrise we reached the moorings,
about two miles from the landing-place, and lay there for a couple of
hours, while the Buenos Ayres passengers and goods were conveyed to us
in a steam-tender. It was a new experience to know one’s self so close
to a great and famous city without the possibility of distinguishing
any object.

At about ten a.m. we were again under steam and making for the mouth of
the Uruguay on the northern side of the great estuary. The fog began
to clear, and finally disappeared when, a little before noon, we were
about to enter the waters of the mighty stream, which is, after all,
no more than a tributary of the still mightier Paranà.[39] Just at
this point, signals and shouts from a very small steamer induced our
captain to slacken speed. The strangers urgently appealed to him to
take on board some cargo for a place on the river, the name of which
escaped me. To this request a polite but very decided refusal was
returned, the prudence of which we afterwards appreciated. The cargo in
question doubtless consisted of arms, ammunition, or other stores for
the use of the revolutionary force supposed to be gathered at Mercedes,
not far from the junction of the Rio Negro with the Uruguay, and it
clearly behoved the steamboat company to avoid being involved in such


At its mouth the Uruguay has a width of several--probably seven or
eight--miles, and at the confluence of the Rio Negro, some fifty miles
up stream, the breadth must be nearly half as much. The water at this
time was high, as heavy rain had fallen in the interior, and the
current had a velocity of about three miles an hour. I believe that
it is only exceptionally, during unusually dry seasons, that tidal
water enters the channels of the Paranà or the Uruguay. I was struck
by the frequent passage of large green masses of foliage that floated
past as we ascended the river. Some consisted of entire trees or large
boughs, but several others appeared to be formed altogether of masses
of herbaceous vegetation twined together or adhering by the tangled
roots. It can easily be imagined that, where portions of the bank have
been undermined and fall into a stream, the soil is washed away from
the roots, and the whole may be floated down the stream and even
carried out to sea. The efficacy of this mode of transport as one of
the means for the dispersion of plants is now generally recognized,
and, considering that the basin of the Paranà covers a space of over
twenty-one degrees of latitude, we must admit the probability that it
has had a large part in the diffusion of many tropical and subtropical
species to the southern part of the continent.

The Rio Negro, which drains about half the territory of the republic,
is the chief affluent of the Uruguay. At the junction we met a small
steamer which plies to and fro on the tributary stream, and some time
was lost in effecting the exchange of passengers and cargo. From
some new-comers we gathered rather vague reports as to the attempted
revolution. The chief was a certain Colonel Maximo Perez, already well
known in Uruguayan political life. I have already explained that the
term in this country means the effort to use the soldiery to upset the
existing administration, or, if you happen to be in power, to, employ
the same agency to make short work of your rivals. It was generally
thought that Perez had made the mistake of raising the standard too
soon, and must fail. This anticipation was soon verified, and before
I left the country two reports, each equally authentic, reached the
capital--the one that he had made his escape, the other that he had
been shot. To the community it was a matter of indifference which story
might be true: in the one case, he would appear again to renew the
revolt; in the other, some new adventurer would take his place.

A few miles above the confluence of the Rio Negro we reached Fray
Bentos, the great factory where “Liebig’s Extract of Beef” is prepared
and sent to Europe. Whatever prosperity exists in the Banda Oriental
depends altogether on beef. To the raising of horned cattle the greater
part of the soil of the republic is devoted, and in caring and guarding
them most of the rural population is employed. The _saladeros_, where
the animals are slaughtered and the various parts converted to human
use, are the chief, almost the only, industrial establishments, and it
is their produce that supports the trade and navigation.


Though the channel is narrower above the junction of the Rio Negro, the
Uruguay was still a mighty river, from one to two miles in width, with
numerous islands, all covered with trees and seemingly uninhabited. The
trees on the islands and along the banks are mostly small, about thirty
feet in height, but on some of the islands they must certainly surpass
fifty feet. It was impossible for a passing stranger to identify the
unfamiliar forms of these trees, which seemed to present considerable
variety, the more so as the majority appeared to be deciduous, and but
a few withered leaves remained on the nearly bare branches.

Paisandu, the place of my destination, is about a hundred and fifty
miles from the mouth of the river, and the steamer often accomplishes
the distance in fourteen hours. I was led to hope that we should
arrive soon after midnight, but as night fell a dense fog spread over
the river. Further progress was impossible, and we dropped anchor in
mid-channel. With sunrise the fog quickly melted away, and the turning
of the screw soon announced that we had resumed our journey. Up to
this point the banks of the river on either side had been absolutely
flat, but at an early hour on the 26th we for the first time were
relieved by the appearance of some rising ground on the east side of
the river. There was nothing deserving to be called a hill, but so
impatient is human nature of the monotony of dead-level, that even a
rise of a couple of hundred feet is a welcome alleviation. A house on
the summit, which must command a vast range of view, appeared to be the
only desirable residence I had yet seen in this region. The dead-level
soon resumed its place on the eastern bank; but a few miles farther we
began to descry a range of low hills on the opposite, or Argentine,
bank of the stream. We had hitherto held no communication with the
territory on that side, but before noon we dropped anchor opposite to
the landing-place for the town of Concepcion. This is one of the chief
places in the state of Entrerios, which, as the name implies, fills the
space between the two great rivers, Paranà and Uruguay, and extends
northward about two hundred and forty miles from the estuary of La
Plata. The town stands on a low hill about two miles from the river.
Some passengers went ashore, a few were taken in their place, and after
a short delay the screw was again in motion and the voyage was resumed.

About two p.m. we were at length opposite to Paisandu, a name known
to most English readers only by the ox-tongues prepared at the
neighbouring _saladeros_. One of the peculiarities of this region
arises from the fact that in the estuary and along the lower course of
the great rivers the banks shelve so gradually that boats are seldom
able to approach the shore. Elsewhere the inhabitants would make
provision by constructing long jetties carried far enough to enable
boats to draw alongside. But suitable timber is said to be scarce and
very dear, and, besides, such constructions would deprive a part of the
population of their means of gaining a livelihood. Carts with a pair of
enormous wheels, seven or eight feet in diameter, are driven into the
water till it reaches nearly to the shafts, and passengers scramble as
best they may into or out of the boats. In this novel fashion I reached
the shore, with one or two other passengers.


Paisandu has the aspect of a thriving country town, with streets and
buildings of plain aspect, but looking clean and well cared for. It
stands on rising ground, which is not a hill, but merely the river-ward
slope of the flat country through which the Uruguay has here scooped a
broad trench about a hundred feet below the general level. I found a
very fair country inn kept by an Englishman, and at once proceeded to
deliver a note of introduction to Dr. French, an English physician who
enjoys considerable local reputation. The days being short at a season
corresponding to our European Christmas, it was already too late for
an excursion to the neighbouring country, which was postponed till the
following morning; and I passed the greater part of the afternoon and
evening in the agreeable society of Dr. French, whose range of general
information, and thorough acquaintance with the country which he has
made his home, rendered his conversation interesting and instructive.

Many Englishmen seem to imagine that, at least as regards material
progress, distant countries, with the possible exception of the United
States, are much less advanced than we are at home. I was led to an
opposite conclusion as far as the more advanced states of South America
are concerned, and I was struck by one illustration of the fact that
I encountered at Paisandu. In the course of my long conversation with
Dr. French, we were three times interrupted by the tinkling of a little
bell connected with telephone wires carried into his sitting-room. I
learned that a wire was carried from each of the chief _estancias_
and _saladeros_ within a circuit of eight or ten miles from the town.
On each occasion advice was sought and obtained as to some case of
sickness or accident, and it was impossible not to be struck by the
great addition thus made to the usefulness of a skilful medical adviser
in country districts. With regard to this and other applications of
the telephone and the electric telegraph, our backward condition may
be explained by the extraordinary fact that the English people have
tolerated the existence of a Government monopoly, which, in many cases,
acts as a prohibition; but in other matters, such as electric lighting,
our relative inferiority must be set down to the extreme slowness with
which new ideas germinate and reach maturity in the English nature.

I was much interested by the information given to me by Dr. French
as to the frequent occurrence of the fossil remains of large extinct
mammalia in this district. Complete skeletons are, of course, not
commonly found; but large bones in good condition are, as I learned,
easily procured. My stay was necessarily so short that I could not
expect to obtain any, but I entertained a hope, not yet realized, that
through the kind intervention of Dr. French, some valuable specimens
might be obtained for the Cambridge University Museum. But to complete
our knowledge of the very singular extinct fauna of this region of
America, prolonged research on the spot, conducted by experienced
palæontologists, is a necessary condition. These plains are the
cemeteries in which myriads of extinct creatures lie entombed. We
probably have got to know the majority of the larger species, but it is
probable that many others have as yet escaped the notice of naturalists.


The steamer in which I had travelled ascends the river as far as Salto,
about sixty miles above Paisandu; but at that place the navigation is
interrupted by rapids, and travellers pursue their journey by land
until they reach the steamers that ply on the upper waters of the
Uruguay. I should have wished to visit Salto, but the steamer was to
arrive at night and to depart on the return voyage next morning. By
stopping at Paisandu I secured the opportunity for seeing a little of
the country and the vegetation.

By way of seeing something of the natives, Dr. French took me to
one of the best houses in the town, and introduced me to one of his
patients, an old lady ninety years of age. She did much credit to the
skill of her medical adviser, as I found her full of life and activity,
conversing freely and intelligently on the topics of the day. In the
garden surrounding her house were a number of orange trees in full
bearing, and, amongst other exotics, the largest tree of _Eucalyptus
globulus_ that I have yet seen, though planted, as the old lady assured
me, only twenty years before.

It was announced that the return steamer was due at two p.m. on June
27, so I arranged, in the language of this region, to go for an
excursion _to the camp_ as early as possible in the morning. In company
with a young Englishman to whom Dr. French had introduced me, I started
in a carriage, and, after passing through the belt of gardens and
fields surrounding the town, soon reached a rather wide stream running
between muddy banks. I now understood why all the vehicles here are
hung upon such extremely high wheels. The horses take to the water as
easily as if they were amphibious, and we got across the stream without
taking in water, but not without a severe tug to get the carriage
through the deep mud. We next approached a large _saladero_; but I had
no curiosity to see the process of slaughter, nor the various stages by
which a live animal is speedily converted into human food. We made a
circuit round the _saladero_ and the adjoining enclosures, and before
long reached the open country.

The general aspect reminded me of what I have seen at the corresponding
season in the less inhabited parts of Northern Africa, especially
near Tunis, although the plants, as might be expected, are not only
different, but in great part belong to different natural families. Open
spaces covered with herbaceous vegetation alternate with patches of low
bushes, mostly evergreen, and here and there with shrubs under ten
feet in height; but there was nothing deserving to be called a tree.
The indigenous trees of this region seem to be confined to the banks
and islands of the great rivers. Among the bushes were four species
of _Baccharis_, a Composite genus characteristic of South America,
three species of _Solanum_, a _Lycium_, etc. But the commonest bush,
which extends from the Tropic of Capricorn to Patagonia, is _Duvaua
dependens_, with crooked branches beset with stout thorns, which has
no near ally among European plants. I found several plants still in
flower--two or three pretty species of the mallow tribe, a _Buddleia_,
an _Oxalis_, and a _Verbena_ (_V. phlogifolia_), nearly allied to the
ornamental species of our gardens.


I returned to the town just in time to have all in readiness for the
steamer, which arrived punctually at two o’clock, and, after bidding
farewell to Dr. French, embarked with the impression that life in a
country town on the Uruguay is very much like life in a country town
anywhere in Europe--somewhat dull, but not devoid of interest to one
who is content to feel that he has been of some use to fellow-creatures.

The weather had become brighter, and we were spared the annoyance of
waiting at night for the clearing of the fog. We held on our course
down the stream, and at sunrise were again at anchor opposite to the
city of Buenos Ayres, now for the first time become visible. Seen in
the bright morning light, it presented a somewhat imposing aspect,
as befits the most populous and important port of the South American
continent. The advance of the Argentine Confederation has been so
rapid since public tranquillity has been assured that the returns of
a few years ago are doubtless considerably below the truth. Those of
the five years from 1870 to 1874 show a yearly average of about ten
millions sterling of imports, and nearly seven and a half millions of
exports; but these figures, especially the latter, should now be much
increased. Of the whole commercial movement more than eighty per cent.
belongs to Buenos Ayres, and the extension of railways must further
increase its supremacy.

I went to the Hotel de Provence, a French establishment fairly well
kept, and, after confinement in the little den on board the river
steamer, enjoyed the novel sense of occupying a spacious room. A good
part of the day was spent in wandering about the town. It is built on
the regular chess-board plan, with _quadras_ of equal dimensions. The
streets are narrow and ill-paved, most of them traversed by tramcars,
which are the only convenient vehicles; but the whole place is pervaded
by an air of activity which seems strange in Spanish America, reminding
one rather of the towns of the United States.

I was directed to an exhibition of the natural products and
manufactures of the states[40] of the Argentine Confederation, which
appeared to make a creditable show, but of which I felt myself to be
no competent judge. I was chiefly interested by the large collections
of native woods from Corrientes and the mountain regions of Tucuman,
Salta, and the adjoining states. We know at present very little as
to the extent of the Argentine forests, and still less as to the
proportion in which the more valuable species are distributed; but
it is obvious that in these forests there exist important sources of
wealth, which, however, must require good management for their future
development. Many of the largest and most valuable trees belong to the
family of _Leguminosæ_, and may be found to rival in importance those
of Guiana.


Speaking of the forests of the northern states, the late Professor
Lorentz writes that they are exclusively confined to the eastern slopes
of the mountains on which the winds from the Atlantic deposit their
moisture, while the western slopes remain dry and bare of trees. He
dwells on the need for an efficient forest law, as the result of the
carelessness of the sparse population is that in the neighbourhood
of inhabited places much valuable timber is ruthlessly destroyed. It
may be feared that, under a constitution which, for such purposes,
leaves practical autonomy to fourteen different states, it may be very
difficult to obtain the enactment of an efficient law, and still more
difficult to secure its enforcement.

The chief architectural boast of Buenos Ayres is the Plaza Mayor,
one side of which is occupied by the cathedral, a very large pile in
the modern Spanish style, which is not likely to serve as a model
for imitation. The day being a _festa_, there was a ceremony in the
afternoon, which attracted a crowd of the female population. The great
church was ablaze with thousands--literally thousands--of wax candles,
and the entire pavement was covered with costly carpets of the most
gaudy colours. The behaviour of the congregation did not convey to a
stranger the impression of religious feeling. It is doubtful, however,
to what extent we are right in applying in such matters the standard
derived from a different race and different modes of feeling. A severer
style of worship would have no attractions for a people who thirst for
satisfaction to the eye and ear; and they would certainly not be the
better, in their present condition of progress, if the scepticism of
the age were to close this avenue of escape from the sordid cares of
daily life.

On June 29, my second day at Buenos Ayres, I made a short excursion to
the Boca, on the shore of the Rio de la Plata, only about three miles
from the city. I had an illustration of the careless way in which, from
want of sympathy or want of imagination, most people give directions
to strangers. Being informed that the tramcars plying to La Boca were
to be found in a certain street, I proceeded thither to look out for
a vehicle going in the right direction. After a few minutes a vehicle
appeared, coming from La Boca. After ten minutes more a second arrived
from the same direction, and after ten minutes more a third, but not
one in the opposite sense. At last I went into the shop of a German
chemist near at hand, when the mystery was explained. The cars enter
the town by one street, make a short circuit, and return by a different

The Boca does not offer much to interest a stranger. I could have
fancied myself somewhere in the outskirts of Leghorn, so frequent were
the familiar sounds of the Italian tongue, save that in Italy it would
be difficult to find a spot where the horizon is unbroken by a near
hill, or by the distant outline of Alp or Apennine.


Having paid a short visit to Mr. Schnyder, the newly appointed
Professor of Botany, I strolled through the adjoining fields with
the hope of finding some remains of the autumnal vegetation. The low
flat country is intersected by broad ditches, and much reminded me of
Battersea fields as they existed half a century ago, when I first began
to collect British plants. Seeing in a ditch the remains of a fine
_Sagittaria_, I filled a bit of paper with the minute seeds, and from
these has sprung a plant which has for several seasons been admired
by the visitors to Kew Gardens. It is the _Sagittaria Montevidensis_,
which is not uncommon in Argentaria and Uruguay, but, so far as I know,
does not extend to Brazil--a singular fact, considering that the seeds
must be readily transported by water-birds. In its native home it grows
to a somewhat larger size than the European species, but is not very
conspicuous. Cultivated at Kew, in a house kept at the mean temperature
of about 78° Fahr., it has attained gigantic proportions, rising to a
height of over six feet, and the petioles of the leaves attaining the
thickness of a man’s arm.

I had arranged to take my passage to Brazil in the steamer _Neva_,
of the Royal Mail Company, and at this season I felt no regret at
quitting this region of South America, which offers comparatively
slight attractions to the tourist. I was led, however, from all the
information that I collected, to form a high estimate of the advantages
that it offers to European settlers. At the present time the chief
source of profit is from the rearing of cattle; but, though long
neglected, agriculture promises to become the most important element of
national prosperity. Until the middle of this century there were none
but wooden ploughs of the type used by the aborigines, and corn was
imported from abroad to feed the townspeople. There are now numerous
agricultural colonies formed by foreign settlers, especially in the
state of Santa Fé, and the results have been eminently successful.
Large crops of grain, especially wheat, of excellent quality, are
easily raised. The vine prospers, even as far south as Bahia Blanca,
and in the northern states cotton, olives, tobacco, and other
subtropical products appear to thrive. These agricultural colonies have
been chiefly formed by Italian, Swiss, and German immigrants, and one
of the most recent, composed of Welshmen, has been established so far
south as the river Chubat in Patagonia. It may be feared that, owing to
the deficient rainfall of that region, the prospects of the settlement
are somewhat uncertain.

The Argentine Government has shown its wisdom in promoting immigration
by the extraordinary liberality of the terms offered to agricultural
settlers from Europe. With a territory as large as the whole of
continental Europe, exclusive of Russia, and a population of scarcely
two millions, immigration is the indispensable requisite for the
development of resources that must render this one of the most
important nations of the earth. The law, which, as I believe, is still
in force, offers to settlers wishing to cultivate the national lands
which are under the control of the Central Government the following
terms:--An advance of the cost of the passage from a European port to
Buenos Ayres, with conveyance from that city to the location selected;
a free gift of a hundred hectares (about 247 acres) to each of the
first hundred families proceeding to a new settlement; an advance, not
exceeding a thousand dollars per family, to meet expenses for food,
stock, and outfit, repayable without interest in five years; the sale
of additional Government land at two dollars per hectare, payable in
ten annual instalments; and, finally, exemption from taxes for ten


To the class of settlers who hold themselves above farming work other
careers are open. Many young Englishmen who enjoy life in the saddle
have done well as managers of _estancias_, for the raising of horses
and cattle. The chief advice to be given to those who have some capital
at their disposal is not to purchase property until they have gained
practical experience. The Argentines show a laudable anxiety for the
spread of education, and there is a considerable demand for teachers
and professors, which has been mainly supplied from Germany, many of
the professors from that country being men who have established a
merited reputation.

One of the attractions of this region for European settlers is the
excellence of the climate. Though not quite so uniform as that of
Chili, it is free from the extremes of temperature that prevail in the
United States. In the low country the difference between the mean
temperature of the hottest and coldest months is from 22° to 25° Fahr.,
while in the middle states of the northern continent the difference is
nearly twice as great--from 40° to 45°. The mean summer temperature
is here about the same as in places six or eight degrees farther from
the equator in eastern North America. The rainfall, which is of such
vital importance to agriculture, appears not to be subject to such
great annual irregularities as it is in the United States and Canada.
The average at Buenos Ayres is about thirty-five inches annually,
and in ascending the Paranà this increases to fifty-three inches in
Corrientes, and eighty inches in Paraguay. It is only in some parts
of the interior--_e.g._ about Mendoza--and in Patagonia, that the
cultivator is, in ordinary seasons, exposed to suffer from drought.

Apart from the economic results of the great influx of immigration,
the large recent admixture of European blood is effecting important
salutary consequences. I have seen no recent returns, but it
appears[41] that in the six years ending 1875, the number of immigrants
from Europe exceeded 284,000, or about 47,500 annually; and I believe
that this average has been exceeded since that date. Of the whole
number fully one-half are Italians, and I found unanimous testimony to
the fact that they form a valuable element in the population. With the
exception of a small proportion from the Neapolitan provinces, it is
admitted that, whether as agricultural settlers or as artisans in the
cities, the Italians are an orderly, industrious, and temperate class.
The Germans and Swiss are not nearly so numerous, but form a useful
addition to the orderly element in their adopted country. It may be
hoped that experience and education have not been thrown away on the
native Argentine, and that the memory of the forty years of intestine
disorder which followed the final establishment of independence
may serve as a warning against renewed attempts at revolution;
but assuredly the foreign element, which rapidly tends to become
predominant, will be found an additional security against the renewal
of disorder.


Although a majority of the large commercial houses at Buenos Ayres are
English, and the trade with this country takes the first place in the
statistical returns, the predominance is not so marked as it is on the
western side of South America. Next to England, and not far behind,
France has a large share in the trade, and although Germany has only
lately entered the field, it appears that the business operations with
that country are rapidly extending. Here, and at several other places
in South America, I heard complaints that German traders palm off cheap
inferior goods, having forged labels and trade-marks to imitate those
of well-known English manufacturers. It is true that charges of a
similar nature have been recently brought against some English houses.
One asks if the progress of civilization is to lead us back to _caveat
emptor_ as the only rule of commercial ethics. If so, some further
means must be discovered to enable the innocent purchaser to protect

The most serious difficulty in the way of the increasing foreign trade
of Argentaria is that arising from the shallowness of the great estuary
of La Plata, which prevents large vessels from approaching the ports.
In the course of ages nature will remedy the defect, when the present
shoals are raised by deposits of fresh silt so as to confine the volume
of water brought down by the great rivers, which would then scour out
navigable channels. Whether the process may not be hastened by human
skill and enterprise is a question which I am unable to answer. At
present I believe that the only point where vessels of moderate burthen
can approach the shore is at Ensenada, about fourteen miles below
Buenos Ayres. It is now connected by railway with the capital, and
promises to become an important trading port.


  Voyage from Buenos Ayres to Santos--Tropical vegetation in
      Brazil--Visit to San Paulo--Journey from San Paulo to Rio
      Janeiro--Valley of the Parahyba do Sul--Ancient mountains
      of Brazil--Rio Janeiro--Visit to Petropolis--Falls of
      Itamariti--Struggle for existence in a tropical forest--The
      hermit of Petropolis--Morning view over the Bay of Rio--A
      gorgeous flowering shrub--Visit to Tijuca--Yellow fever
      in Brazil--A giant of the forest--Voyage to Bahia and
      Pernambuco--Equatorial rains--Fernando Noronha--St. Vincent
      in the Cape de Verde Islands--Trade winds of the North
      Atlantic--Lisbon--Return to England.


About midday on June 30, I took my departure from Buenos Ayres. The
operation was not altogether simple or to be quickly accomplished.
Jolting heavily over the ill-paved streets, a hackney coach carried me
and a fellow-traveller with our luggage to the riverbank. The sight was
very strange. It was a busy day, and there were literally hundreds of
high-wheeled carts engaged in carrying passengers and goods out to the
boats, which lay fully half a mile from the shore. When, after a delay
that seemed excessive, we were installed in a boat, this was pulled in
a leisurely fashion to the steam-tender, which lay more than a mile
farther out. When the hour fixed for the departure of the tender was
long past, we at length got under way, and finally reached the Neva
steamship of the Royal Mail Company, about fourteen miles below the
city, at five o’clock.

With iron punctuality dinner was served at the regular hour, although
none of the passengers were ready, and the luggage was not brought on
board till after dinner. There was, in truth, no reason for haste, as
we were appointed to call at Monte Video on the following morning. My
chief business at that place was to recover possession of the chest
containing my botanical collections, which I had deposited at the

Impressed with the attractions of Brazil, and feeling the strict limits
of time to which I was bound, I asked myself if I should not have done
better to have omitted a visit to the Plata region, and saved nine
days by proceeding direct to Brazil in the _Iberia_, which started
on the 22nd of June. I should certainly recommend that course to any
naturalist travelling under similar circumstances at the same season;
but I am sure that, if I had done so, I should have felt regret at
having missed an opportunity, and should have fancied that I had lost
new and interesting experiences.

At four p.m. on the 1st of July the big ship began to move from her
moorings opposite Monte Video, and for about sixty miles kept a due
easterly course. Somewhere near the port of Maldonado we passed a
bright light on an island which shows as a bold headland. I was told
that this is known as Cape Frio, because of the cold often encountered
here by those arriving from Brazil. It may be supposed that the force
of the south-west wind which prevails in winter is more felt as the
wide opening of the great estuary is reached. During my own short stay,
the wind never rose beyond a gentle breeze, and the temperature on land
was no more than agreeably cool, usually between 55° and 60° Fahr.
during the day.


The distance from Monte Video to Santos, which is reckoned at 970 sea
miles, was accomplished in about three days and eighteen hours. The
voyage was uneventful. On the 3rd we approached the Brazilian coast,
but the land lay low, and no objects could be distinguished. The
weather was all that could be desired by the most delicate passengers,
the barometer remaining almost stationary at about 30·2 inches,[42]
and the temperature by day rising gradually from 57° at Monte Video
to 62° in lat. 25° south. Before sunrise on the morning of July 5, we
entered the bay through which the Santos river discharges itself into
the Atlantic, and found ourselves in a new region. The richness of the
green and the luxuriance of the foliage recalled the aspect of the
coast at Jacmel, in Hayti, and as the morning advanced, while we slowly
steamed towards the head of the bay, I had no difficulty in deciding
on a course which had already suggested itself to my mind. I knew that
Santos is connected by railway with São Paulo (better known in the
form San Paulo), the chief town of this part of Brazil, and that the
railway between that place and the capital was also completed; and I
accordingly determined to leave the steamer, and find my way by land
to Rio Janeiro.

Santos is an ancient place which had long remained obscure, until
the great development of coffee-cultivation in South Brazil, and the
construction of a railway to the interior, have made it the most
advantageous port for the shipment to Europe of that important product.
It lies at the mouth of an inconsiderable stream that enters the head
of the bay. Seen from the sea, it appears to be backed by a range of
lofty, flat-topped hills, but, in truth, these are no more than the
seaward face of the great plateau which extends through a considerable
part of the province of San Paulo. Although Santos is placed a few
miles south of the Tropic of Capricorn, the aspect of the vegetation
is completely tropical; and if a stranger were in doubt, the fringe of
cocoa-nut palms on the shores of the bay would completely reassure him.
Although the thermometer on board ship did not rise above 67°, the air
seemed to us, arriving from the south, very warm, and we were surprised
to hear the company’s agent, when he came on board, complain that he
had found the water in his bath uncomfortably chilly.

I landed with a young German fellow-traveller who, like myself,
intended to proceed to San Paulo; and, as we found that the train was
not to start for three hours, we occupied the time in ascending the
nearest hill. It was now nearly three months since I had enjoyed a
glimpse of true tropical vegetation in the forest of Buenaventura,
and the interest and delight of this renewed experience can never be
forgotten. It was clear that on the slopes about Santos the native
forests had been cleared, but on all the steeper parts, not reclaimed
for cultivation, the indigenous vegetation had resumed the mastery.
Trees and shrubs in wonderful variety contended for the mastery, and
maintained, as they best could, a precarious struggle for existence
with a crowd of climbers and parasites. So dense was the mass of
vegetation that it was impossible to penetrate in any direction farther
than a few yards, and there was no choice but to follow the track that
led to the summit of the slope, on which stood a pretty house with an
adjoining coffee-plantation. Among the many new forms of vegetation
here seen, the most singular was that of the _Tillandsia_.[43] Long,
whitish, smooth cords hang from the branches of the taller trees, and
at eight or ten feet from the ground abruptly produce a rosette of
stiff leaves, like those of a miniature pine-apple, with a central
spike of flowers. But the most brilliant ornament of this season was
a species of trumpet-flower (_Bignonia venusta_, Ker = _Pyrostegia
ignea_, Presl), which, partly supporting itself, and partly climbing
over the shrubs and small trees, covered them with dense masses of
brilliant orange or flame-coloured flowers.


Laden with specimens, I returned to the town just in time for the
afternoon train to San Paulo. The railway was constructed by an English
company, and is so far remarkable that a somewhat difficult problem has
been solved in an efficient and probably economical fashion. The object
is, within a distance of a few miles, to raise a railway train about
2500 feet. This is done by four stationary engines. The line is laid on
four rather steep inclines, with nearly level intermediate spaces, each
ascending train being counterpoised by one descending in the opposite
direction, and the loss of time in effecting the connections is quite

On every map of Brazil that I have seen, the Serra do Mar, which we
were here ascending, is represented as a range of mountains running
parallel to the coast, and extending from near Rio Janeiro to the Bay
of Paranagua in South Brazil, apparently dividing the strip of coast
from the low country of the interior. Most travellers would probably
have expected, as I did, that on reaching the summit we should descend
considerably before reaching San Paulo, and it was with surprise that
from the summit I saw before me what appeared to be a vast level plain,
with some distant hills or mountains in the dim horizon. It is true
that the drainage of the whole tract is carried westward and ultimately
reaches the Paranà; but the slope is quite insensible, and I do not
think that, in the space of about sixty miles that lay between us and
San Paulo, the descent can exceed two or three hundred feet. There was
a complete change in the aspect of the vegetation, and open tracts of
moorland recalled scenes of Northern Germany.

Night had closed before we reached the station at San Paulo. There was
a difficulty about a carriage to convey us to the hotel. Perhaps the
demands were unreasonable, or perhaps we were too unfamiliar with the
coinage of Brazil, which is that of the mother country; but on hearing
from the driver a demand for several thousand rees, we indignantly
resolved to walk, and engaged a man to convey our luggage to the hotel.
We were favourably impressed by the appearance of this provincial
capital. In the space of a mile we passed through several good streets,
well lighted with gas, and better paved than any I had seen in South
America. Many handsome houses with adjoining gardens were passed on the
way, and, on reaching the Grand Hotel, nice clean rooms, and good food
provided for the evening meal, further conduced to favourable first
impressions of Brazil.


My young German companion, a traveller for a commercial house, was
returning from a visit to the interior of Brazil. By steamer on the
Paranà and Paraguay he had gone from Buenos Ayres to Cuyabà, the
capital of the province of Matto Grosso, a vast region with undefined
boundaries, probably larger than most of the European states. I have
often been struck by the results of superior education among Germans
engaged in business, as compared with men of the same class in
other countries. It is not that they often merit the designation of
intellectual men, and still more rarely do they show active interest in
scientific inquiry; but they retain a respect for the studies they have
abandoned, are ready to talk intelligently on such subjects, and, as a
rule, have a regard for accuracy as to facts which is so uncommon in
the world, as much because the majority are too ignorant to appreciate
their importance as owing to deliberate disregard of truth. I did not
learn much as to the progress of inner Brazil, but my fellow-traveller
mentioned a few particulars that had struck him as singular. He found
the civil population of Cuyabà solicitous in their adherence to
European fashions in dress, and, as a special note of respectability,
the men always appearing in what are vulgarly called chimneypot hats.
The current coin in all but small transactions consisted in English
sovereigns, but he was unable to explain how these have reached a
region which can have so few commercial relations with this country. He
departed on the following morning, while I resolved to spend a day in
visiting the neighbourhood of the city.

Although San Paulo lies exactly on the southern tropic, the winter
climate is positively cool, and at sunrise on July 6 the thermometer
stood at 58° Fahr. On a rough estimate from a single barometric
observation it stands about 2400 feet above the sea. Its appearance
was altogether unlike that of all the towns seen in Spanish America.
The somewhat wearisome monotony of regular square blocks gave place to
the irregular arrangement of some of the provincial towns in England,
several streets running out into the country and ending in detached
villas. The general impression was that of comfort and prosperity.
Several well-appointed private carriages were seen in the streets, and
the shops were as good as one commonly sees in a European town of the
same class.

I was much interested by the short country excursion, which occupied
most of the day, and by an aspect of vegetation entirely new to me. The
plants, with scarcely an exception, belonged to genera prevailing in
tropical America, many of them now seen by me for the first time; but
the species were nearly all different from those of the coast region,
and the general aspect of the flora still more markedly different.
There was no trace of that luxuriance which we commonly expect in
tropical vegetation; monocotyledonous plants, except grasses, were very
few, and, in place of the large ferns that abounded at Santos, I found
but a single _Gleichenia_, allied to a species that I had gathered in
the Straits of Magellan.


Although a fair number of plants were still in flower, I soon came
to the conclusion that night frosts must be not unfrequent at this
season, and that a considerable proportion of the vegetation must be
annually renewed. I found several groups of small trees, chiefly of the
laurel family, and for the first time saw the _Araucaria brasiliensis_,
possibly in a wild state; but none of the trees attained considerable
height, and I doubt whether in a state of nature this plateau has
ever been a forest region. I was rejoiced to see again, growing in
some abundance, the splendid _Bignonia venusta_, and was led to doubt
whether its real home may not be in the interior, and its appearance at
Santos due to introduction by man.

We possess a fair amount of information as to the climate of the
Brazilian coasts, but our knowledge of the meteorology of the interior
provinces is miserably scanty. I was led to conjecture that, although
the district surrounding San Paulo is not divided by a mountain range
from the neighbouring coast region, the climate must be very much
drier, and that the rainfall is mainly limited to the summer season.

In the course of my walk, I unexpectedly approached a country house
about three miles from the town, and was somewhat surprised by meeting
a carriage with ladies on their way to the house. As far as my
experience has gone in the country parts of Portugal or Spain, such an
encounter would there be regarded as a very unusual phenomenon.

The railway from San Paulo to Rio Janeiro appears to be a well-managed
and prosperous concern, paying to its shareholders dividends of from
ten to twelve per cent. The distance is about 380 miles, and the trains
perform the distance in about thirteen and a half hours. Leaving
my hotel in the dark, I found at the station a crowd of passengers
contending for tickets; but good order was maintained, and we started
punctually at six o’clock. For some way the line is carried at an
apparent level over the plain, with occasional distant views of high
hills to the north, and crosses two or three inconsiderable streams,
whose waters run to the Paranà. A slight but continuous ascent,
scarcely noticed by the passing, traveller, leads to the watershed
which, in this direction, limits the vast basin of the Paranà. After a
long but very gentle descent, we reached a stream flowing westward. I
at first supposed it, like those already seen, to be a tributary of the
Paranà which made its way through some depression in the low ridge over
which we had passed; but I soon ascertained that this was an error.
Near the spot where the railway crosses it, the stream makes a sharp
turn, and thenceforth proceeds in a direction little north of east for
about four hundred miles, till it falls into the Atlantic at São João
da Barra, north-east of Rio Janeiro. This is the Rio Parahyba do Sul,
not to be confounded with the Rio Parahyba north of Pernambuco, nor yet
with the more important river Paranahyba in the province of Piauhy.


For the greater part of the way to Rio the railway runs parallel with
the river. As laid down on the maps, the valley lies between a mountain
range called the Serra da Mantiqueira on the left, and a minor range,
which divides the upper course of the river from the middle part, where
it flows in the opposite direction. The appearance of the country
through which I now passed forcibly suggested to me views respecting
its geological history, which were confirmed and extended by what I
afterwards saw in the neighbourhood of Rio, and by all that I have
since been able to learn on the subject.

I had already been struck by what little I had seen of the plateau
region of the province of San Paulo. Beneath the superficial crust
of vegetable soil, the plateau appears to be formed of more or less
red arenaceous deposits, such as would result from the erosion and
decomposition of the gneiss or granite which is the only rock I had
seen in the country. In the valley of the Parahyba, the connection
was unmistakable. Every section in the valley showed thick beds of
the same coarse-grained, red arenaceous deposits, and on the slopes
the same material lay at the base of whatever masses of granite we
approached. But what especially struck me were the forms and appearance
of the mountains on either hand, if that designation could properly
be given to them. I saw nothing that would elsewhere be called a
mountain range. The outlines were in most places rounded and covered
with vegetation, but at intervals occurred steep conical masses, of
the same general type as the sugar-loaf peaks surrounding the Bay of
Rio Janeiro. However steep, the rocks nowhere showed angular peaks or
edges, these being always more or less rounded.

It would be rash to generalize from the partial observations of a
passing traveller; but the broad outlines of the geology of Brazil,
or, at least, of the eastern provinces, have now been well traced,[44]
and some general conclusions may safely be drawn. It is true that
large districts of the interior have been but partially explored, and
remain blanks on the geological map; but the eastern half of Brazil
is undoubtedly ancient land; presenting no trace of secondary strata
except in small detached areas near the coast, and where more recent
tertiary deposits are to be found only in a portion of the great valley
of the Amazons. A mountain range, having various local designations,
but which may best be called the Serra da Mantiqueira, extends from
the neighbourhood of San Paulo to the lower course of the Rio San
Francisco, for a distance of twelve hundred miles, and this is mainly
composed of gneiss, sometimes passing into true granite, syenite, or
mica schist; and the same may be said of the Serra do Mar, a less
considerable range lying between the main chain and the coast. The
southern limits of the Serra do Mar do not appear to be well-defined,
but we may estimate its length at from five to six hundred miles. The
other mountain systems of the empire are less well known; but I believe
that the ranges dividing the province of Minas Geraes from Goyaz, and
the so-called Cordillera Grande of the province of Goyaz, lying between
the two main branches of the great river Tocantins, are largely formed
of ancient sedimentary rocks of the Laurentian and Huronian groups.


The granite of the Serra da Mantiqueira and Serra do Mar is
coarse-grained, with large crystals of felspar, and is therefore
much exposed to disintegration. So far as I know, the vast masses of
detritus forming the plateaux of this region show no other materials
than such as would be produced by the disintegration of the crystalline
rocks, and there is strong reason to believe that these have never been
overlaid by sedimentary deposits.

Let us now consider what must have been the past history of a region
formed of such materials, exposed, during a large part of the past
history of the earth, to the action of the elements. In such an inquiry
one of the chief points for consideration is the amount of rainfall.
The direct effect, both mechanical and chemical, of rain falling on a
rock surface is perhaps not the most important. Still more essential is
its action in removing the disintegrated matter, and thereby exposing
a fresh surface to renewed action. The difference in the absolute
result due to abundant or deficient rainfall would be found, if we
could calculate it accurately, to be enormous. In a nearly rainless
country, such as Egypt or Peru, we see a slope covered with _débris_,
and are apt to conclude that the rock is being rapidly disintegrated;
but, in truth, what we see is the work of many, perhaps many hundred,
centuries, which remains _in situ_ because there is no agency to remove
it. In a land of heavy rainfall the _débris_ is speedily carried to
lower levels, and the work of destruction is constantly renewed.

We have scarcely any observations of rainfall in the mountain districts
of Brazil. The only reliable return that I have seen is that of one
year’s rainfall at Gongo Seco, in Goyaz, which amounted to more than
a hundred and thirty inches; but we may safely conclude that it is
everywhere very great. It is also important to note that if, as most
geologists now believe, the Atlantic valley has existed since an early
period of the earth’s history, Eastern Brazil must always have been a
land of heavy rainfall. A great mountain range on the eastern side of
the continent might have created a desert region in the interior, but
would have received in the past as much aqueous precipitation as it
does at the present time.

We have, therefore, to consider what must have been the ancient
condition of a region subjected throughout vast periods of geological
time to the utmost force of disintegrating agencies applied to a
rock very liable to yield to them, and where, without reckoning the
large proportion which must have been carried by rivers to the sea,
we see such vast deposits of the disintegrated materials formed out
of the same matrix. To my mind the conclusion is irresistible that
ancient Brazil was one of the greatest mountain regions of the earth,
and that its summits may very probably have exceeded in height any
now existing in the world. What we now behold are the ruins of the
ancient mountains, and the singular conical peaks are, as Liais has
explained, the remains of some harder masses of metamorphic gneiss,
of which the strata were tilted at a high angle. As the same writer
has remarked, although the crystalline rocks are for the most part
easily disintegrated, some portions are formed of much more resisting
materials, and these have to some extent survived the incessant action
of destructive forces.


We are far from possessing the materials for a rational estimate of
the probable extent and elevation of the ancient mountain ranges of
Brazil. In the first place, we have a plateau region occupying a large
part of the upper basin of the Paranà, with an area of fully 100,000
square miles, covered with detritus to an unknown, but certainly
considerable, depth. In addition to this, it cannot be doubted that the
finer constituents carried down by that river, and its tributary the
Paraguay, from the same original home, have largely contributed to the
formation of the Argentine pampas and Paraguay, including the northern
portion of the Gran Chaco. Borings and chemical analysis of the soil
may hereafter give us reliable data; but in the mean time we may safely
reckon that an area of 200,000 square miles has been mainly formed
from the materials derived from the ancient mountains whose importance
I endeavour to point out. In addition to all this, we should further
reckon the soluble matter and fine silt carried to the ocean during
the long course of geological history, and take into account that the
same great mountain region also furnished materials to streams which
flowed northward and eastward.

In attempting to speculate on the past history of this region it is
important to remark that, so far as evidence is available, there is
reason to believe that Brazil has undergone less considerable changes
of level than most other parts of the earth’s surface. Even if we go
back to the period of the earlier secondary rocks, there is no evidence
to show that movements of elevation or depression have exceeded a few
hundred feet.

I have attempted elsewhere[45] to give a sketch of the views which I
hold as to the probable origin of the chief types of phanerogamous
vegetation. I there pointed out that, at a period when physical
conditions in the lower regions of the earth’s surface were widely
different, and the proportion of carbonic acid gas present in the
atmosphere was very much greater than it has been since the deposition
of the coal measures, it was only in the higher region of great
mountain countries that conditions prevailed at all similar to those
now existing. I further argued that, if the early types of flowering
plants were confined, as I believe they were, to the high mountains, we
could not expect to find their remains in deposits formed in shallow
lakes and estuaries until after the probably long period during
which they were gradually modified to adapt them to altered physical


A general survey of the South American flora shows, along with elements
derived from distant regions, a large number of types either absolutely
peculiar to that continent, or which, in some cases, appear to have
spread from that centre to other areas. Of these peculiar types some
may probably have originated in the Andean chain, but as to the
majority, it seems far more probable that their primitive home was in
Brazil; and it is precisely on the ancient mountains of this region
that I should look for the ancestors of many forms of vegetation which
have stamped their character on the vegetation of the continent.

I should be the first to admit that the views here expressed have no
claim to rank as more than probable conjectures; but I hold that these,
when resting on some positive basis of facts, are often serviceable to
the progress of science, by stimulating inquiry and leading observers
to co-ordinate facts whose connection had not previously been apparent.

In following the valley, in places where the siliceous soil supported
only a scanty vegetation, I was struck by the singular appearance
of scattered piles, usually about four feet in height, having much
the appearance of rude milestones, occurring here and there in some
abundance, but never very near each other. I was often able to avail
myself of the short halts of the train at wayside stations to secure
specimens of interesting plants, but I was not able to approach near
to these unknown objects. I have no doubt, however, that they were
habitations of termites, or, as they are commonly called, white ants.
I have never been able to conjecture the origin of the instinct that
induces so many species of termites in different parts of the world to
construct dwellings in this form, nor what advantage they can derive
from it.

As the Parahyba appeared to be a rapid-flowing stream, it is probable
that in following the valley the railway descends considerably before
it reaches the point, about eighty miles north of Rio, where it
abruptly turns away from the river to make its way to the capital.
The appearance of the vegetation announced a change of climate, but I
did not notice any palms by the way. The country between the Parahyba
valley and the coast appears to be an irregular mountain tract, nowhere
of any great height, with projecting summits rising here and there
of the same general character as those already described, and the
railway follows a sinuous course so as to select the lowest depressions
between the neighbouring bosses of granite. As we wound to and fro,
constantly changing our direction amid scenes of increasing loveliness,
night closed with that suddenness to which one becomes accustomed in
the tropics, and the last part of the way was unfortunately passed in
darkness. The approach to Rio must be surpassingly beautiful, but,
beyond the fantastic outlines of the surrounding mountains, little
could be discerned save the lights of the city, visible for many miles
before we reached the railway station.

After a long drive through paved streets, I reached the English hotel
(Carson’s), and was curtly informed that the house was full. The next
in rank is the Fonda dos Estrangeiros, to which I proceeded, and found
quarters in a rather shabby room, not overclean. The general style of
the establishment and the food provided answered the same description.
It is generally admitted that the accommodation for strangers in the
capital of Brazil does not come up to the reasonable expectations of


By quitting the steamer at Santos, and travelling to Rio by land,
I had gained some slight acquaintance with a new region, but I was
well aware that I had suffered a considerable loss. The view on first
entering the Bay of Rio Janeiro is one of those spectacles that leave
an ineffaceable impression even on persons not very sensitive to
natural beauty, and one on which my fancy from early youth onwards
had most often dwelt. The pursuits of a naturalist, besides their
own fascination, offer additional rewards to all who worship in the
temple of Nature, but they also sometimes exact a sacrifice. Sallying
forth on the morning of July 8, a little under the impression of
the unattractive quarters of the night, I had but very moderate
expectations as to what might be enjoyed of the scenery in the midst of
a large city and its surroundings, but I was speedily disabused. Man
has certainly done little to set off the unequalled fascinations of the
place, but he has been powerless to conceal them. I passed a delightful
day, partly strolling much at random on foot, and occasionally availing
myself of the street-cars, which are frequented by all classes, and
afford a stranger the best opportunity for seeing something of the very
mixed population.

The famous Bay of Rio Janeiro may properly be described as a salt-water
lake, so completely is it landlocked and cut off from the open sea.
About thirty miles long and twenty in breadth, it is large enough
to allow of spacious views, yet not so large as to lose in distance
the marvellous background that is presented in every direction by
the fantastic peaks that surround it. Numerous islands stud the
surface, the larger telling their history in piles of huge blocks,
either simulating rude Cyclopean architecture, or lying in wild
confusion--granite pinnacles, half-decayed or fallen into utter ruin.
The shores are everywhere a maze of coves and inlets, in which land
and water are interlaced; and over all--the mainland and the islands
alike--the wild riot of tropical vegetation holds its sway, defying
the efforts of man to tame it to trimness. Even within the limits of
the city, which stretches for about four miles along the shore, four
or five coves present a ceaseless variety of outline. Of necessity the
plan is completely irregular. Where a space of level ground opens out
between the shore and the rocks, the city has spread out; where the
rocks approach the water’s edge, it is narrowed in places to a single
street. In architecture, since the great era of Alcobaça and Batalha,
the Portuguese have not achieved much, and their descendants in South
America have done little to adorn the capital of their great empire.
The largest building, the imperial palace, might easily be taken for a
barrack. Nature has undertaken the decoration of the city, and, amid
the palms, and under the shade of large-leaved tropical trees in the
public walks and gardens, the absence of sightly buildings is not felt.

The suburb of Botafogo, which is the fashionable quarter, lies on
the shores of the most beautiful of the coves round which the city
has grown up. It mainly consists of a range of handsome villas facing
the sea, each with a charming garden, and, in this season, must be a
delightful residence. But it is generally admitted that the climate
of Rio is debilitating to European constitutions. As compared with
most coast stations in the tropics the heat is not excessive--the mean
temperature of the warmest month (February) is not quite 80° Fahr.,
and that of the coldest (July) about 70°; but most Europeans, and
especially those of Germanic stock, require to be braced by intervals
of cold, if they are to endure a hot climate with impunity. The annual
appearance of yellow fever in the city supplies a still stronger
motive to many of the foreign residents for fixing their abode amongst
the hills. The chief resort, which in summer is frequented by most
of the wealthier classes, is the well-known Petropolis, in the Organ
Mountains, or Serra dos Orgãos, that rise beyond the northern shores of
the bay.


From Botafogo I directed my steps towards the Botanic Garden, and, as
usual among people of Portuguese descent, found great readiness in
giving information to strangers. Following a road that turned away from
the shore, I seemed to have left the city far behind, and be quite in
the country; but presently another beautiful dark blue cove opened
out before me, and again turning inland I reached the garden. I must
confess to a feeling of something like disappointment at the famous
avenue of palms. It has been correctly described as reproducing the
effect of the aisle of a great Gothic cathedral, and the defect, as
it seemed to me, is that the reproduction is too faithful. The trees
of _Oreodoxa regia_, which are about a hundred feet in height, are
all exactly of the same form and dimensions, so much alike that they
appear to have been cast in the same mould, and it is difficult to
persuade one’s self that they are not artificial productions. It may
not be easy to say why the same uniformity which satisfies the eye in
a construction of stone, should fail to do so when similar forms are
represented by natural objects. I suppose the fact to be that in all
æsthetic judgments the mind is unconsciously influenced by trains of
association. Our admiration is aroused not merely by given combinations
of colour or form--by the mere visual image formed on the retina--but
is controlled by our sense of fitness. We should resent as a caprice
of the architect an irregularity in a vista of arches: among objects
endowed with life we expect some manifestation of the universal
tendency to variation.

With an intention, never fulfilled, to make a second visit to the
garden, and, under the guidance of the director, Dr. Glaziou, to make
nearer acquaintance with some of the vegetable wonders there brought
together, I returned to my hotel. Before reaching Rio, I had decided
to devote most of my short remaining time to a visit to the Organ
Mountains, and to make Petropolis my head-quarters. As there was no
especial reason for delay, I started for that place on the morning of
the following day, July 9.

I shall make no attempt to describe the beauties of the bay as they
were successively unfolded during the short passage to and from
Petropolis. From early youth the Bay of Naples has ever appeared to
me so perfectly beautiful that I was very reluctant to admit the
pretensions of a rival. Even now I can well understand that some may
find the pictures presented to the eye on the charmed coasts of our
Mediterranean bay more complete, and the tints of the shores and
sea and sky more harmonious; but there could be no doubt as to the
gorgeous vesture that everywhere adorns this land. The vegetation of
the Mediterranean coasts seems but poor and homely after the eye has
dwelt on the luxuriance of tropical life, as though one were to compare
a garb of homespun with trappings of velvet and embroidery. The islands
of the bay present a ceaseless variety. Some are mere rocks, on which
sea-birds of unknown aspect stood perched. Many of the larger are
inhabited, and one, as I heard, has a population of thirteen hundred
souls, and several charming villas showed it to be a favourite resort.


In about an hour and a half from the city, the little steamer ran
alongside of a wooden jetty at a spot on the northern side of the bay
facing the bold range of the Organ Mountains, which extend for over
twenty miles in an easterly direction. Between the northern shore and
the foot of the mountains is a level swampy tract, evidently filled up
by the detritus borne down by the numerous streams, and beyond this
the mountain range rises very abruptly from the plain. Somewhat to my
disappointment, I ascertained that Petropolis lies at a considerable
distance from the higher part of the Organ range to which my attention
had hitherto been directed. It is towards its eastern extremity that
the Serra shows that remarkable series of granitic pinnacles of nearly
equal height, appearing vertical from a distance, that suggested the
likeness to the pipes of an organ whence these mountains obtained their
name. The height of the loftier part has been estimated at 7500 feet
above sea-level. I do not think that any of the summits near Petropolis
can surpass the level of 5000 feet.

A short train with a small locomotive carried passengers for Petropolis
across the low tract to the point where the ascent abruptly commences,
a distance of nine or ten miles. The marshy plain is doubtless
fever-stricken, and we passed very few houses on the way to the
terminus, which is appropriately named Raiz da Serra. The construction
of a railway on the slope leading thence to Petropolis, up which trains
should be drawn by a wire rope, had been commenced, but at the time
of my visit passengers were conveyed in carriages, each drawn by six
or eight mules. A well-kept and well-engineered road--by far the best
mountain road that I have seen in any part of America--leads to the
pass or summit of the ridge that divides Petropolis from the Bay of
Rio. The views during the ascent, especially in looking back over the
bay, were entrancing, and new and strange forms of vegetation showed
themselves at each turn of the road. From the summit, a gentle descent
of a couple of miles leads to the main street of Petropolis.

The place lies about 2900 feet above the sea, in a basin or depression
amidst forest-covered hills. The abundant rains of this region have
carved the surface into a multitude of little dells and recesses,
separated by hills and knolls of various size and height, leaving in
their midst one comparatively broad space, where most of the buildings
are grouped. The streamlets that issue from every nook in the mountains
are finally united in two streams that flow in opposite directions, but
both, I believe, ultimately find their way northward to the Parahyba.
The streamlets have been turned to account by the inhabitants, for
on each side of the main streets a rivulet of crystal water serves
to maintain the vigour of a line of trees supplying the one need of
the long summer--shelter from the vertical midday sun. In the present
season (mid-winter) only one hotel was open; but in summer, when all
who can do so escape from the oppressive heat of Rio, two or three
others are generally crowded. It is at once apparent that Petropolis
is a place for rest and enjoyment, not for business. The few shops and
hotels are all in the main street, Rua do Imperador; the other streets,
or roads, lie between ranges of detached villas, each with a garden,
and here and there some more secluded habitation is withdrawn into some
nook on the margin of the forest.


The large majority of the trees and shrubs of this region have
persistent leaves, but a few lose their foliage annually in winter, and
a few others, I believe, during the heat of summer. The only prominent
reminder of the fact that we were in winter was the appearance of
the _Bombax_ trees that line the main street, now completely bare
of foliage. The tree commonly planted in this part of Brazil is, I
believe, the _Bombax pubescens_ of botanists. The fruit, with its
copious silky appendage to the seeds, alone remained at this season;
but when covered with a mass of large white flowers, it must have a
gorgeous appearance.

I cannot feel sure that every naturalist will approve of the
resolution, which I very soon formed, to remain as long as was possible
at Petropolis. To reach the higher summits of the Organ Mountains would
have required at least three or four days’ travel, and at this season
I could expect to see very little of the vegetation of the higher
zone. In the mean time, I found in the immediate neighbourhood, within
a radius of four or five miles, an unexhausted variety of objects of
interest, and the attractions of the place were doubtless heightened by
the fortunate circumstances in which I found myself. It is certain that
the ten days that I spent at this fascinating spot remain in my memory
as the nearest approach to a visit to the terrestrial paradise that I
can expect to realize. Besides the British minister, Mr. Corbett, I
was fortunate enough to make the acquaintance of two English families,
whose constant kindness and hospitality largely contributed to the
enjoyment of my stay. To find in the midst of the marvels of tropical
nature the charms of cultivated society, was a combination that I had
not ventured to promise to myself.

Although I never went farther than five or six miles from my
head-quarters, the variety of delightful walks in every direction
seemed to be inexhaustible; go where one would, it seemed certain
that one could not go wrong. I soon ascertained, indeed, that it is
useless to attempt to penetrate the forests, except by following a
road or cleared path. My first lesson was on the slope of a little
hill some three hundred feet in height that overlooks the town. I was
told that there was a path on the farther side, but, seeing the ground
partly open, with trees of small stature not much crowded together, I
resolved to follow the straight course. The ascent cost me over two
hours of hard work, and I accomplished it only with the help of a sharp
knife, by which to cut through the tangle of vegetation. In the midst
of this I was surprised to find tall fronds of our common English
bracken (_Pteris aquilina_), a fern that has been able to adapt its
constitution to all but the most extreme climates of the world. The
little hill that cost me so much labour had been completely cleared ten
years before, so that all the trees and shrubs had grown up since that


The first excursion recommended to every stranger at Petropolis is that
to the Falls of Itamariti. I went there twice, varying somewhat my
course--the first time with a horse, which I found quite unnecessary
and rather an incumbrance; the second time alone. The falls are not
very considerable. A stream so slender that it can be passed by
stepping-stones falls over two ledges of granite rock, together about
forty feet in height; but, framed in a mass of the most luxuriant
tropical vegetation, the whole forms a lovely picture. For some reason
which I did not learn, the forest on the slopes of the lower part of
the glen below the falls had been felled just before my visit, and
its beauty had vanished, but fortunately the arm of the destroyer was
arrested before reaching the falls.

As happens to every stranger in a tropical forest, I was bewildered
amidst the great variety of trees that struggle for supremacy, the
one condition for victory being to get a full share of the glorious
sunshine overhead. By vigorous tugging at one of the _lianes_ that hung
like a rope from a branch sixty feet above my head, I succeeded in
breaking off a fragment, and identifying one of the larger trees as a
species of fig, with large, oval, leathery leaves somewhat like those
of a magnolia. It is needless to say that each tree is invaded by a
host of enemies--parasites that fatten on its substance, comparatively
harmless epiphytes that cling to the branches, and hosts of climbing
lianes that mount to the topmost branches, robbing them of their share
of sunlight, and hang down, often twined together, and in the deep
shade are generally mere bare flexible stems. It was strange to observe
that one of the deadliest enemies, a small parasite, fixing itself
near the ground on the trunks of the larger trees, is a species of
fig, belonging to the same genus as some of the giants of the forest,
and doubtless tracing its descent from a common ancestor. It is in the
tropical forest that one feels the force of Darwin’s phrase “struggle
for existence,” as applied to the vegetable world. In our latitudes
it is by an effort of the imagination that we realize the fact that
in our fields and woodlands there is a contest going on between rival
claimants for the necessary conditions of life. Here we see ourselves
in the midst of a scene of savage warfare. The great climbers, like
monstrous boas, that twine round and strangle the branch, remind one
of the Laocoon; the obscure parasite that eats into the trunk of a
mighty tree till a great cavity prepares its downfall, testifies to the
destructive power of an insidious enemy.


It is only in the more open spots that a botanist is able to make
close acquaintance with the smaller trees and shrubs. Near to the
stream I was able to hook down a branch and secure flowering specimens
of a _Begonia_ that grew to a height of over twenty feet. In such
situations _Melastomaceæ_ were everywhere abundant, but for variety
of forms the ferns surpassed any of the families of flowering plants.
I was surprised to find that the beautiful tree ferns, that add so
much to the charm of the tropical flora, were rarely to be found
with fructification, and the huge fronds being of quite unmanageable
dimensions, I did not attempt to collect specimens. Of the smaller
kinds, when I was able, with the kind assistance of Mr. Baker, of Kew,
to name my specimens, I found that I had collected thirty-five species
in the neighbourhood of Petropolis.

During my stay here I visited a German gentleman whose singular
manner of life excites the interest and curiosity of the European
residents. I am ignorant of the motives that have led Mr. Doer,
evidently an educated and cultivated man, to lead the life of a
hermit far from his native country. He has built for himself a small
house in the forest, on one of the hills that enclose the basin of
Petropolis, and lives quite alone, except for the daily visit of a
boy who carries the provisions that satisfy his very moderate wants.
He seems to be entirely occupied in studying the habits of the native
animals of the country, and especially those of the Lepidopterous
insects--butterflies and moths--that adorn this region. By attention
to the habitual food of the various species, he has succeeded in
keeping in his house the caterpillars that in due time produce the
perfect insect, and has preserved in cabinets large collections of fine

At the suggestion of the friend who accompanied me, Mr. Doer was good
enough to introduce me to the family of small monkeys which he has
raised and domesticated. The senior members had been brought from
some place in Northern Brazil, but they had multiplied, some of the
offspring being born in his house, and now formed a rather numerous
party. The creatures habitually passed the day in the forest, never,
in Mr. Doer’s belief, wandering to a distance from the house, and at
night came in and nestled among the rafters of the roof. The call was
by a peculiar note, somewhat resembling a low whistle, repeated two or
three times, and before a minute had elapsed the little creatures came
swarming about the open window. They were decidedly pretty, their large
black eyes giving an impression of intelligence, but I did not detect
any indication of attachment to their master. I cannot say to what
species they belonged. They had large ears like those of the marmoset,
but differed in having a prehensile tail. One of them hung with his
head downward, suspended by the tail from some projection above the
window. After receiving some fragments of sweetmeat they soon departed,
returning to their favourite haunts among the trees of the forest.

Starting early one morning, and reaching the crest of the range that
divides Petropolis from the Bay of Rio Janeiro, I enjoyed in great
perfection a spectacle that is commonly visible at this season when the
weather is clear and settled. Before sunrise a stratum of mist extends
over the bay and the low country surrounding it. As I saw it, this
may have been about a thousand feet in thickness when the sun first
reached it, and the fantastic summits of the mountains rose like islets
from a sea of dazzling white. As the sun’s rays began to act, the mist
appeared to melt away from above; the lower hills and the rocky islands
of the bay emerged in succession, and finally the veil completely
disappeared, and the whole wondrous view was completely disclosed.


The beautiful effects displayed in the gradual disappearance of mist
as seen from a height in early morning must be familiar to every
genuine mountaineer, and may be enjoyed amongst the hills of the
British Islands. Among my own recollections, a certain morning, when
I stood alone at sunrise on the highest peak of the Pilatus, near
Lucerne, showed the phenomenon in a most striking way, accompanied as
it was by the coloured halo that surrounds the shadow of the observer
thrown on the cloud-stratum below. But in my previous experience the
disappearance of the mist was always accompanied by the upward movement
of some portions of the mass. The surface appears to heave under the
action of force acting from below, and some masses are generally
carried up so as temporarily to envelope the observer. In the view over
the Bay of Rio I was much farther away from the surface of the mist
than in previous experiences of the kind, and I may have been misled by
distance from the scene of action, but, though watching attentively, I
saw no appearance of heaving of the surface or any break in its regular
form. The waste seemed to proceed altogether from the upper surface,
and the emergence of the prominent objects in regular succession gave
direct evidence to that effect.

During the first five days of my visit the weather at Petropolis was
perfectly enjoyable. The temperature varied from about 60° Fahr. at
sunrise to about 70° in the afternoon; but the effect of radiation must
have been intense, as in an exposed situation a minimum thermometer
descended on one night to 46°, and on the next to 44°, and the dew was
heavier than I have ever seen it elsewhere, so that in some places
the quantity fallen from the leaves of the trees made the ground
perfectly wet in the morning. The barometer varied very little, even
after the weather changed, and stood as nearly as possible three inches
lower than at Rio, showing a difference of level of about 2900 feet.
On the 16th of July the sky became overcast, and some rain fell in
the afternoon, the thermometer rising at two p.m. to 73° Fahr., and
moderate rain fell on each succeeding day until the evening of the
19th, but scarcely any movement of the air was perceptible. There is
a remarkable difference in the distribution of rainfall between the
part of Brazil lying within about fifteen degrees of the equator and
the region south of that limit. At Pernambuco (south lat. 8° 4′), out
of an annual rainfall of about a hundred and ten inches, nearly ninety
inches fall during the six months from March to August, and at Bahia,
with less total rainfall, the proportion is nearly the same. But at
Rio Janeiro the rainy season falls in summer, from November to March,
and winter is the dry season. Of an annual rainfall of forty-eight and
a half inches, only five and a half inches fall in the winter months,
June, July, and August, and less than an inch and a half in July. No
doubt the amount of rain is greater at a mountain station such as
Petropolis, while the proportion falling in the different seasons must
be about the same.


At Petropolis, as well as elsewhere in South America, I was struck by
the fact that the children of European parents born in the country
speedily acquire the indolent habits of the native population of
Spanish or Portuguese origin. The direct influence of climate is
doubtless one cause of the change of disposition, but I suspect that
the chief share is due to the great difference in the conditions of
life which are the indirect results of climate. Where mere existence is
so enjoyable, where physical wants are so few and so easily supplied,
the chief stimulus to exertion is wanting, and the natural distaste for
labour prevails over the hope of gain. A boy will prefer to pick up a
few pence by collecting flowers, or roots, or butterflies in the forest
near his home, to earning ten times as much by walking to a distance,
especially if expected to carry a light weight. On my first visit to
Itamariti I took with me a German boy, whom I left in charge of the
superfluous horse that I had been advised to take with me. Finding the
occupation a bore, and probably fearing that he would have to carry
back the portfolio and vasculum that I had taken for plant-collecting,
he fastened the bridle to a tree and disappeared, never coming to
claim the pay promised for his unaccomplished day’s work.

All delightful times come to an end, and, as I resolved to visit Tijuca
before departing from Brazil, I quitted Petropolis on the morning of
July 20, and made my return to Rio amid brilliant sunshine, in which
the glorious scenery of the bay renewed its indelible impression on
my memory. In passing over the tract of low land between Raiz da
Serra and the shore, partly overgrown by shrubs or small trees ten
or twelve feet in height, I found them covered with masses of large
flowers of the most brilliant purple hue, where ten days before not
a single flower had been visible. The train halted for half a minute
at a solitary half-way house, and I was able to break off a branch
from the nearest plant. It belonged, as I suspected, to the family of
_Melastomaceæ_, and is known to botanists as _Pleroma granulosum_ of
Don; but one seeing dried specimens in a European herbarium, could
form no conception of the gorgeous effect of the masses of rich colour
that were here displayed, outshining the splendours of the Indian
rhododendrons now familiar to European eyes. I again found the same
species at Tijuca; but the soil and situation were, I suppose, less
favourable, and the show of bloom was neither so rich nor so abundant.

I was told that the local name of this splendid plant is _quaresma_,
because it flowers in Lent, which in Brazil falls in autumn; but I
afterwards ascertained that the same name is given to several other
species of _Melastomaceæ_ having brilliant flowers, and it seems
improbable that the same species which I found bursting into flower in
mid-winter should have also flowered three or four months before. The
only remains of fruit that I found were dry, empty capsules that had
apparently survived the preceding summer.


Although I reached Rio some time before midday, so many matters
required my attention that I found it impossible to return for a
fuller visit to the Botanic Garden. Mr. Corbett had kindly offered to
present me to the emperor, and, if time had permitted, I should have
gladly taken the opportunity of making the personal acquaintance of
a sovereign who stands alone among living rulers for the extent and
variety of his scientific attainments, and for the active interest he
has shown in the progress of natural knowledge. Irrespective of the
qualities that appeal to the sympathies of men of science, Dom Pedro
is evidently one of the remarkable men of our time. His exceptional
energies, physical and mental, are incessantly devoted to every branch
of public affairs, and it is said that he has even succeeded in
inspiring some of his subjects with a share of his own zeal. But, so
far as I could learn, he cannot be said to have achieved popularity.
Among indolent and listless people, indefatigable industry produces an
unpleasant effect. Improvements may or may not be desirable, but they
are certain to give some trouble: it would be far pleasanter to let
things remain as they are. Perhaps, whenever the time comes for Brazil
to be deprived of the guidance of the present emperor, its people will
become sensible of the loss they have sustained.

The steamer of the Royal Mail Company was to depart on July 24, so that
no time was to be lost in making my visit to Tijuca. That place lies
among the hills north-west of the city, about nine hundred feet above
the sea, and the distance is quite inconsiderable; but the arrangements
for visitors are inconvenient. A tramway runs over the flat country
to the foot of the hill, and from the terminus the remainder of the
way is accomplished by carriage or omnibus. But no luggage is taken by
the tramway, and this has to be forwarded on the previous day. When I
reached the station, about eleven a.m. on the 21st, I had an unpleasant
quarter of an hour, during which it appeared that the case containing
most of my Petropolis collections was lost or mislaid. At length it
was found lying in an outhouse; no omnibus was available, but I soon
succeeded in hiring a carriage to convey me to Tijuca.

The country between the city and the lower slopes of the hills is
covered with the villas of wealthy natives, many of them large and
handsome houses, each surrounded by a garden or pleasure-ground. In
these grounds the mango, bread-fruit tree, and others, with large thick
leaves giving dense shade, were invariably planted; and here and there
palms, of which I thought I could distinguish four or five species,
gave to the whole the aspect of completely tropical vegetation.
Amidst the mass of trees, it was rarely possible to get a glimpse of
the exquisite scenery surrounding Rio on every side, and it was only
towards the top of the hill that I gained a view of the bay. Tijuca
lies on the farther, or westward, slope, nearly surrounded by forest,
and consists of only a few houses, of which the chief is White’s Hotel.
As I afterwards learned, Mr. White, who is engaged in business in the
city, was in the habit of hospitably entertaining his friends at a spot
which naturally attracted frequent visits, and at length judiciously
turned his house into an hotel, where a moderate number of guests find
charming scenery, comparative coolness in the hot season, and far more
of creature-comforts than are to be had in the hotels of Rio.


Time allowed me no more than a short stroll in the immediate
neighbourhood before the hour of dinner, at which I met several
intelligent and well-informed gentlemen, and amongst them three English
engineers, from whom I received much information as to the country
which they have made their home.

Amongst other questions discussed was that, so important to Europeans,
regarding the annual visitation of yellow fever and the best method of
treatment. I was especially struck by the experiences of the youngest
of the party, who had come out from England a few years before to
superintend some considerable new works for the drainage of Rio. For
two years he lived altogether in the city, constantly requiring to go
below, and sometimes remaining for hours in the main sewers. During
that time he was never attacked by the fever, and no fatal cases arose
among the workmen engaged in the same work. Since its completion this
gentleman had been engaged on other works of a more ordinary character,
and had habitually slept in the country during the hot season; but,
under conditions apparently more favourable, he had been twice stricken
by the fever. The first attack, which was probably slight, was at once
cut short by a large dose of castor oil and aconite administered by a
friend. In the following year he experienced a more serious attack, and
had been treated by a doctor of good repute, mainly with tartar emetic.
It appears that professors of the healing art in Brazil regulate their
charges, not by the amount of time or labour which they give, but
by the estimated value of the patient’s life. If he survives, it is
considered that the remuneration should be in the nature of salvage--a
considerable percentage on the amount of his income. In the present
case the young engineer had been required to pay a fee of £180. In
some cases, where the doctor’s demand appeared utterly unreasonable,
foreigners have attempted to appeal to the tribunals, but it appears
that the results of litigation have not encouraged others to resort to
the protection of the law.

In answer to my inquiries, most of my informants made light of the
difficulties of exploring the interior of Brazil, but they agreed in
the opinion that much time must be given by any traveller wishing to
break new ground. Even in the more or less fully settled provinces, the
spaces to be traversed are so great, and the means of communication so
imperfect, that a large margin must be left for unexpected delays. One
gentleman, who had travelled far in Goyaz and Matto Grosso, assured me
that he had never encountered any difficulty as to provisions. Three
articles of European origin are to be found, so he assured me, at every
inhabited place in the interior--Huntley and Palmer’s biscuits, French
sardines, and Bass’s pale ale.


July 22 was a day of great enjoyment, devoted to the immediate
neighbourhood of Tijuca, where objects of interest were so abundant
as to furnish ample occupation for many days. I have said that the
place is almost surrounded by the forest which spreads over the
adjoining hills. I now learned that less than fifty years before, at
a time when coffee-planting in Brazil became a mania, and was counted
on as everywhere a certain source of wealth, the aboriginal forest
which covered the country was completely cleared, and coffee-planting
commenced on the largest scale. Experience soon proved that the
conditions either of soil or climate were unfavourable, and after
a few years the land was again abandoned to the native vegetation.
About thirty-five years had sufficed to produce a new forest, which in
other lands might be supposed to be the growth of centuries. The trees
averaged from two to three feet in diameter, and many were at least
seventy feet in height. One of the largest is locally called _ipa_; it
belongs to the leguminous family, has a trunk nearly quite bare, and
the upper branches bore masses of cream-coloured flowers; but, finding
it impossible to obtain flower or fruit, I have been unable to identify
it. The vegetation here appeared to be even more luxuriant than that
of Petropolis, and to indicate a somewhat higher mean temperature.
The proportion of tree ferns was decidedly greater, and a good many
conspicuous plants not seen there were here abundant. Some of these,
such as _Bignonia venusta_, _Allamanda_, etc., may have strayed from
the gardens; but many more appeared to be certainly indigenous.
Of flowering plants the family of _Melastomaceæ_ was decidedly
predominant, and within a small area I collected fifteen species, eight
of which belonged to the beautiful genus _Pleroma_. One of these (_P.
arboreum_ of Gardner) is a tree growing to a height of forty feet; but
the species of this family are more commonly shrubs not exceeding ten
or twelve feet in height.

I was unfortunately not acquainted at that time with the observations
made near Tijuca by Professor Alexander Agassiz, which appear to him
to give evidence of glacial action in this part of Brazil. It would be
rash, especially for one who has not been able to examine the deposits
referred to, to controvert conclusions resting on such high authority;
but I may remark that the evidence is confessedly very imperfect, and
that the characteristic striations, either on the live rock or on the
transported blocks, which are commonly seen in the theatre of glacial
action, have not been observed. I lean to the opinion that the deposits
seen near Tijuca are of the same character as those described by M.
Liais[46] as frequent in Brazil. The crystalline rocks are of very
unequal hardness, and while some portions are rapidly disintegrated,
the harder parts resist. The disintegrated matter is washed away, and
the result is to leave a pile of blocks of unequal dimensions lying in
a confused mass.

On the following day, my last in Brazil, one of my new acquaintances
was kind enough to guide me on a short excursion in the forest, which
enabled me to approach one of the giants of the vegetable kingdom. At
the time of the clearing of the aboriginal forest two great trees were
spared. One of these had been blown down some years before my visit,
and but one now remained. It was easily recognized from a distance, as
it presented a great dome of verdure that rose high above the other
trees of the forest. The greater part of the way was perfectly easy.
A broad track, smooth enough to be passable in a carriage, has been
cleared for a distance of many miles over the forest-covered hills.


Following this amid delightful scenery, we reached a point scarcely
two hundred yards distant from the great tree. I had already learned
that even two hundred yards in a Brazilian forest are not very easily
accomplished, but I was assured that a path had been cut a year or two
before which allowed easy access to the foot of the tree. We found the
path, but it was soon apparent that it had been neglected during the
past season, and in this country a few months suffice to produce a
tangle of vegetation not easily traversed.

When at length we effected our object, we found ourselves at the
base of a cylindrical column or tower, with very smooth and uniform
surface, tapering very slightly up to the lowest branch, which was
about eighty feet over our heads. We measured the girth, and found it
just twenty-nine feet at five feet from the ground. It is needless to
say that I could form no conjecture as to the species, or even the
family, to which this giant belongs, as I was quite unable to make out
the character of the foliage. While near to it we could form no guess
as to the height; but my companion, whose profession made him used
to accurate estimates, and who had observed it from many points of
view, reckoned the height at between 180 and 200 feet. I had not then
seen the giant conifers of western North America, but, excluding the
two Sequoias, I have not found any single tree to equal this. In the
valleys of the Alleghany Mountains in Tennessee, I have indeed beheld
not unworthy rivals. The _Liriodendron_ there sends up a stem more than
seven feet in diameter, and frequently exceeds 150 feet in height.

To diminish my regret at quitting this beautiful region, the morning
of July 24 broke amid dark clouds and heavy rain, which continued till
the afternoon. I had counted on enjoying a few hours in Rio before my
departure, but, that being impossible, I went directly from Tijuca to
the landing-place, and thence on board the steamer of the Royal Mail
Company, which was to take me back to England. This was the _Tagus_,
and I had much pleasure in finding her under the command of Captain
Gillies, with whom I had made the voyage from Southampton to Colon.
In the afternoon we slowly steamed out of the bay. Its glories were
veiled, heavy clouds rested on the Organ Mountains; but the Corcovado
and the other nearer summits appeared from time to time, and the last
impression was that of fleeting images of beauty the like of which I
cannot hope again to behold.

The course for steamers from Rio Janeiro to England is as nearly as
possible direct. The coast of Brazil from Rio to Pernambuco runs
from south-south-west to north-north-east, in the same direction
that leads to Europe; and from the headland of Cabo Frio to the
entrance of the English Channel at Ushant, a distance of about 72° of
latitude and 38° of longitude, the helm is scarcely varied from the
same course. It is somewhat remarkable that in so long a voyage, in
which one passes from the Tropic of Capricorn to the region of the
variable anti-trade-winds of the northern hemisphere, it not very
rarely happens, as I was assured by our experienced captain, that
north-north-east winds are encountered throughout the entire distance.
This was nearly verified in the present case. For comparatively short
periods the wind shifted occasionally to the north and north-west;
more rarely, and at brief intervals, light breezes from the south and
south-east were experienced; but the north-east and north-north-east
winds predominated, even on the Brazilian coast, until we reached the
latitude of Lisbon.


It is an admitted fact in meteorology, that the trade-winds of the
northern are--at least in the Atlantic--stronger than those of the
southern hemisphere; but at the winter season of the south, the
south-east trade-winds prevail in the equatorial zone, and are not
rarely felt as far as eight or even ten degrees north of the equator.
But in investigating the extremely complex causes that determine the
direction of air currents, and especially those slight movements that
make what is called a breeze, it is difficult to trace the separate
effect of each agent. The neighbourhood of a coast constantly brings
local causes into play, and it may well be that the rapid condensation
of large masses of vapour, such as occurs at each heavy fall of rain,
may determine temporary currents in the air in directions opposed to
the general and ordinary march of the winds. Irrespective, however, of
any such local causes, we must bear in mind the general tendency of
air currents towards motion of a circular or spiral character. When we
meet a breeze blowing in a direction contrary to that which ordinary
experience leads us to expect, we must not forget the possibility that
it may be a portion of the ordinary current which has formed an eddy.
The main facts of meteorology are now well established, but the local
deviations may give room for prolonged study.

Although I knew that the delay at both places would be short, I looked
forward with much interest to the prospect of landing at Bahia and
Pernambuco. The latter place especially is known to be the chief mart
for the natural productions of Equatorial America. Skins of animals,
birds living and dead, gorgeous butterflies and shells, are easily
procurable; and a mere visit to the fish and vegetable markets is
sure to make a visitor acquainted with objects of interest. But my
expectations were doomed to disappointment.

We reached Bahia on the morning of July 27. The city stands on a point
of land north of the entrance to an extensive bay, called by the
Portuguese Bahia de Todos Santos, and the proper name of the city is
São Salvador; but the concurrent practice of foreigners has established
the name now in general use. The steamer lay in the roadstead nearly
a mile from the shore, and the heavy boats, carrying some passengers
for Europe, moved slowly as they pitched to and fro in the swell of
the sea. Just as they came alongside, rain suddenly burst in a torrent
from the clouds, which had formed in the course of a few minutes.
For the first time in my journey, I regretted the omission to have
supplied myself with a waterproof cloak. A thorough wetting in tropical
countries usually entails an attack of fever, and for that I was not
prepared; so, along with two or three other passengers who wished to go
ashore, I remained in the main deck. The rain ceased, and there was an
interval of sunshine; but the torrential showers were renewed two or
three times before we resumed our voyage in the afternoon.


I have already noticed the contrast that exists between the winter
and summer climate of this part of Brazil and that of Rio and the
southern provinces. In the latter the rainy season is in summer, while
nearer the equator, although no season can be called dry, the chief
rainfall occurs in winter--that is to say, in the season when the sun
is farthest from the zenith. While passing through the equatorial
zone, when intervals of bright weather alternated with extremely heavy
rain, I frequently consulted the barometer, but was unable to trace
the slightest connection between atmospheric pressure and rainfall,
the slight oscillations observed being due to the diurnal variation
everywhere sensible in the tropics.

The temperature on this part of the coast was only moderately warm,
varying from 76° to 78° Fahr. on this and the following day, when we
called at Maceio, a place of increasing commercial importance. Our
stay was so short that no one attempted to go ashore, although the
weather was favourable. Several whales were seen both on the 27th and
28th, but I failed to ascertain to what species they belonged.

On the evening of the 28th we experienced a decided rise of
temperature; three hours after sunset the thermometer still stood at
81° Fahr., and, with two remarkable intervals, it did not fall below
80° during the following eight days. During that time my attention
was often directed to the physiological effects of heat on the human
economy, and both my own experience and the conflicting testimony
of travellers lead me to conclude that there are many facts not yet
satisfactorily explained.

On the enfeebling effect of moist tropical climates there is a general
agreement, both as to the fact and the chief cause; but, as I have
remarked in a preceding page, the circumstance that this is little or
not at all experienced at sea is apparently anomalous. With regard to
the direct effect of the sun’s rays on the surface of the body, and
especially in the production of sun-stroke, the evidence of scientific
travellers is conflicting, and the explanations offered are by no means
satisfactory. On the one hand, it is asserted on good authority that in
the equatorial zone the direct effect of the sun is far greater than
it is in Europe at the same elevation above the horizon. The rapid
reddening and blistering of the skin where exposed, and sun-stroke
from exposure of the head, are said to be the ordinary effects. Being
extremely sensitive to solar heat, I have always carefully protected
my head, and have avoided rash experiments. Of the reddening and
blistering of the skin I have had very frequent experience in Europe,
upon the Alps and other mountains; but I observed none but very slight
effects of this kind in the tropics, even with a nearly vertical sun,
either on land or while at sea. Dr. Hann[47] cites many statements on
the subject. In the West Indies cases of sun-stroke are rare, and the
inhabitants expose themselves without danger. In nearly all parts of
British India, as is too well known, the danger of exposing the head to
the sun is notorious, and the same is certainly true of most parts of
tropical Africa.


The most obvious suggestion is that, inasmuch as dry air absorbs less
of the solar heat than air charged with aqueous vapour, the injurious
effects should be more felt in dry climates than in damp ones. But,
so far as what is called sun-stroke is concerned, the balance of
evidence is opposed to this conclusion. Sir Joseph Fayrer, who has had
wide experience in India, expressly asserts that the hot dry winds
in Upper India induce less cases of sun-stroke than the moist though
cooler climate of Bengal and Southern India. Dr. Hann quotes Borius
for a statement that in Senegambia the rainy season is that in which
sun-stroke commonly occurs, while he further asserts that on the Loango
coast, in very similar climatal conditions, the affection is almost
unknown, and that Europeans even expose the head to the sun with

My own conclusion, fortified by that of eminent authorities, is
that the phenomena here discussed are of a very complex nature; that
different physical agencies are concerned in the various effects
produced on the body; and that most probably there are many different
pathological affections which have been classed together, but which,
when more fully studied, will be recognized as distinct.

In the first place, I apprehend that the action of the sun which causes
discolouration and blistering of the skin has no relation to that
which causes sun-stroke. It is a local effect confined to the surfaces
actually exposed, and, if it could be accurately registered, would
serve the purpose of an actinometer, depending as it does on the amount
of radiant heat reaching the surface in a unit of time.

Sun-stroke proper is, I believe, an affection of the cerebro-spinal
system arising from the overheating of those parts of the body. It
is by no means confined to the tropics, or to very hot countries, as
many cases occur annually in Europe, and still more frequently in the
eastern states of North America.

Nearly allied to sun-stroke, but perhaps sufficiently different to
deserve separate classification, are those attacks which some writers
style cases of thermic fever, which arise mainly in places where the
body is for a continuance exposed to temperatures exceeding the normal
amount of the human body. In producing thermic fever, it would appear
that the depressing effect of a hot moist climate acts powerfully as a
predisposing cause, and such cases not uncommonly arise where there has
been no exposure whatever to the direct rays of the sun.


It is easy to understand that, as a general rule, seamen are less
exposed than other classes to any of the injurious effects of heat, but
it is remarkable that they should enjoy complete exemption. Cases are
not very uncommon among seamen going ashore in hot countries, but I
have not found a well-authenticated case of sun-stroke arising on board
ship; and cases of thermic fever in the Red Sea usually arise in the
engine-room of a steamer rather than among the men on deck.

On the morning of July 29 we reached Pernambuco, to which I had looked
forward as the last Brazilian city that I was likely to see. It had
been described to me as the Venice of South America, and the comparison
is to a slight extent justified by its position on a lagoon of smooth
water, separated from the open roadstead by a coral reef several miles
in length. It enjoys the further distinction, unusual in a place within
eight degrees of the equator, of being remarkably healthy. But on this
occasion fortune was against me.

No doubt for some sufficient reason, we did not enter the rather
intricate passage leading inside the reef, but lay to in rough water
outside. For a short time the scene was brilliant. The hot sun beat
down on the deep blue water, and lit up the foam on the crests of the
dancing waves, and the sky overhead showed such a pure azure that one
could not suppose the air to be saturated with vapour. Before long
boats were seen approaching, tossed to and fro in the broken water; but
before they drew near, heavy clouds had gathered in the course of a few
minutes, and a torrent of water was discharged such as I had never
experienced except in passing under a waterfall. As each boat came
alongside, a seat was let down from the upper deck, and the passengers
were hoisted up in turn, those who had not efficient waterproofs being
as thoroughly drenched as if they had been dipped in the sea. Four or
five times during the day the sky cleared, the blazing sun returned,
and the decks were nearly dry, when another downpour of torrential rain
drove us all to seek shelter, each shower lasting only from ten to
fifteen minutes.

During the hotter hours of the day a rather strong breeze set in
towards the shore, and I have no doubt that it is to its full exposure
to this ordinary sea-breeze that the city owes its comparative
healthiness. It was interesting to watch the manœuvres of the
_catamarans_, in which the native fishermen were pursuing their
avocations. This most primitive of sea-craft is formed of two or three
logs well spliced together, with some weight to serve as ballast
fastened underneath. In the forepart a stout stick some ten feet long
stands up as a mast and supports a small sail, and amid-ships a short
rail, supported on two uprights, enabled the two men who form the crew
to hold on when much knocked about by the waves. A single paddle seems
to serve as a rudder, but it is not easy to understand how such a rude
substitute for a boat is able to work out to sea against the breeze
which commonly sets towards the shore.

A large proportion of the steerage passengers who came on board at
Bahia and Pernambuco were Portuguese returning to their native country
after a residence, either as artisans or as agricultural settlers,
in Brazil. My command of the language is unfortunately so limited
that I failed to extract from these fellow-passengers any interesting
information. With scarcely an exception, each carried at least one
parrot, usually intended for sale at Lisbon, where it appears that they
are in some request. Comparatively high prices are given for birds that
freely simulate human speech.


We were under steam in the afternoon of the 29th, and soon lost to
view the South American continent. On the following day the barometer
for the first time showed the diminution of pressure which is normally
found in the equatorial zone. Between nine a.m. and four p.m. the
ship’s mercurial barometer fell about a quarter of an inch from 30·30
to 30·06 inches, and my aneroid showed nearly the same amount of
difference. It must be remembered, however, that nearly one-half of the
effect (at least one-tenth of an inch) must be set down to the daily
oscillation of the height of the barometer, which so constantly occurs
within the tropics, the highest pressures recurring at ten a.m. and ten
p.m., and the lowest about four p.m. and four a.m.

I carried with me on this journey only a single aneroid barometer,
an excellent instrument by Casella, whose performance was very
satisfactory, and which in a very short time returned to its normal
indication after exposure to diminished pressure in the Andes; but
it had the defect, which, so far as I know, is common to the aneroid
instruments by the best makers, that the temperature at which the
scale is originally laid down by comparison with a standard mercurial
barometer is not indicated on the face of the instrument. Assuming that
the aneroid is compensated for variations of temperature, and I have
found this to be the case within ordinary limits in good instruments,
there remains the question to what height of mercury at what
temperature a given reading of the aneroid corresponds. For scientific
purposes it is customary to reduce the reading of the mercurial
barometer to the temperature of the freezing-point of water, and it is
often supposed that the aneroid reading corresponds to that figure. But
we may feel pretty confident that the maker, in laying down the scale,
did not work in a room at freezing-point. I have been accustomed to
assume 15° Cent., or 59° Fahr., as about the probable temperature with
instruments made in our climate.

In the present case, the barometer-reading of 30·06 inches at the
temperature of 84° Fahr. would (neglecting the small correction for
capillarity) be reduced by about fourteen-hundredths of an inch, in
order to give the correct figure at freezing-point; but for comparison
with an aneroid, supposed to have been laid down at 59° Fahr., the
correction would be a fraction over seven-hundredths of an inch. As
a matter of fact, my aneroid marked at four p.m. 29·89 inches, or,
allowing for the correction, just one-tenth of an inch less than the
ship’s mercurial barometer, and, as I believe, was more nearly correct.

As the sun was declining on the evening of July 30, we sighted the
remarkable island of Fernando Noronha. It lies about four degrees south
of the equator, and more than two hundred miles from the nearest
point of the Brazilian coast. The outline is singular, for the rough
hills which cover most of the surface terminate at the western end
of the island in a peak surmounted by a column, in the form of a
gigantic lighthouse, which must rise over a thousand feet above the
sea-level.[48] Although Darwin passed some hours on the island in 1832,
it remains to the present day one of the least known of the Atlantic
islands, so far as regards its natural productions. A fellow-passenger
who had landed there assured me that he had found granite; but I have
no doubt that the island is exclusively of volcanic origin, for such is
the opinion of the few scientific men who have visited it.


The island has been converted by the Brazilian Government into a
convict station, and in consequence access by strangers has become
very difficult. Such information as we possess is mainly to be found
in Professor Moseley’s account of the voyage of the _Challenger_. On
landing there with Sir G. Nares, he at first obtained permission from
the governor to visit the island and to collect natural objects; but
the permission was very soon retracted, and he was unable to obtain
specimens of several singular shrubs that abound and give the island
the appearance of being covered with forest.

Now that the attention of naturalists has been directed to the especial
interest attaching to the fauna and flora of oceanic islands, and their
liability to extinction owing to competition from species introduced
by settlers, it may be hoped that the exploration of this small but
remarkable island will before long be undertaken by a competent
naturalist. For that purpose it would be, in the first place, necessary
to obtain the permission of the Brazilian Government, and to secure the
means of existence during a stay of ten or twelve days on the island.
The most effectual means would be through direct personal application
to the emperor, who is well known to take a lively interest in all
branches of natural science.

With the thermometer standing about 82°, the passengers naturally
preferred the upper deck to the close air of the saloon, and were
resting in their ship-chairs between nine and ten p.m., when suddenly
there came an outburst of coughing and sneezing, followed by demands
for muffling of every kind. There was no sensible movement in the air,
but I found that the thermometer had fallen to 79° Fahr., and there was
a feeling of chilliness which was not easily explained by that slight
fall of temperature.

The mystery was explained on consulting the chief officer, who
throughout the voyage paid much attention to the temperature of the
sea. Since leaving Pernambuco, the thermometer in buckets brought
up from the surface had varied only between 82° and 83°. On this
evening we had abruptly encountered a relatively cold current, with a
temperature somewhat below 76°, and the effect of being surrounded by
a body of cool water when the skin was in the condition usual in the
tropics was felt by nearly all the passengers.


With slight variation, this comparatively cool current must have
extended over a large area on both sides of the equator, as the
temperature of the water remained nearly the same for about forty-eight

Throughout the voyage from Brazil to Europe, I was fortunate in
enjoying the society of a man of remarkable intelligence, who has
been a diligent and accurate observer of nature in a region still
imperfectly known. M. Georges Claraz, by birth a Swiss, belonging to a
family of small proprietors in the Canton of Fribourg, had gone out as
a young man to improve his fortune in South America. He had received a
fair scientific education, having followed the lectures of the eminent
men who have adorned the Polytechnic School at Zurich; but, what is
much more rare, he appeared to have retained everything that he had
ever learned, and to have had a clear perception of the scientific
value of the observations that a stranger may make in a little-known
region. After passing some time in the state of Entrerios, he had
settled at Bahia Blanca, close to the northern border of Patagonia. He
had established friendly relations with the Indians, and made frequent
excursions in the interior of Patagonia and southward as far as, and
even beyond, the river Chubat.

During the entire time, although engaged in the work of a settler, M.
Claraz seems to have made careful notes of his observations--on the
native Indians and their customs; on the indigenous and the domestic
animals; on the plants and their uses; on the mineral structure of the
country, not omitting to take specimens of the mud brought down by the
different rivers; and on general physics. Of his large collections
I trust that the greater part have safely reached Switzerland. A
considerable collection of dried plants, sent home while he resided at
Bahia Blanca, was unfortunately lost. He was good enough, after his
return, to send me a smaller collection remaining in his hands, of
which I gave an account in the _Journal of the Linnæan Society_ for

As I trust that the great store of information collected by M.
Claraz will before long be given to the world, I should not wish to
anticipate the appearance of his work, but I may say that among many
interesting particulars, several of which I noted at the time, I was
especially struck by the evidence collected among the Indians, which
seemed to prove that the _Glyptodon_ survived in Patagonia down to a
comparatively recent period, and that the tradition of its presence is
preserved in the stories and songs of the natives.

Early on July 31 we passed the equator, but it was not till ten p.m.
on the following day that we escaped from the area of cool water and
found the ordinary equatorial temperature of 82·5°. During the three
following days the weather was hot and relaxing, the thermometer
ranging by day between 84° and 85°. For some hours on the 2nd of
August the wind came from south-south-east, but before evening it
backed to west, and blew from that point rather freshly at night. On
the following day we appeared to have met the north-east trade-wind,
which was, however, a gentle breeze, and occasionally veered to the


In the afternoon of August 4 we made out the picturesque outline of the
Cape Verde Islands, and before sunset entered the channel between St.
Vincent and St. Antão, finally dropping anchor for the night in the
outer part of the fine harbour of St. Vincent. Having been selected as
a coaling station, this has become the chief resort of steamers plying
between Europe and the Southern Atlantic, and we were led to expect
that the operation would take up great part of the following day. Here
a fresh disappointment awaited me. I had confidently reckoned upon
spending several hours ashore, and seeing something of the curious
vegetation of the island, which includes a scanty representation of
tropical African types, with several forms allied to the characteristic
plants of the Canary Islands.

I had not duly taken account of the perverse temper of the officers of
health, whose chief object in life seems everywhere to be to make their
authority felt by the needless annoyance they cause to unoffending
fellow-creatures. We had left Rio with a clean bill of health; not
a single case of yellow fever had occurred for months before our
departure; but Brazil is regarded as permanently “suspected,” and
quarantine regulations were strictly enforced in our case.

I am far from believing that in certain conditions, and as regards
certain diseases, judicious quarantine regulations may not be
effective; but, reckoning up all the loss and inconvenience, and the
positive damage to health, arising from the sanitary regulations now
enforced, I question whether it would not be better for the world if
the system were entirely abolished.

The view of St. Vincent, backed by a bold and stern mountain mass, on
which scarcely a trace of vegetation is visible from a distance, was
for some time sufficiently interesting; but as the day wore on, and the
sun beat down more fiercely, life on board became less agreeable. To
keep out the penetrating coal dust all the ports were closed, and, with
the thermometer at 90°, the air below was stifling, and the passengers
generally preferred to remain on deck, and breathe the hot air mixed
with the coal dust that arose from the open bunkers.

I offered two of the boatmen who hung about the ship three milreis if
they would land on an uninhabited part of the bay, which I pointed
out to them, and collect for me every plant they found growing, and I
was well pleased when, after two or three hours, they returned with a
respectable bundle of green foliage. Under the vigilant eyes of the
officers of health the specimens were hauled up to the deck, while the
three dollars were thrown into the boat. It is remarkable that coin is
nowhere supposed to convey contagion.

When I came to examine it, I found to my disgust that the bouquet
included only the leaves of two species, with no trace of flower or
fruit. One was most probably _Nicotiana glauca_, introduced from
tropical America; the other a leguminous shrub, possibly a _Cassia_,
but quite uncertain.

The rest of the passengers spent most of the day in bargaining with the
hucksters who flocked round the ship. Ornaments made from palm leaves,
sweetmeats of very suspicious appearance, photographs, and tobacco in
various forms, were the chief articles of traffic, and the main object
seemed to be to prolong the chaffering and bargaining over each article
so as to kill as much time as possible. More attractive in appearance
were the tropical fruits, of which those suitable to a dry climate
grow here in perfection. In spite of persevering efforts, I have never
developed much appreciation of the banana as an article of diet, but I
thought those obtained here much the best that I have anywhere eaten.


General satisfaction was felt when, the work of coaling being finished,
the ship was again in motion, with her head set towards Europe. On
returning to the channel between the islands, and still more when we
had got well out to sea, we encountered a rather strong breeze right
ahead, which with varying force continued for the next four days. This
was, of course, the regular trade-wind of the North Atlantic, and had
the agreeable effect of lowering the temperature, which at once fell
to 78°. Along with the trade-wind, the sea-current apparently travels
in the same direction. It is certain that the temperature of the water
was here much lower. Before reaching St. Vincent we found it between
80° and 81° Fahr., while after leaving the islands it had fallen to
74°. This temperature remained nearly constant for three days, but
on the evening of the 9th, in about 27° north latitude, we abruptly
encountered another current of still cooler water, in which the
thermometer fell to 69°.

The force of the wind never, I think, exceeded what seamen describe
as a fresh breeze, but it sufficed to cause at times considerable
disturbance of the surface; and on the afternoon of the 6th we shipped
some heavy seas, so that it was found expedient to slacken speed for a

I have alluded in a former page to the ordinary observation that in the
track of the trade-winds the breeze usually falls off about sunset.
It is more difficult to account for the opposite phenomenon, which we
experienced on three successive evenings from the 7th to the 9th of
August, when the force of the wind increased in a marked degree after

I was also struck by the fact that the temperature of the air
throughout the voyage from St. Vincent to the mouth of the Tagus seemed
to be unaffected either by the varying force of the wind or by the fall
in surface-temperature of the sea, to which I have above referred.
On board ship in clear weather it is very difficult to ascertain the
true shade temperature when the sun is much above the horizon, but the
observations made at sunrise and after nightfall from the evening of
the 5th to the morning of the 11th varied very slightly, the utmost
range being from 77·5° to 73°.

Some points in the Canary Islands are often visible in the voyage from
Brazil to Europe, especially the lofty peak of Palma; but we passed
this part of the course at night, and nothing was seen. As we drew near
to Europe, the wind, through keeping the same direction, gradually fell
off to a gentle breeze, and the surface of the water became glassy
smooth, heaving gently in long undulations. The relative effect of
smooth or rough water on the speed of steamers is remarkable, and was
shown by the fact that during the twenty-four hours ending at noon on
the 11th of August the _Tagus_ accomplished a run of 295 knots, while
three days before, with only a gentle breeze but rougher water, the run
to noon was only 240 knots.


Early in the afternoon of the 11th, the Rock of Lisbon at the mouth
of the Tagus was distinctly visible, and we slowly entered the river
and cast anchor at the quarantine station below Belem. Our captain,
after the experience of St. Vincent, did not expect to obtain pratique
at Lisbon, and with more or less grumbling the passengers had made up
their minds to remain on board, when, after a long deliberation, the
unexpected news, “admitted to pratique,” was rapidly spread through
the ship, and we moved up to the anchorage opposite the picturesque
old tower of Belem, which the true mariner must always regard as one
of his holy places. It marks the spot wherefrom Vasco de Gama and his
companions, after a night spent in prayer in the adjoining chapel,
embarked on their memorable voyage, and here, after years of anxious
uncertainty, King Manuel greeted the survivors on their return to their

The sun was sinking when such passengers as wished to see something
of Lisbon took the opportunity for going ashore, while others, like
myself, preferred to remain on board. Hoping to receive letters at
the post-office, I landed early next morning, and found a tramcar to
carry me to the centre of the town. Early hours are not in much honour
at Lisbon. I found the post-office closed, and, after several vain
efforts, was informed that letters could not be delivered until ten
o’clock, the precise hour fixed for our departure from the anchorage at

The voyage from Lisbon along the coasts of Portugal and Galicia is
usually enjoyed, even by fair-weather sailors. The case is often
otherwise with the Bay of Biscay, but on this occasion there was
nothing of which the most fastidious could complain. I have sometimes
doubted whether injustice has not been done to that much-abused bay,
which, in truth, is not rightly so called by those bound from the north
to the coast of Portugal. It is simply a part of the Atlantic Ocean,
adjoining the coast of Europe between latitudes 43° 46′ and 48° 28′.
I have not been able to ascertain that the wind blows harder, or that
the sea runs higher there than elsewhere in the same latitudes, and
am inclined to rank the prejudice against that particular tract of
sea-water among vulgar errors.

The adventurer who has attempted to open up a trade with some distant
region is accustomed, as he returns home, to count up the profits of
his expedition; and in somewhat the same spirit the man who pursues
natural knowledge can scarcely fail to take stock of the results of a
journey. It is his happy privilege to reckon up none but gains, and
those of a kind that bring abiding satisfaction. He may feel some
regret that outer circumstance or his own shortcoming have allowed
opportunities to escape, and lessened the store that he has been able
to accumulate; but as for the positive drawbacks, which seemed but
trivial at the time, they absolutely disappear in the recollection
of his experiences. Thinking of these things as the journey drew to
a close, I could not help feeling how great are the rewards that a
traveller reaps, even irrespective of anything he may learn, or of the
suggestions to thought that a voyage of this kind cannot fail to bear
with it. How much is life made fuller and richer by the stock of images
laid up in the marvellous storehouse of the brain, to be summoned, one
knows not when or how, by some hidden train of association--shifting
scenes that serve to beautify many a common and prosaic moment of life!


Often during this return voyage my thoughts recurred to an article in
some periodical lent to me by my kind friends at Petropolis, wherein
the writer, with seeming gravity, discussed the question _whether life
is worth living_. My first impression, as I well remember, was somewhat
contemptuous pity for the man whose mind could be so profoundly
diseased as even to ask such a question, as for a soldier who, with
the trumpet-call sounding in his ear, should stop to inquire whether
the battle was worth fighting. When one remembers how full life is of
appeals to the active faculties of man, and how the exertion of each of
these brings its correlative satisfaction; how the world, in the first
place, needs the daily labour of the majority of our race; how much
there is yet to be learned, and how much to be taught to the ignorant;
what constant demand there is for the spirit of sympathy to alleviate
suffering in our fellows; how much beauty exists to be enjoyed, and, it
may be, to be brought home to others;--one is tempted to ask if the man
who halts to discuss whether life is worth living can have a mind to
care for truth, or a heart to feel for others, or a soul accessible to
the sense of beauty.

Recurring to the subject, as I sometimes did during the homeward
voyage, it seemed to me that I had perhaps treated the matter too
seriously, and that the article I had read was an elaborate hoax,
by which the writer, while in truth laughing at his readers, sought
merely to astonish and to gain repute as an original thinker. However
the fact may be, when taken in connection with the shallow pessimism
which, through various channels, has of late filtered into much modern
literature, there does appear to be some real danger that the disease
may spread among the weaker portion of the young generation. A new
fashion, however absurd or mischievous, is sure to have attractions
for the feebler forms of human vanity. It is true that there is
little danger that the genuine doctrine will spread widely, but the
mere masquerade of pessimism may do unimagined mischief. The better
instincts of man’s nature are not so firmly rooted that we should wish
to see the spread of any influence that directly allies itself with his
selfish and cowardly tendencies.

To any young man who has been touched by the contagion of such
doctrines, I should recommend a journey long enough and distant enough
to bring him into contact with new and varied aspects of nature and of
human society. Removed from the daily round of monotonous occupation,
or, far worse, of monotonous idleness, life is thus presented in larger
and truer proportions, and in a nature not quite worthless some chord
must be touched that will stir the springs of healthy action. If there
be in truth such beings as genuine and incurable pessimists, the stern
believer in progress will be tempted to say that the sooner they carry
out their doctrine to its logical result the better it will be for the
race. Their continued existence, where it is not merely useless, must
be altogether a mischief to their fellow-creatures.


On the morning of the 16th of August, all but completing five months
since I quitted her shores, the coast of England was dimly descried
amid gusts of cold wind and showers of drizzling rain. My winter
experiences in the Straits of Magellan were forcibly recalled to my
mind, and I felt some partial satisfaction in the seeming confirmation
of the conclusion which I had already reached--that the physical
differences between the conditions of life in the northern and southern
hemispheres are not nearly so great as has generally been supposed.



The remarkable features of the climate of Western Peru referred to in
the text seem to me to admit of a partial explanation from the local
conditions affecting that region. The most important of these are the
prevalence of a relatively cold oceanic current, and of accompanying
southerly breezes along the Peruvian coast. These not only directly
affect the temperature of the air and the soil in the coast-zone, but,
by causing fogs throughout a considerable part of the year, intercept
a large share of solar radiation. It has been found in Northern Chili,
some fifteen degrees farther south than Lima, but under similar
climatal conditions, that, although the land rises rather rapidly in
receding from the coast, the mean temperature increases with increasing
height for a considerable distance. It is stated on good authority[49]
that at Potrero Grande, a place about fifty miles distant, and 850
metres above the sea, the mean annual temperature is higher by 2·5° C.
than at Copiapò, or at the adjoining port of Caldera. It is probable
that in the valley of the Rimac the mean temperature at a height of
1000 metres is at least as high as it is at Lima. Taking the mean
temperature of the lower station at 19·2° C., and that of Chicla at
12·2° C., that would give a fall of 7° for a difference of level of
2724 metres, or an average fall of 1° for 387 metres, instead of 1° for
512 metres, as given in the text.

A further peculiarity in the climate, which tends to diminish
below the normal amount the rate of decrease of temperature, is
the comparative absence of strong winds, and the feebleness of the
sea-breezes which are usually so conspicuous in the tropics. For
reasons that will be further noticed, the fall in temperature in
ascending mountain ranges is largely due to currents of air carried
up from the lower region. In mountain countries an air-current,
encountering a range transverse to its own direction, is mechanically
forced to rise along the slopes, and thus raises large masses of air to
a higher level; the same effect in a less degree occurs with isolated
peaks. But in the Peruvian Andes, as well as in many other parts of the
great range, although storms arise from local causes on the plateau,
westerly winds from the ocean are infrequent and feeble; and the
sea-breezes, due to the heating of the soil by day, much less sensible
than usual in warm countries.

Making full allowance for the operation of the two causes here
specified, it yet appears that the difference of temperature between
the coast and the higher slopes of the Peruvian Andes is exceptionally
small. It is not merely due to the abnormal cooling of the coast-zone,
but to the exceptionally high temperature found in the zone ranging
from 3500 to 4000 metres. I should not have attached much importance to
the few observations of the thermometer that I was able to make during
a hurried visit, if the conclusion which they suggest had not been
strongly confirmed by the character and aspect of the vegetation.

When I found that the table given by Humboldt, which has been
copied and adopted by so many writers on physics, in which the mean
temperature at a height of 2000 toises, or 3898 metres, in the
Andes of Ecuador, close to the equator, is set down at 7°, while at
Chicla, thirteen degrees of latitude south, at a height less only by
174 metres, there is reason to believe that we find a mean annual
temperature of not less than 12°, I was led to enter more fully into
the subject.

The result of somewhat careful study has been to convince me that,
while the physical principles involved in the attempt to discover
the vertical distribution of temperature in the atmosphere prove
the problem to be one of extreme complexity, the results hitherto
obtained from observation are altogether insufficient to guide us to an
approximate law of distribution. I may remark that the problem has not
merely a general interest in connection with the physics of the globe,
but has a direct bearing on two practical applications of science. The
observations of the astronomer and the surveyor require a knowledge of
the amount of atmospheric refraction, by which the apparent positions
of the heavenly bodies, or of distant terrestrial objects, are made to
differ from the true direction; and to determine accurately the amount
of refraction we should know the temperature of the successive strata
of air intervening between the observer and the object. In determining
heights by means of the barometer, or any other instrument for
measuring the pressure of the air, it is equally necessary for accuracy
to know the variations of temperature in the space between the higher
and the lower station.

Three different opinions have prevailed among physicists as to the law,
or supposed law, of the rate of variation of temperature in ascending
from the sea-level. The simplest supposition, and the most convenient
in practice, is that the fall of temperature is directly proportional
to the height, and this has been adopted in several physical treatises.
In English works the rate has been stated at a fall of 1° Fahr. for
300 feet of ascent, and by French writers the not quite equivalent
rate of 1° C. for 170 metres has been adopted. The formula proposed by
Laplace for the determination of heights from barometric observations,
which has been very generally adopted by travellers and men of science,
implicitly assumes that the rate of decrease of temperature is more
rapid as we ascend to the higher regions than it is near the sea-level,
and this opinion was explicitly affirmed by Biot in his memoirs
on atmospheric refraction. A third hypothesis may be said to have
originated when, in 1862, Mr. Glaisher made his report of the results
of the famous balloon ascents effected by him and Mr. Coxwell,[50]
and among others exhibited a table showing the average decline of
temperature corresponding to each successive thousand feet increase of
elevation from the sea-level to a height of 29,000 English feet.

As Mr. Glaisher’s tables showed a gradual decline in the rate of fall
of temperature with increasing height, they clearly did not accord
with the ordinary assumption of an uniform rate, and still less with
the hypothesis of Laplace and Biot. In February, 1864, Count Paul de
St. Robert, of Turin, communicated to the _Philosophical Magazine_ a
short paper, in which he showed the incompatibility of Mr. Glaisher’s
results with the ordinary formulæ for the reduction of barometric
observations, and proposed a new formula based on a law of decrement
of heat based upon Mr. Glaisher’s tables. In the following June, M. de
St. Robert published in the same journal a further paper, in which,
still accepting Mr. Glaisher’s results as accurate, he investigated the
subject in a masterly manner, as well with reference to the measurement
of heights, as in its connection with the determination of the amount
of atmospheric refraction. The formula proposed by M. de St. Robert,
and the tables subsequently published by him for its adaptation to use,
appearing to be at once the most accurate and the most convenient,
have been adopted by myself and by many other travellers;[51] but it
is evident that their value depends on the correctness of the results,
above referred to, deduced by Mr. Glaisher, and their conformity with
observation in mountain countries.

Before we inquire into the conclusions to be drawn from observation,
it may be well to point out how incomplete is our knowledge of the
physical agencies which regulate the distribution of temperature in the

The primary source of temperature is solar radiation, and its effect
at any given point on the earth’s surface depends on the absolute
amount of heating power in the sun’s rays, irrespective of absorption,
commonly designated the _solar constant_, and on the proportion of heat
which is lost by absorption in passing through the atmosphere. The
temperature of the air at any point will, in the first place, depend
on the amount of solar radiation and of heat radiated from terrestrial
objects directly absorbed, and next on the heating of the strata near
the surface by convection. The amount of heat received from the sun,
directly or indirectly, varies of course with the sun’s declination at
the time, and the length of the day at the place of observation. When
the sun is below the horizon the air loses heat by radiation, and still
more, in the strata near the surface, by convection to surfaces cooled
by radiation.

It was until lately believed that the experiments of Herschel and
Pouillet had given an approximate measure of the absolute intensity of
solar radiation, and that the proportion absorbed by the atmosphere
at the sea-level at a vertical incidence might be estimated at about
one-fourth of the whole. It is not too much to say that the recent
researches of Mr. Langley, especially those detailed in his _Report of
the Mount Whitney expedition_,[52] have completely revolutionized this
department of physics. It now appears that the true value of the solar
constant is not much less than twice as great as the previous estimate,
and that rather more than one-third is absorbed by the atmosphere
before reaching the sea-level. Mr. Langley has further proved that the
absorptive action of the atmosphere varies with the wave-length of
the rays, and that, omitting the “cold bands” which correspond to the
dark bands in the visible spectrum, it diminishes as the wave-length
increases. It further appears highly probable that the larger part of
the absorptive action of the atmosphere is due to the aqueous vapour,
the carbonic acid gas, and the minute floating particles of solid
matter, which are present in variable proportions. Allowing for the
probable extension of our knowledge by further research, it is yet
evident that, even if we had not to take into account the further
elements of the problem next to be specified, the distribution of heat
in the atmosphere, as dependent on solar radiation, is a question of
extreme complexity.

The action of winds has an important effect in modifying the
temperature of the air. It is not possible to draw a distinct line
between the great air-currents, which affect large areas, and slight
breezes, depending on local causes, and limited to the lower strata of
the atmosphere; but in relation to the present subject it is necessary
to distinguish between them. There is a general circulation in the
aërial envelope covering the earth, caused by unequal heating of
different parts of the surface. Heated air rises in the equatorial
zone, and its place is filled by currents from the temperate and
subtropical zones. The heated air from the equator flows at first as
an upper current towards the poles, but as it gradually loses its
high temperature, it becomes mixed with the currents setting from the
poles towards the equator, causing the atmospheric disturbances and
variable winds characteristic of the cooler temperate zones. As a
rule, bodies of air of different temperatures do not very quickly mix,
but tend to arrange themselves in layers or strata in which masses
of unequal temperature are superposed. It is obvious that in such a
condition, where a layer of colder air lies between two having a higher
temperature, the whole cannot be in a state of equilibrium. But in
nature we constantly find that equilibrium is never attained. There is
a continual tendency towards equilibrium, along with fresh disturbances
which alter the conditions.

As Professor Stokes remarks in a letter on this subject with which he
favoured me, “to know the temperature of the successive strata as we
ascend in a balloon, we should know the biographies of the different
strata.” Those which are now superposed may have been hundreds of miles
apart twenty-four hours before. It follows that without a knowledge
of the course and velocity of the higher currents existing in the
atmosphere, we cannot expect to learn the vertical distribution of

Apart from the effects of the great movements of the air, there is
another effect of air-currents to be considered, which tends especially
to modify the temperature found at or near the earth’s surface. The
heating of the surface by day, and the cooling by night, determine
the existence of local currents of ascending or descending air. In
rising, the air encounters diminished pressure, and therefore expands,
and in so doing overcomes resistance. The molecular work involved in
dilatation is performed at the expense of the other form of molecular
work which we call heat. In other words, the air in ascending loses
heat. It is found that the amount of decrement of temperature due to
the ascent of a body of air is nearly exactly 1° C. for 100 metres.
As a general rule, ascending currents arise from the surfaces exposed
to the sun during the day, and must largely contribute to produce the
rapid decrement of heat which is found in the lower strata near the
surface, as compared with the rate of change in the higher regions;
but it will be obvious that the amount of effect produced by this cause
is subject to continual variation from changes in local conditions.
The nature of the soil, the extent and character of the vegetation,
the form of the surface, are all elements which modify the amount of
disturbance in the equilibrium of the surrounding atmosphere. As above
remarked, in discussing the climate of Western Peru, prevailing winds
which impinge upon a range of mountains may indirectly affect the
temperature of the higher region by mechanically forcing masses of air
to rise along the slopes, and ultimately, by expansion, to be cooled
much below the temperature which they possessed when they originally
flowed against the slopes.

One of the most important agencies affecting the distribution of
temperature in the atmosphere arises from the presence of aqueous
vapour. In its invisible condition it affects the absorptive power of
the air on the solar rays, and, when condensed in the form of cloud,
it acts as a screen, intercepting most of the calorific rays which
would otherwise reach the earth. But it is especially through the
large amount of heat consumed in converting water into vapour, and
set free when vapour returns to the fluid state, that the temperature
of the air is largely modified. When we consider that in converting
a given volume--say, one cubic metre--of water into vapour, enough
heat is consumed to lower about 1,650,000 cubic metres of air by 1°
C. in temperature, and that the same amount of heat is liberated when
the vapour so produced returns to the liquid state, we perceive how
powerfully the ordinary processes of evaporation and condensation must
affect the temperature of the air.

It is needless to analyze further the several agencies which, sometimes
co-operating, and sometimes in mutual opposition, determine the
vertical distribution of temperature in the atmosphere. It is but
too obvious that no approach to uniformity can be expected, and it
might even be anticipated that any approximation to a regular law of
distribution that should be found under one set of conditions--as, for
instance, in serene weather by day--would be altogether inapplicable
under different conditions, such as exist in stormy weather, or by

The need for practical application of some empirical rule, or law, of
vertical distribution has made it necessary to appeal to the results
of observation, and for this object the only existing materials are to
be found in the records of balloon ascents, and in the observations
made on high mountains. In balloon ascents the temperature at any
considerable height is free from the disturbances caused by the
vicinity of the earth’s surface, and the results might be expected
to contribute to the more accurate determination of the amount
of atmospheric refraction. For the measurement of heights by the
barometer, it would appear safer to rely on such information as may be
gleaned from mountain observations.

Of balloon ascents by far the most important are those achieved in
1862 by Messrs. Glaisher and Coxwell, to which I have referred in a
preceding page. Mr. Glaisher has given in his report a full record of
the actual observations made in the course of his eight ascents, and
has explained the processes by which he constructed the successive
tables, from which he deduced as the final result a continuous decline
(unbroken save in a single instance) in the rate of decrement of
temperature found in passing through each successive zone of 1000 feet,
in ascending from the sea-level to a height of 29,000 English feet.

I am not aware that the processes employed by Mr. Glaisher in obtaining
these results have ever been subjected to such close scrutiny as their
importance demands, and as I have found on careful examination that
his results are not borne out by the actual observations, I am forced
to express my dissent from his conclusions. The admiration due to the
courage, skill, and perseverance displayed by Mr. Glaisher throughout
these memorable ascents will not be lessened if we should find it
necessary to modify the inferences which he has drawn from them.

The full discussion of Mr. Glaisher’s observations involves an
inconvenient amount of detail, and such readers as may be disposed to
enter more fully into the subject I must refer to an article in the
_London, Edinburgh, and Dublin Philosophical Magazine_.

The general conclusions to which I have arrived from the observations
made under a clear or partially clear sky is, that the average results
show a rapid fall of temperature in the zone extending to about 5000
feet, or 1500 metres, above the earth’s surface, and that, within that
limit, the rate of fall diminishes as the height increases. Above
the height specified the observations prove that in each ascent the
balloon passed through successive strata of air whose temperature
varied in a completely irregular manner, the fall of temperature being
sometimes very rapid for an ascent of a few hundred feet, and sometimes
very slight in a much longer interval. In each of the higher ascents
we even find instances in which the thermometer rose in ascending
from a lower to a higher station, reversing the ordinary progression.
These alternations occurred at various heights from 5000 to 25,000
or 26,000 feet above the sea-level.[53] It seems to me very doubtful
whether any safe conclusions can be drawn from averages deduced from
separate series of observations so discordant, but, in any case, I may
confidently assert that the results of actual observations do not bear
out the conclusions deduced by Mr. Glaisher.

I desire further to point out that these balloon ascents were all
executed by day, in summer, and in weather as serene as can ordinarily
be found in our climate. If they did authorize us to derive from them
an empirical law regulating the vertical distribution of temperature,
this might, at the best, serve to approximate to the true amount of
atmospheric refraction found by day in geodetical observations, but
would be no guide to the conditions obtaining by night, which are those
important to the astronomer.

Mr. Glaisher has not failed to notice the great difference shown by the
observations made when the sky was overclouded as compared with those
under a clear or partially clear sky, and has given a table showing
that the mean results up to a height of 4000 feet above the sea show
a nearly uniform decline of 1° Fahr. for each 244 feet at ascent. The
numerical results of observations made under, or amidst, cloud appear
to me of no practical value, as they depend upon conditions which are
subject to constant variation.

If it be true that observations in balloon ascents, which are free from
the disturbances caused by the vicinity of the earth’s surface, have
hitherto failed to lead to any general results indicating a normal
rate of decrease of temperature with increasing elevation, it could
scarcely be hoped that observations on mountains should contribute
farther to enlighten us. From what has been already said, it is
apparent that the fact that the place of observation is close to the
surface causes disturbances the nature and amount of which must vary
with each particular spot, and with the season and the condition of the
atmosphere at the moment of observation.

The intensity of solar radiation increases rapidly with increasing
elevation,[54] so that when the sky is clear surfaces exposed to the
sun are heated much above the normal temperature. Owing to its slight
absorptive power the free atmosphere is little affected; but the strata
nearest the surface are heated by convection, while a contrary effect
follows when the surface is no longer exposed to the sun, and radiates
freely to the sky.

The air in mountain countries is rarely at rest. Even when there is no
sensible breeze, the unequal heating of the surface causes ascending
and descending currents, which lose or gain heat by expansion or
contraction. More commonly winds are experienced which, by impinging on
the inclined surfaces, force bodies of air to higher elevations, and
thereby directly cause a fall of temperature.

All these causes of disturbance are complicated by the action of
aqueous vapour, which, in most mountain countries, is supplied from the
surface, as well as borne upwards by ascending currents. Besides the
effect of raising the temperature where condensation takes place, and
lowering it where clouds are dissolved in strata of dry air, the amount
of aqueous vapour present at a given place affects the intensity of
solar radiation, and the consequent amount of heating of the surface.

In spite of these obstacles to the attainment of accurate numerical
results from which to infer the distribution of temperature in the
atmosphere, we are yet, for the larger part of the earth, forced to
rely on mountain observations as the only available source from which
any indications of a law of distribution can be gleaned. Balloon
observations have hitherto, so far as I know, been confined to a few
places in Europe; and, even if the results were more conclusive than
they have hitherto been, we should not be entitled to infer that they
held good for all parts of the earth. In countries where the course
of the seasons is more uniform, and the direction and force of the
winds less inconstant, it might be expected that the distribution of
temperature would exhibit some nearer approach to uniformity; and the
possibility of making observations at mountain stations by night might
enable us to form some conjecture as to a condition of the atmosphere
very different from that which obtains when the influence of the sun is

It cannot be said that the observations hitherto made on mountains have
done as much as they might do, if properly conducted, to contribute to
our knowledge; but a few leading facts may be derived from them, and it
is worth while to point them out.

The most important of these is, perhaps, the influence of plateaux of
elevated land in raising the temperature of the adjacent air. This is
established by observation in all parts of the world, and it would
appear that the rapid fall of temperature in the strata near the
surface which is found at or near the level of the sea, is equally
marked when we ascend from a plateau to an isolated summit. Both these
conclusions, however, apply only to observations made in the summer of
temperate regions, or in the warmer parts of the earth. Apart from this
effect of a relatively heated surface which appears to extend above the
surface to a height of about 1500 metres, or, in round numbers, 5000
English feet, mountain observations give but slight confirmation to the
belief that the rate of decrease of temperature, in normal conditions
of the atmosphere, diminishes as the elevation increases.

In endeavouring to use the available materials one difficulty arises
from the fact that, in comparing the temperature of the upper with the
lower stations, observers have rarely been supplied with simultaneous
observations at the lower station, or that, when these have been
available, the distance has been so great that the results throw
little light on the probable condition of a vertical column of air
near the higher station. In parts of the world where the daily range
of temperature near the coast is very slight, we may with small risk
of error use the mean temperature of the season at the lower station
as the element of comparison, and, in places near the equator, the
mean annual temperature. For this reason, observations in the Andes of
Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia present great advantages, and I think it may
be useful to discuss the results so far as they are now available.

It is scarcely necessary to examine critically the results of
the earlier explorations. Humboldt has given in the “Recueil des
Observations Astronomiques,” etc., and in the “Memoires de la Société
d’Arcueil,” vol. iii. p. 579, and elsewhere, the observations made by
himself in Mexico, Colombia, and Peru, and also those of Caldas and
Boussingault, and has derived from them a table which, with more or
less modification, has been adopted in many physical treatises. It
exhibits the mean differences of temperature found in successive zones
differing in height by 500 toises, the interval corresponding to 974·6
metres, or very nearly 3000 English feet.

  Height in |Mean temperature.|Number of metres  |Number of metres
   toises.  |                 |corresponding to a|corresponding to a
            |                 |fall of 1°C. from |fall of 1°C. between
            |                 |the sea-level.    |successive zones of
            |                 |                  |500 toises.
  Sea-level |      27·5       |        --        |         --
     500    |      21·8       |       171        |        171
    1000    |      18·4       |       216        |        287
    1500    |      14·3       |       221        |        238
    2000    |       7·0       |       190        |        133
    2500    |       1·5       |       187        |        177

The first remark to be made about this table is that the observations
on which it is founded are not properly comparable, being partly single
observations made during an ascent, and partly the mean of numerous
observations made at certain places, such as Mexico, Quito, etc. It may
further be remarked that many of the heights determined by Humboldt
have been considerably modified by the results obtained by more recent
travellers, and cannot now be regarded as correct. The influence of
plateaux is, however, very apparent, as nearly all the observations
from which the estimated temperatures for 1000 and 1500 toises were
derived were made at places situated on open elevated valleys or
plateaux. At the utmost, the results can be regarded merely as rough
approximations to the truth.

By far the most important available observations in the Andes are those
of Mr. Whymper, made during his remarkable explorations in 1880; but,
unfortunately, the details have not yet been given to the world, and,
in endeavouring to make use of them, I have been forced to content
myself with the brief summary published in the _Proceedings of the
Royal Geographical Society_ for 1881. Mr. Whymper was able to secure
a register of the temperatures observed at Guayaquil during his stay
in Ecuador, which will doubtless be published along with the record
of his own observations; but it does not appear that he was able to
obtain observations at Quito during his ascents to the higher peaks;
and it seems that, in comparing the temperatures for the purpose of
reducing his barometrical observations, he was forced to assume for
Quito a mean temperature of 57·9 Fahr., or 14·4 C., obtained from a
series of thermometric observations made during his stay at that place.
There is reason to believe that the daily range of the thermometer at
Quito is very moderate; and at the equator the differences of season
are comparatively slight; nevertheless, the absence of simultaneous
observations at that place diminishes the value of the results shown
in the following table, in which Mr. Whymper’s results are reduced to
metrical measure.

I have adopted the heights determined by Mr. Whymper as those deserving
most confidence. They agree very well with those published by MM.
Reiss and Stubel, so that the limits of error from this cause are
inconsiderable. I have also adopted the height assigned to Quito--9350
feet, or 2848 metres. Where Mr. Whymper remained long enough on any
summit to observe notable variations in the reading of the thermometer,
I have taken the mean of the observed temperatures; but I have entered
separately the results of the ascents of Chimborazo, one being made in
January, the other in July, and in a separate line I have entered the
mean results of the two.

In the following table I have entered in the first column the names
of the peaks ascended by Mr. Whymper; in the second, the height of
each as given by him; in the third, the observed temperature in
degrees Centigrade; in the fourth, the difference between the observed
temperature and 27° C.--that assumed for Guayaquil; in the fifth, the
average number of metres corresponding to a fall of 1° C. in rising
from the sea-level to the higher station; in the sixth, the difference
between the observed temperatures and that assumed for Quito--14·4°;
and in the seventh, the average number of metres corresponding to a
fall of 1° C. in rising from Quito to the higher station. It is obvious
that the more rapid the fall the less will be the number in columns 5
and 7.

    A: Name of Mountain.
    B: Height above sea-level.
    C: Observed temperature.
    D: Difference of temperature at sea-level.
    E: Average number of metres for fall of 1° C. from sea-level.
    F: Difference of temperature at Quito.
    G: Average number of metres for fall of 1° C. from Quito.

     |         A           |   B  |   C    |   D   |   E   |   F   |  G
   1 | Chimborazo (Jan.)   | 6253 |  -6·1  | 33·1  | 189   | 20·5  | 166
   2 | Chimborazo (July)   | 6253 |  -8·06 | 35·06 | 178   | 22·46 | 151
   3 | Mean of (1) and (2) | 6253 |  -7·08 | 34·08 | 183·5 | 21·48 | 158·5
   4 | Cotopaxi            | 5959 |  -8·4  | 35·4  | 168   | 22·8  | 136·5
   5 | Antisana            | 5870 | +11·1  | 15·9  | 369   |  3·3  | 916
   6 | Cayambe             | 5852 |  +2·5  | 24·5  | 239   | 11·9  | 252
   7 | Cahihuairazo        | 5035 |  +4·44 | 22·56 | 223   |  9·96 | 220
   8 | Cotocachi           | 4965 |  +2·2  | 24·8  | 202   | 12·2  | 173·5
   9 | Pichincha           | 4851 |  +7·77 | 19·23 | 255   |  6·63 | 302
  10 | Corazon             | 4837 |  +4·44 | 22·56 | 214   |  9·96 | 200
  11 | Sara Urcu           | 4718 | +10·0  | 17·00 | 284   |  4·4  | 425

It will at once be seen that the temperatures observed on Antisana,
Pichincha, and Sara Urcu were altogether exceptional, probably due
to rapid condensation of vapour; and these may best be excluded from
any discussion of the general results. The temperatures noted in the
second ascent of Chimborazo were probably below the mean, or at least
below the mean for the hours at which most of the other observations
were made. But, as opinions may differ on that point, I have also given
below the results of comparison with the mean for the two ascents of
Chimborazo. For a similar reason I regard the figures for Cotopaxi,
where Mr. Whymper remained for twenty-six hours on the summit, as
giving too low a temperature, while that observed on Cayambe is
certainly too high. The mean result for these two summits is probably a
near approximation to the average for that height.

In attempting to draw conclusions from the above table, we must
first remark that, in consequence of its position on a plateau, the
temperature of Quito is considerably higher than it would probably be
if the higher peaks descended with an uniform slope to the sea-level.
The difference between the means for that place and Guayaquil is
only 12·6° C.; whereas, on the supposition of an uniform decrease in
ascending from the sea-level, it should be 14·2°, and still greater if
we supposed that the rate of fall of temperature gradually diminishes
as the elevation increases. Omitting altogether the results for numbers
5, 9, and 11 in the above table, we perceive that the observations fall
into three groups: (1) those for Chimborazo, at 6253 metres; (2) those
for Cotopaxi and Cayambe, with a mean height of 5905 metres; (3) those
for Cahihuairazo, Cotocachi, and Corazon, whose mean height is 4950
metres. To these it may be well to compare the mean of the results for
the entire series, and also the rate of decrease between the sea-level
and Quito. I shall designate observations included hereunder by numbers
corresponding to the lines in the preceding table. The number of metres
of ascent corresponding to a fall of 1° C. gives the most convenient
measure of the rate of decrease.

    A: Mean height.
    B: Difference of temperature at sea-level.
    C: Metres for fall of 1° C. from sea-level.
    D: Difference of temperature at Quito.
    E: Metres for fall of 1° C. from Quito.

                                |    A   |   B   |   C   |   D   |  E
  Quito                         | 2848   | 12·6  | 226   |  0    |   0
  Mean of 1, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 | 5483·5 | 27·19 | 201·5 | 14·59 | 180·6
    ”     3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 10 | 5483·5 | 27·35 | 200·5 | 14·75 | 178·7
    ”     7, 8, and 10          | 4946   | 23·37 | 212   | 10·77 | 195
    ”     4 and 6               | 5905   | 29·95 | 197   | 17·35 | 176

We see from this table that, in ascending from the coast to the highest
peaks of Ecuador, the average fall of the thermometer was, in round
numbers, 1° C. for every 200 metres of ascent, while in ascending from
the sea-level to the plateau of Quito the fall was proportionately
less, being at the rate of 1° C. for 226 metres. On the other hand,
the fall of temperature was more rapid in ascending from Quito to the
higher peaks. On an average of all the ascents, we may reckon the rate
of 1° for 180 metres. But it is remarkable that, taking the average of
the three peaks which rise about 2000 metres above the level of Quito,
the temperature fell only at the rate of 1° for 195 metres, while in
ascending to peaks higher by nearly 1000 metres, the rate of fall was
1° for 176 metres, and if we take the still higher summit of Chimborazo
we may reckon the rate of fall at about 1° for 160 metres.

The apparent increase in the rate of decline of temperature in the
higher region is still more clearly shown if we compare the mean of the
three peaks whose average height is 4946 metres, with that of the two
whose average height is 5905. For a difference in the mean height of
959 metres, we find an average fall of 6·58° C., or a fall of 1° for
145 metres. Taking the first ascent of Chimborazo as giving the most
probable results, we find that between this peak and the mean of the
three lower summits, with a difference in height of 1307 metres, the
difference of temperature is 9·73°, or a fall of 1° for 134 metres.
Again, comparing Chimborazo with the mean of Cotopaxi and Cayambe,
we find, for a difference of height of 348 metres, a difference of
temperature of 3·15°, or a fall of 1° for 110 metres.

I am fully aware that these observations are not numerous enough
to lead to any safe general conclusions; the comparatively high
temperatures found at the height of about 5000 metres may be due to
exceptional local conditions, such, for instance, as the ordinary
formation of clouds at about that level; but, so far as they go, the
observations tend to negative the supposition that in the tropics the
rate of decrease of temperature diminishes as we ascend to the higher
regions of the atmosphere.

MM. Reiss and Stubel made numerous observations in the Andes of Ecuador
and Peru, during a prolonged visit to that region. Lists of heights
obtained by reduction from their observations have appeared in various
German scientific periodicals, and more fully in the _American Journal
of Science_, vol. ii. pp. 268, 269; but, so far as I can ascertain,
the record of their observations of the barometer and thermometer has
never been given to the world.

In “Copernicus,” vol. iii. p. 193, _et seq._, Mr. Ralph Copeland has
published a summary of the results of a series of meteorological
observations made by him at various stations on the line of railway
connecting Mollendo on the Pacific coast with Puno in Bolivia, near
the lake of Titicaca, and also at La Paz and at Tacna. Two series
of observations were made at Vincocaya, the summit station of the
railway, 4377 metres above the sea. All the other stations are either
on elevated plateaux, or on open slopes inclining gently towards the
coast. The temperatures are partly derived from numerous observations
and partly by taking the mean of the maxima and minima, with
corrections for each station, the reasons for which are assigned by Mr.
Copeland. In most of these I am inclined to concur, but there are two
from which I am forced to dissent. In reducing Mr. Copeland’s tables to
metrical measure, I have therefore ventured to make some corrections,
which do not, however, much alter the results.

I give below the heights above the sea, in metres, with the corrected
mean temperature for each place, and the dates for each set of

                   |              |       |                |   Mean
   Places.         | Latitude.    |Height.|    Dates of    |temperature,
                   |              |       |  observation.  | corrected.
  Mollendo         | 17°  2′ 54″  |    20 |    July 2      |   16·7° C.
  Tacna            | 18°  1′ 21″  |   560 |  July 7-10     |   14·2°
  Arequipa Hotel   | 16° 25′ 20″  |  2346 |  Feb. 2-8      |   16·2°
  Arequipa railway |              |       |                |
    station        |    ----      |  2300 |  June 29-30    |    9·0°
  Vincocaya, I.    | 15° 53′ 56″  |  4377 |Feb. 28-March 4 |    2·83°
  Vincocaya, II.   |    ----      |   --  |   June 6-27    |   -2·2°
  Puno, I.         | 15° 50′ 2″   |  3840 |March 20-April 4|    9·2°
  Puno, II.        |    ----      |   --  |April 15-June 2 |    7·8°
  La Paz           | 16° 27′ 0″   |  3645 |  Feb. 12-25    |   10·7°

Without entering into minute details, or discussing the small
corrections for changes in the sun’s declination to be allowed for
latitude and for the dates of observation, we perceive that on the
western slope of the Cordillera the rate of decrease of temperature in
this region is much below the ordinary average. Estimating the mean
temperature of Mollendo at 22° at the beginning of February, we find
between Mollendo and Arequipa a difference of 5·8° C., or a fall in
summer of 1° for an ascent of 401 metres; while in mid-winter we obtain
a difference of 7·7°, showing that an ascent of 364 metres is necessary
to cause a fall of 1°. This abnormal condition is, no doubt, mainly
due to the exceptionally low temperature of the coast-zone. Between
Arequipa and Vincocaya we may reckon the fall of temperature on the 1st
of March at 14·2° for an ascent of 2031 metres, giving the proportion
of 1° to 143 metres; but in winter the decrease is less rapid, as we
have at the end of June a difference of about 11·5° for an ascent of
2077 metres, or about 181 metres for a fall of 1°.

A remarkable contrast is shown when we compare the temperature at
Vincocaya with that of places on the plateau surrounding the great
lake of Titicaca. From Mr. Copeland’s observations we may estimate the
mean annual temperature of Vincocaya at 1° C., that of Puno at 8·5°,
and that of La Paz at 8·8°. These figures would give a mean difference
of 7·5° for a difference in height of 537 metres between Vincocaya
and Puno, or a decrease of 1° for 72 metres. Between Vincocaya and La
Paz we have a difference of 7·8° for a difference in height of 732
metres, or a fall of 1° for 94 metres. The mean of the two comparisons
gives a fall of 1° for 83 metres, or about twice as rapid a change as
the average of the comparison between Arequipa and Vincocaya. I am
not disposed to attribute this remarkable difference of atmospheric
conditions exclusively to the influence of plateaux in raising the mean

In my own slight experience in the Peruvian Andes, in ascending from
Chicla, at about 3700 metres, to Casapalta, at about 4200 metres, I
observed so complete and rapid a change in the character and aspect of
the vegetation as to satisfy me that the difference in the annual mean
temperature must be even greater than that observed by Mr. Copeland for
a somewhat greater difference of height between Vincocaya and Puno. It
may be that, in this comparatively dry region of the Andes, the higher
stations receive more frequent, though not copious, falls of rain or
snow, the evaporation of which maintains a constant low temperature in
the surface and the surrounding air.

In comparing observations in Peru, Bolivia, or Chili with those made
in the Andes of Ecuador, it must not be forgotten that the climatal
conditions are essentially different. Owing to the fact that in the
latter the range of the Andes is much narrower, and on one side the
main valleys descend in a nearly due easterly direction, the hot,
vapour-laden, easterly winds reach the plateaux still charged with
moisture, and at all seasons rain is frequent and abundant. Farther
south, the winds from the Atlantic have deposited the greater part
of their moisture before they arrive at the western side of the main
range, and the annual rainfall must be comparatively trifling.

I have sought in vain in the records of mountain observations in other
parts of the world for materials from which any probable inference may
be drawn as to a law regulating the ratio of decrease of temperature
with increasing height above the sea-level. There is reason to admit
that isolated peaks of no great height show a more rapid decrease
as compared with the plain than do considerable mountain masses. Of
mountains exceeding the height of 3000 metres in the tropics, the most
rapid rate of decrease is that recorded for Pangerango in Java, being
1° for 178·5 metres.

The greater mountain masses in or near the tropics show nearly the same
rate of decrement, by comparison with the sea-level, that I have been
led to infer from the observations in Ecuador. The average rate for
the Himalayas is about 1° for 194 metres of ascent, and for the less
lofty peaks of Mexico Humboldt’s observations show a decrease of 1°
for 188 metres. The great irregularities due to local conditions make
it impossible to derive any positive conclusions as to the comparative
rate of decrease in successive zones of elevation.

In Europe and North America comparisons between the temperatures at
mountain summits and the sea-level give rates of decrease varying
between 1° for 160 metres, and 1° for 170 metres; but it must be
remarked that the averages are mainly founded on observations made in
summer, and it is certain that the rate of decrease is much slower
in winter. Where the difference of height is not very great, it not
uncommonly happens that in winter the phenomenon is reversed, and that
we experience an increase of temperature in ascending above the plain.
The same result on a small scale may often be remarked on clear cold
nights, when the temperature rises for a distance of some hundred feet
in ascending isolated eminences, the effect being due to the cooling
effect of radiation from the surface.

It seems most probable that in the winter of the temperate and polar
zones the distribution of temperature in the atmosphere is subject to
conditions widely different from those prevailing in summer; and, if
that be true, we should have intermediate conditions in the spring
and autumn; so that even if we could arrive at comparatively accurate
results for one season of the year, these would not be applicable at
other periods.

The general result to which I have arrived is that to ascertain the
distribution of temperature in the atmosphere in successive zones
of elevation is a problem of extreme complexity, towards which the
existing materials do not furnish even an approximate solution. I
hold, however, that it ought to be possible to obtain much more
definite knowledge than we now possess by means of properly conducted
observations in various parts of the world.

Foremost of these I would suggest the importance of well-conducted
balloon ascents within the tropics. In selecting stations for such
ascents we are somewhat restricted by local considerations, especially
the extension of forests in many regions, such as the greater part
of tropical Brazil. In British India there would be no difficulty in
selecting suitable stations, and there would be additional value in
comparing the results obtained from ascents in Bengal, and in the
very different climate of the North-west Provinces. Elsewhere in the
tropics we might expect valuable results from ascents in Queensland,
and from the _llanos_ of Venezuela. It seems not impossible that, with
a considerably smaller outlay, useful results may hereafter be obtained
by means of improved self-recording instruments sent up in captive
balloons; but in most countries such a record would be liable to
interruption owing to storms.

The next desideratum is to obtain for a series of years simultaneous
observations at successive stations, at vertical intervals of 500 or
600 metres, situated on the flanks and at the summits of high mountains
to be chosen for the purpose. Some of these might with advantage be
chosen on islands, and among these the following may be suggested:--the
Peak of Teneriffe, Mauna Kea in the Sandwich Islands, Fusiyama in
Japan, the Piton de Neige in the island of Réunion, and Etna in Sicily.
It would add much to the value of these observations if in each case
there were a double series of stations, one series being on the
windward, the other on the leeward side of the mountain. It would also
be important to obtain observations at similar series of stations in
continental regions, removed from the immediate influence of the sea.
Pike’s Peak in Colorado, which already possesses an observing station
at the summit, and Mount Whitney in California, which Mr. Langley
has selected as eminently suited for an observatory, both offer many
advantages for the desired purpose. Another desirable station might
easily be found in the Caucasus, or in Armenia, and one or more could
be selected on the southern declivity of the Himalayas. In South
America, where railways have been carried to such great heights, it
may be hoped that regular observations may at some future time be
secured at the successive railway stations. It would be worthy of the
enlightened governments of Chili and Argentaria to make a commencement,
by providing for such a series being obtained at the stations on the
railway now in course of construction over the Uspallata Pass.

For the realization of most of these desires, as well as many others
affecting the progress of human knowledge, and the general welfare of
our race, we must be content to await the advent of a happier era, when
the fruits of industry, and the efforts of rulers, shall no longer
be mainly devoted to the maintenance and development of the arts of

While awaiting such additional knowledge as may hereafter be obtained,
it is necessary in the mean time to form some provisional hypothesis
on which to base the formulæ for determining the difference of heights
of two stations, by barometric observations, and for ascertaining the
amount of atmospheric refraction; and the subject might with advantage
be discussed at a congress of scientific men. I have no authority
to decide on a question of such difficulty, nor do I pretend to be
thoroughly versed in the somewhat voluminous literature of the subject.
I may remark, however, that in one of the fullest and most elaborate
works by recent writers, Dr. Rühlmann[55] has proposed a formula for
the reduction of barometric observations which implicitly assumes
that the rate of decrement of temperature in ascending mountains is
uniform, inasmuch as he takes the mean of the temperatures observed at
the higher and lower stations as the value of the mean temperature of
the column of air between the two stations. It would appear that his
adoption of the hypothesis of an uniform rate of decrease is merely
due to the apparent impossibility of discovering a more satisfactory
hypothesis. Following on a line of inquiry first suggested by the
late M. Plantamour and M. Charles Martins, Dr. Rühlmann has analyzed
a series of two-hourly observations of temperature made during six
years at the hospice of the Great St. Bernard and at the Geneva
Observatory. Treating the mean temperature of the column of air between
the levels of those places as the unknown quantity, and neglecting,
as unimportant, the corrections for the tension of aqueous vapour and
for gravity, he has deduced the “true temperature,” as he styles it,
of the intermediate column from the equation of condition between the
pressures, the heights, and the temperatures of the two stations, for
the average of the two-hourly periods of observation for each month.
He has shown that, while on the average of the entire year the mean
“true temperature” of the intermediate column of air agrees pretty well
with the mean of the yearly observations at the two extreme stations,
the means for the separate hours and those for the separate months
usually differ widely from the so-called “true temperatures” for the
corresponding periods.

From this investigation Dr. Rühlmann has shown that during the warm
hours of the day, and the summer months, the “true mean temperature”
is lower than the mean of the observed temperatures at the two
extreme stations, while at night, and during winter, it exceeds that
mean to a rather greater extent. It may be objected that the cause
of the apparent discrepancy lies in the fact that, in thermometric
observations, we obtain, not the true temperature of the surrounding
air, but that of the thermometer, and that, however carefully
screened, the thermometer cannot be completely freed from the effects
of radiation to and from surrounding objects. This remark applies
especially to the observations at the St. Bernard, which lies at a
considerable distance from Geneva, and where the temperature is unduly
depressed by surrounding masses of snow. I do not, however, attach much
importance to these sources of error; and I have no doubt that under
the most favourable conditions the discrepancy shown by Rühlmann will
be found to a greater or less extent, but I differ from that writer in
the inference that he has drawn from the facts.

If I have not misunderstood his remarks, Dr. Rühlmann concludes
that the true temperature of the successive strata of air in the
zone between the base and the summit of a mountain is but slightly
affected by the diurnal changes that are exhibited in the range of the
thermometer, and to a moderate extent only by the changes of season as
shown by the range of the monthly means. He has not adverted to the
fact that the differences disclosed in his tables may be the result
of changes in the rate of decrement of temperature in ascending from
the lower to the higher station. He shows that, on the mean of the
July observations, the mean temperature of the air between the levels
of Geneva and the St. Bernard is lower than the mean difference of
the temperatures observed at those places by 1·57° C. But this is
not inconsistent with the supposition that the thermometers have
recorded the true air temperature at each station, but that the rate
of decrement of temperature in ascending, at that season, diminishes
rapidly in the successive vertical zones. In the same manner the fact
that the true mean temperature in January is higher than the mean
of the observed thermometers by 1·83° C., might be accounted for by
supposing that in winter the rate of decrement is smaller in the lower
strata, and increases in ascending above the surface. It is equally
true that, in both cases, the facts may be consistent with such an
irregular distribution of the atmosphere in successive layers, or
strata, of very unequal temperature as was apparent in most of Mr.
Glaisher’s balloon ascents. What is completely proved is that it is
only under exceptional conditions that the hypothesis of an uniform
rate of decrement of temperature, directly proportional to height
above the sea-level, is approximately correct for observations in the
temperate zone, where there is a considerable diurnal and annual range
of the thermometer.

My own impression, as the result of such study as I have been able to
give to the subject, is that, in the present state of our knowledge,
the reduction of barometric observations for the height of mountains
made by day, and in summer, in temperate latitudes, may best be
effected by the formula proposed by M. de St. Robert; while for
observations made at other seasons, and in the tropics, I should prefer
the formula proposed by Mr. Rühlmann.

Before closing these remarks, I may refer to an ingenious suggestion
made by M. de St. Robert in a paper published in the journal _Les
Mondes_ in Paris, in 1864, the substance of which is to be found in
the _Atti dell’ Academia delle Scienze di Torino_ for 1866, p. 193.
Impressed with the difficulty of approximating in practice to a correct
knowledge of the distribution of temperature in the air between the
summit of a mountain and a lower station, the author sought to escape
from it by seeking a phenomenon, susceptible of observation, which
should give a direct measure of the mean density of the air in the
space between the two stations. He pointed out that the velocity
of sound supplies such a measure, and that, given the barometric
pressures at the higher and lower stations, the angle of elevation of
the former, measured by a theodolite and corrected for refraction, and
the exact time required for sound to traverse the interval between
them, the height is given with a near approximation to accuracy by a
simple formula. The error arising from air currents, which increase or
diminish the velocity of transmission, would be readily eliminated by
discharging a fire-arm simultaneously at both stations, observing the
interval between the light reaching the eye and the report becoming
audible, and taking the mean of the intervals observed at both stations.

M. de St. Robert does not disguise the practical difficulty of
measuring the time interval with the requisite accuracy, but he thinks
that it may be obtained within a fifth of a second. The error in the
result is inversely proportionate to the time required to traverse the
distance, and where the stations are as distant as is compatible with
the sound being audible, its amount for an error of a fifth of a second
is inconsiderable.

This suggestion has not received the attention which it seems to
deserve. It possesses the advantage that the observations may readily
be repeated with little trouble or cost, and that the risk of error
may be much diminished by taking the mean of the observed intervals of
time. A comparison between observations between stations whose height
is known, made under different conditions, by day and night, and in
different states of weather, might, I think, contribute to diminish our
ignorance as to the variable conditions of the atmosphere at different
heights above the surface.



Most scientific readers are familiar with the theory respecting the
influence of changes in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit on the
climate of the globe, which has been sustained with remarkable ability
by Mr. James Croll. The views originally advanced in various scientific
periodicals were presented to the public in a connected form in the
volume entitled “Climate and Time,” wherein the author has brought a
wide knowledge of the principles of physics, and of the whole field of
geological science, to the support of his theory. Even those who have
not given especial attention to the subject are also acquainted with
the conclusions which Sir Charles Lyell drew from the discussion of Mr.
Croll’s arguments, and which are contained in the thirteenth chapter
of the tenth edition of his “Principles of Geology,” and also with the
more recent examination of the subject which is to be found in Mr.
Alfred Wallace’s important work, “Island Life.”

I need not say that a theory so important in its bearing on some of the
most obscure problems of geology has been discussed, in more or less
detail, by many other writers. To most of the objections presented to
his theory, Mr. Croll has replied with his usual ability; and I believe
that at present the prevailing tendency among geologists is towards a
partial acceptance of his views, subject to the limitations assigned
by Mr. Wallace. The latter author holds, in common with Sir Charles
Lyell, that geographical causes, arising from the varying distribution
of land and sea, have mainly controlled the distribution of temperature
over the earth’s surface; but he is disposed to go farther than Lyell
in admitting the influence of periods of high eccentricity in causing
those great accumulations of snow and ice which were requisite to
produce the phenomena of a glacial period, whenever a sufficient area
of elevated land in high latitudes coincided with the period of high

It would probably be of little avail, even if I were to undertake the
task, that I should attempt any thorough discussion of this vast and
difficult problem; and it would certainly require far more space than
can here be given to it. I may, however, venture to make a few remarks
upon some points which have not, to the best of my knowledge, been much
noticed in the discussion.

In reading Mr. Croll’s work, which charmed many an hour during the
voyage to and from South America, I found it very difficult to discover
any flaw in the chain of close reasoning by which he supports his
conclusions. Most of the facts on which he relies are warranted by
observation, and have been accepted as well established by writers of
the highest authority; and his inferences as to the results of altered
conditions appeared to be in strict conformity with admitted physical
principles. Nevertheless, when I reflected on the anomalies which are
found at the present time in respect to the climate of many spots in
the world, and the complexity of the causes which determine its actual
condition, I felt a doubt whether, in his attempt to trace the result
of possible changes, Mr. Croll may not have overlooked some of the
elements of the problem.

Let me briefly state the leading propositions of Mr. Croll’s theory in
order to make intelligible the succeeding remarks.

Estimating approximately the mean distance of the earth from the sun
at ninety-one and a half millions of miles, and the eccentricity[56]
of the sun’s place in the orbit at one and a half million, it follows
that at one period of the year, which happens to be about the winter
solstice of the northern hemisphere, the earth receives from the
sun a quantity of heat greater than that which reaches it in the
opposite part of its orbit, in the proportion of 93^2 to 90^2, or
about as 1000 to 936. Midsummer of the southern hemisphere is the
season when the earth is nearest to the sun; the winter of the southern
and the summer of the northern hemisphere occur when the earth is
farthest from the source of heat. The conclusion seems inevitable--the
southern hemisphere must have hotter summers and colder winters than
our hemisphere, where the heat of summer is tempered by the greater
distance, and the cold of winter mitigated by the comparative nearness,
of the sun.

The next point to be considered is the effect of ocean-currents, and
especially of the Gulf-stream, in modifying the climatal conditions of
some parts of the earth. Following in the track of the late Captain
Maury and Principal Forbes, Mr. Croll has especially insisted on
the importance of the great current which, issuing from the Gulf
of Mexico, and flowing northward between Florida and the Bahamas,
extends across the Atlantic towards the western shores of Europe. He
calculates that by this current alone an amount of heat equal to that
received on the entire surface of the earth in a zone thirty-two miles
in breadth on each side of the equator is carried from the tropics
to the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere. Mr. Croll has, I
think, victoriously replied to several of the objections opposed to
this portion of his argument. His estimate of the volume of water
transferred by the Gulf-stream from the tropics to the northern part of
the Atlantic, which he reckons at the annual amount of about 166,000
cubic miles, is, I think, in no degree exaggerated; and I also think
that he is warranted in estimating the mean initial temperature at
about 65° Fahr. I am, however, persuaded that in assuming 40° Fahr.
as the temperature to which, on an average, this vast body of water
is reduced before it returns to the equatorial zone, Mr. Croll has
gone beyond the probable limit. A large part of the stream is diverted
eastward about the latitude of the Azores, and is never cooled much
below 55° Fahr. before the waters enter the return current on the
eastern side of the Atlantic basin; and I believe that, if we allow the
water of the Gulf-stream to undergo an average loss of temperature of
20° Fahr., we shall be more likely to exaggerate than to underrate the
amount of cooling.

In insisting on the importance of the Gulf-stream in modifying the
climate of Europe and the adjacent parts of the arctic zone, Mr. Croll
agrees with many preceding writers; but, so far as I know, he was the
first to suggest that in consequence of the greater persistency of the
south-east trade-winds, which ordinarily extend up to, and, at some
seasons, even north of, the equator, the warm waters of the Northern
Atlantic derive a large share of the heat which is carried to the
temperate and arctic zones from the southern hemisphere. Applying the
same reasoning to the currents of the Pacific Ocean, Mr. Croll arrives
at the general conclusion (“Climate and Time,” p. 94) that “the amount
of heat transferred from the southern hemisphere to the northern is
equal to all the heat falling within fifty-two miles on each side of
the equator.”

I do not believe that the facts on which Mr. Croll bases this essential
portion of his theory are sufficiently established. With regard to the
Atlantic, I have expressed in the text (p. 344) an opinion, derived
from conversations with practical seamen, that in the Atlantic the
trade-winds of the northern are stronger than those of the southern
hemisphere. That opinion, I am disposed, on further examination, to
regard as incorrect. I believe that the north-east trade-winds often
blow with greater force; but, taking the average of the entire year, I
now think there can be no doubt that the south-east trade-winds extend
over a wider area in the equatorial zone. However this may be, our
knowledge of the currents of the Atlantic does not, I think, authorize
us to conclude that the portion of heated water carried from the
southern to the northern hemisphere is nearly so large as Mr. Croll has
estimated. If the heat of the Gulf-stream were mainly supplied, as Mr.
Croll contends, from that source, there should be a marked difference
in the volume and temperature of the current, between the season when
the north-east trade-winds approach the equator and that in which the
south-east trades prevail to the north of the line, for which there is
no evidence.

As regards the currents and winds of the Pacific, in spite of one
considerable exception, to which I shall further allude, I think
that the balance of evidence points to a greater prevalence of the
south-east trade-winds, and to the probable transference of some
portion of the equatorial waters from the southern to the northern

For the present discussion it is best to accept Mr. Croll’s estimate,
and to compare the amount of heat which he supposes to be transferred
from one hemisphere to the other with the total amount which is
received annually from the sun on each hemisphere. For this purpose
I have taken the known areas of the torrid, temperate, and frigid
zones respectively, and, following Mr. Croll, I have adopted Mr.
Meech’s estimate of the average amount of heat, per unit of surface,
received from the sun in each zone, irrespective of absorption by the
atmosphere. To estimate the proportion of heat which actually reaches
the surface, I have adopted Pouillet’s measure of the proportion of
solar radiation cut off at vertical incidence, which is 24 per cent. I
assume 28 per cent. to be the average loss in the torrid zone, 50 per
cent. in the temperate zone, and 75 per cent. in the frigid zone.[57]
The resulting figures, showing the proportional amount of heat annually
received on the surface of each zone, and on the entire hemisphere, are
as follows:--

  Torrid zone       3370
  Temperate zone    2304
  Frigid zone        112
  Whole hemisphere  5786

Calculating, on the same basis, the amount received on a zone one mile
wide at the equator, allowing a loss of 25 per cent. from atmospheric
absorption, and multiplying the result by 104, I obtain the number
233·1 or rather more than one twenty-fifth part of the entire heat
annually received from the sun by each hemisphere.

To trace the results of such a transfer of heat from one hemisphere to
the other, I shall adopt a mode of reasoning, sanctioned by the great
authority of Sir John Herschel, to which Mr. Croll frequently resorts.
It is by solar heat that the surface of the earth is raised above the
temperature of space, which is assumed to be 239 degrees below the
zero of Fahrenheit’s scale. Adopting Ferrel’s estimate, I take the
mean temperature of the northern hemisphere at 59·5° Fahr., or 298½
degrees above the temperature of space. To maintain this temperature,
it receives one-half of the amount of solar radiation which reaches
the earth, and in addition, on Mr. Croll’s hypothesis, one twenty-fifth
part of that which reaches the southern hemisphere. It follows that the
heat available to raise the southern hemisphere above the temperature
of space stands to that which is received by the northern hemisphere
in the ratio of 24:26, and that the mean temperature of the southern
hemisphere should be 298·5 × 12/13, or 275·5° above the temperature
of space; so that, in ordinary language, the mean temperature of the
southern hemisphere should be 36·5° Fahr. If the fact corresponded with
this result of theory, it would not be necessary to invoke increased
eccentricity of the earth’s orbit to account for the extreme cold of
one hemisphere, seeing that the actual conditions would suffice to
completely alter their relative temperatures.

It occurs to me, however, that, on further consideration, Mr. Croll
would reduce his estimate of the volume of heated water transferred
from the southern to the northern hemisphere; but even if that estimate
were reduced by one-half, we ought to find in the southern hemisphere a
mean temperature of 47·8° Fahr., or nearly 12 degrees lower than that
of our hemisphere.

We have already seen that, so far as climate depends on the relative
position of the earth and the sun, we ought to find in the southern
hemisphere climates of a more extreme character, with hotter summers
and colder winters, than those to which we are accustomed. If it be
true that through the agency of ocean-currents a considerable amount
of heat is transferred to the northern hemisphere, that circumstance
might serve to account for the fact that the summers of the southern
are not generally hotter than those of the northern hemisphere; but it
would, at the same time, tend to aggravate the severity of the southern

At the time of the publication of Mr. Croll’s earlier memoirs, there
existed a general belief that the southern hemisphere was in fact
notably cooler than our portion of the globe, and he naturally referred
to the supposed fact as harmonizing with the general conclusions drawn
by him from theory. But, imperfect as our knowledge of the southern
hemisphere still is, a good deal of information has been obtained of
late years. The only stations south of the fiftieth degree of latitude
from which we possess continuous observations are those mentioned
in the text (p. 273); but we also know with sufficient accuracy the
climates of two widely separated islands lying about 50° south; and
from these we derive results widely different from those to which we
were led by theoretical considerations. The following table gives
approximately the mean temperatures, on Fahrenheit’s scale, for the
year and for the hottest and coldest months of the places referred to
in the southern hemisphere, and the means for corresponding latitudes
in the northern hemisphere:--

    A: S. latitude.
    B: Temperature of January.
    C: Temperature of July.
    D: Mean of year.
    E: N. hemisphere. July.
    F: N. hemisphere. January.
    G: N. hemisphere. Yearly mean.

                            |   A   |  B  |  C  |  D  |  E  |  F  |  G
  Kerguelen Land            |49° 17’|44·3°|35·3°|39·6°|63·3°|22·0°|42·9°
  Auckland Island           |50° 30’|50·2°|35·6°|44·6°|62·3 |19·0°|41·1°
  Falklands (Stanley) I.[58]|51° 41’|49·6°|36·5°|43·0°|61·6°|17·1°|39·8°
  Falklands II.             |52° 5’ |55·9°|37·4°|47·3°|61·3°|16·4°|39·3°
  Falklands, mean of I.     |       |     |     |     |     |     |
     and II.                |       |52·7°|37·0°|45·1°|61·5°|16·7°|39·6°
  Punta Arenas              |53° 25’|51·4°|34·7°|43·0°|60·6°|14·2°|37·7°
  Ushuaia[59]               |54° 53’|53·2°|31·8°|41·9°|59·6°|12·0°|36·2°

If we compare the mean results of these five stations with those for
corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere, we find that the
summers are cooler and the winters very much milder, and that in the
latitudes between 50° and 55° the mean annual temperature is notably
higher. In Kerguelen Land alone the mean annual temperature is lower
than the normal for the same latitude north of the equator; but that
island is evidently exposed to exceptional conditions.

The differences between the mean results given above are shown by the
following table, in which the signs show the excess or deficiency of
the southern as compared with the northern hemisphere:--

  Warmest month.  Coldest month.  Annual mean.
  -11·1° Fahr.    +18·1° Fahr.    +4·2° Fahr.

Dr. Hann has carefully discussed the question as to the comparative
mean temperatures of the two hemispheres in a paper published in the
proceedings of the Vienna Academy, the substance of which is given in
his _Klimatologie_, pp. 89, _et seq._; and it is difficult to refuse
assent to his conclusion that so far as the available evidence goes, it
shows that the mean temperature of both hemispheres is equal.

I find, then, that the same train of reasoning by which Mr. Croll has
sought to explain the occurrence of glacial periods by changes in the
eccentricity of the earth’s orbit, and the precession of the equinoxes,
leads us to conclusions respecting the climatal condition of the
different parts of the earth, at the present amount of eccentricity,
which are altogether opposed to the results of observation; and I am
driven to the conclusion that the causes which he has adduced have
not the predominant influence which he has attributed to them, and
that there must be other agencies to which he has not assigned their
due importance, but which are adequate to counteract the efficiency
of those which, as observation proves, fail to achieve the effects
anticipated from them.

I am far from pretending to be able to analyze completely the complex
agencies which, by their mutual action, determine the climate of
different parts of the earth, but I may briefly refer to two of them.
Foremost of these is the relative distribution of land and sea, for
a due appreciation of which we are indebted to the great work of Sir
Charles Lyell. It is unnecessary here to discuss how far his view of
the probable amount of change in past geological epochs may, in the
present state of our knowledge, be subject to limitation. Mr. Wallace,
who is the most strenuous supporter of the modern doctrine of the
permanence of the present continents and ocean basins, recognizes the
theoretical correctness of Lyell’s views, and admits that changes of
level great enough to cause profound modifications of climate have
actually occurred. Notwithstanding recent objections, it appears to me
that Darwin’s hypothesis as to the subsidence of a great tract in the
Southern Pacific is that which best accounts for the existence of the
countless coral islands in that region; nor is the probability of a
nearly continuous barrier of volcanic islands across the Atlantic to be
completely dismissed. That such changes would have largely affected the
climate of the earth cannot, I think, be doubted.

If I may venture to express my own view on this difficult subject, I
must say that, although it has not been overlooked by the able men
who have discussed it, the paramount importance of aqueous vapour as
an agent for modifying climate has not yet been fully recognized. Mr.
Croll has constantly discussed the phenomena of ocean-currents, as if
their chief function were to affect climate by heating or cooling the
surrounding air, which is thence diffused over the land surfaces, and
he has devoted little attention to the effects of evaporation from
the sea, and the subsequent condensation in some other region of the
vapour produced. When we remember that as much heat is consumed in
the conversion of one cubic mile of water into vapour as would raise
the temperature of nearly ninety-seven cubic miles of water by 10°
Fahr., we get some measure of the vast power of vapour as a vehicle of
heat. Admitting, as I am disposed to do, that 166,000 cubic miles of
water are annually conveyed northward by the Gulf-stream, and suffer
an average loss of 20° Fahr. before returning to the torrid zone, I
must point out that the entire heat requisite to maintain this great
volume of water at the higher temperature would be consumed in the
conversion of 3433 cubic miles of water into vapour. In point of fact,
I believe that more than one-half of the quantity specified is expended
in evaporation, and that the cooling of the waters of the Gulf-stream
is mainly due to this agency. To follow the vapour thus produced, to
ascertain where it is condensed, and where the heat disengaged in the
act of condensation becomes available to raise the temperature of the
air, is a task which is beyond our present resources; but it is one
which must be performed before we can reason with any confidence as
to the ultimate distribution of the heat carried by the Gulf-stream
or any other ocean-current. Whatever part of the vapour produced by
evaporation from the Gulf-stream goes to supply the rainfall of
Western Europe, or to form snow in the arctic regions, acts as a
vehicle to transfer heat from the tropics to the temperate and frigid
zones. But it is more than probable that a large part of the vapour
in question is carried back to the torrid zone, and that some of it
is even restored to the southern hemisphere. The south-eastern branch
of the Gulf-stream flows, at least partially, into the area of the
north-east trade-winds. These winds reach the lower region as cold and
very dry winds. As they advance towards the equator, and are gradually
warmed, their capacity for aqueous vapour constantly increases, and
there can be no doubt that in both hemispheres the trade-winds bear
with them a large share of the vapour which goes to supply the heavy
rainfall of the tropics.

In the Pacific region we have direct evidence to this effect, in the
fact that in Hawaii, and elsewhere, the side of the islands exposed to
the trade-winds is that of heavy rainfall, and is generally covered
with forest. No sufficient data exist for estimating the amount
of vapour thus carried back to the tropics from high latitudes on
both sides of the equator, nor the amount of heat set free by its
condensation; but we may form some conception of its probable amount by
considering that at the moderate estimate of a mean annual rainfall of
seventy-two inches for the portion of the globe between the tropics,
this amounts to a yearly fall of 88,737 cubic miles, and that we can
scarcely reckon the share of this great volume of water supplied by
evaporation from the same part of the globe at more than one-half.
Still less is it possible to calculate the amount of vapour annually
transferred from the northern to the southern hemisphere, which goes
to neutralize the apparent effect of the diversion of portions of the
equatorial waters to the north side of the line. In the Atlantic basin
it is probable that the larger part of the rainfall in the region
including and surrounding the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea is
supplied by vapour carried from the temperate zone by the north-east
trade-winds. There is some reason to believe that a portion of the
rainfall of the great basin of the Amazons, south of the line, is also
supplied from the same source. Several travellers report that during
the rainy season the prevailing winds are from the west and north-west,
the latter being especially predominant at Iquitos, about 4° S.
latitude, and 1600 miles from the mouth of the river.

In tropical Australia the rainy season falls during the prevalence
of the north-west monsoon, and we cannot doubt that this is mainly
supplied by vapour carried from the northern hemisphere. Another
region wherein the same phenomenon is exhibited on a large scale is
the central portion of Polynesia, extending from the Feejee to the
Society Islands over a space of at least twenty degrees of longitude.
Over that wide area, as far as about twenty degrees south of the line,
the regular south-east trade-wind prevails only in the winter of the
southern hemisphere, while during the rest of the year, especially in
summer, north and north-east winds have the predominance. Taking the
mean of three stations in the Feejee Islands, of which the returns are
given by Dr. Hann, I find in round numbers the very large amount of 150
inches for the mean annual rainfall, of which 105 fall during the seven
months from October to April, while the five colder months from May to
September supply only forty-five inches of rain. There can be little
doubt that the larger part of the 105 inches falling during the warm
season is derived from the northern hemisphere.

I by no means seek to account fully for the apparent contradiction
between the results of theory, as developed by Dr. Croll, and the
actual distribution of heat over the earth as proved by observation;
but I venture to think that I have shown reason to doubt the
possibility of drawing absolute conclusions as to the results of
astronomical changes until we shall have fuller knowledge than we now
possess of all the agencies that regulate climates.

Before concluding these remarks, I will notice one other branch of the
argument in regard to which I am unable to concur with Mr. Croll. As we
have seen, the essential point in his theory as to the _modus operandi_
of changes of eccentricity, and the relative position of the poles, on
the distribution of temperature, is that the currents of the equatorial
zone are driven towards the pole which has the summer in aphelion,
and that the cause of this shifting of the currents depends on the
greater strength of the trade-winds in the hemisphere which has the
winter in aphelion; the strength of the trade-winds in turn depending
on the amount of difference of temperature between the equatorial
and the colder zones. Taking the surface of the earth generally, the
trade-winds of the southern are probably stronger than those of the
northern hemisphere, and, if it were true that the south temperate and
frigid zones were colder than those of the other hemisphere, it would
be allowable to argue that the greater difference of temperature as
compared with the equatorial zone was the cause of the greater strength
of the trade-winds. But we now certainly know that the southern
hemisphere between latitudes 45° and 55° is considerably warmer than
the corresponding zone of the northern hemisphere, and we have good
grounds for believing that the mean temperature of the whole hemisphere
south of latitude 45° is higher, and certainly not lower, than that
of the same portion of the northern hemisphere. We are therefore
not justified in explaining the greater strength of the southern
trade-winds by a greater inequality of temperature between the equator
and the pole.

In my opinion the cause of this predominance of the southern
trade-winds is to be sought in the fact that the southern is mainly
a water hemisphere, while the northern is in great part a land
hemisphere. In the south, the great currents of the atmosphere flow
with scarcely any interruption, except that caused by Australia, where,
in fact, the trade-winds are irregular, and lose their force. In the
northern hemisphere the various winds originating in the unequal
heating of the land surface interfere with the normal force of the
trade-winds, and weaken their effect.

In connection with this branch of the subject, I may remark that the
belief in the greater cold of the southern hemisphere mainly rests
on the fact that all the land hitherto seen in high latitudes has
been mountainous, and is covered by great accumulations of snow and
ice. But this does not in itself justify the conclusion that the mean
temperature is extremely low. It is true that the fogs which ordinarily
rest on a snow-covered surface much diminish the effect of solar
radiation during the summer in high latitudes, but this is compensated
by the great amount of heat liberated in the condensation of vapour.
The only part of the earth which is now believed to be covered with
an ice-sheet is Greenland, but the mean of the observations in that
country shows a temperature higher by at least 10° Fahr. than that of
Northern Asia, where the amount of snowfall is very slight, and rapidly
disappears during the short arctic summer. If there be, as some persons
believe, a large tract of continental land surrounding the south pole,
I should expect to find that the great accumulations of snow and ice
are confined to the coast regions. In that case the mean temperature of
the region within the antarctic circle would probably be lower than it
would be in the supposition, which appears to me more probable, that
the lands hitherto seen belong to scattered mountainous islands. If,
from any combination of causes, one pole of the earth has ever been
brought to a mean temperature much lower than that now experienced,
I should expect to find that the phenomena of glaciation would be
exhibited towards the equatorial limit of the cold zone, rather than
in the portions near the pole. The formation of land-ice depends on
the condensation of vapour, and before air-currents could reach the
centre of an area of extreme cold the contained vapour would have been
condensed. This consideration alone suffices, to my mind, to make the
supposition of a polar ice-cap in the highest degree improbable.

Mr. Wallace (“Island Life,” p. 142) cites, as conclusive evidence of
the effect of winter in aphelion in producing glaciation, the facts,
to which attention was first directed by Darwin, as to the depression
of the line of perpetual snow, and the consequent extension of great
glaciers, on the west coast of Southern Chili. I have adverted to
this subject in the text (p. 229), and I may further remark that if
winter in aphelion be the cause of the depression of the snow-line in
latitude 41° S., it can scarcely fail to produce some similar effect
in latitude 34° S. Yet we find on the southern limit the snow-line
much lower, and at the northern much higher, than it has ever been
observed in corresponding latitudes in the northern hemisphere, the
line being depressed by more than 8000 feet within a distance of only
seven degrees of latitude. The explanation, as I have ventured to
maintain, is altogether to be found in the extraordinary rainfall of
Southern Chili; and to the same cause we must attribute the fact that,
in spite of the greater distance of the sun, the winter temperature is
higher than in most places in corresponding latitudes in the northern
hemisphere. At Ancud in Chiloe, in latitude 41° 46′, the temperature
of the coldest month is lower by less than three and a half degrees
of Fahrenheit than it is at Coimbra in Portugal, one and a half degree
nearer the equator, in the region which receives the full warming
effect of the Gulf-stream.

I should have expressed myself ill in the preceding pages if I should
be supposed to deny that, in his writings on this subject, Mr. Croll
has made an important contribution to the physics of geology. He has,
in my humble opinion, been the first to recognize the full importance
of one of the agencies which, under possible conditions, may have
profoundly affected the climate of the globe during past epochs,
although I do not believe that, in the present state of our knowledge,
we can safely draw those positive inferences at which he has arrived.
Even those who are unable to accept any portion of his theory as to the
causes of past changes of climate must feel indebted to his writings
for numerous valuable suggestions, and for the removal of many popular
opinions which his acute criticism has shown to be untenable.



  _Acacia Cavenia_, 157

  Aconcagua, 192

  ---- valley, vegetation of, 195

  _Adesmia_, 182

  Agassiz, Professor Alexander, 342

  Ajulla, Promontory of, 51

  Albatross, 215

  Alligators, 41

  Alpine zone in Andes, 91

  Amancais, 71

  Amatapi, Sierra, 52

  Ancud, 145

  Andean Flora, Alpine zone, 104

  ----, divisions of the, 104

  ----, European genera common to, 101

  Andean railways, 63

  Andes, 49

  ----, Alpine zone in, 91

  ----, cactoid plant in, 92

  ----, Chilian, view of, 183

  ----, climate of Peruvian, 99

  ----, _Compositæ_ in, 102

  ----, cosmopolitan weeds in, 101

  Aneroid barometers, 353, 354

  Angol, 213

  Antarctic beech, 256

  ---- Flora, range of, 219

  _Anthopterus Wardii_, 34

  Anticosti, 273

  Apoquinto, baths of, 188

  Araucanian Indians, 212

  ----, language of, 213

  _Araucaria Brasiliensis_, 311

  Argentaria, climate of, 300

  ----, emigration to, 298, 299

  ----, forests of, 295

  ----, progress of agriculture, 298

  ----, frontier of Chili and, 258

  Arica, vegetation of, 121

  _Armeria maritima_, var. _andina_, 263

  Artichoke, wild, 168

  Atacama, desert of, 124, 131

  Atlantic, colour of, 7

  ----, summer temperature of, 362

  ----, temperature of, 5

  ----, winds of, 345

  _Ayacucho_ steamship, 118

  Azores, 5


  _Baccharis_, 157

  Bahia Blanca, 298, 357, 358

  Bahia de Todos Santos, 346

  _Baillonia spartioides_, 202

  Balmacedo, Don F., 191

  Banda Oriental, 281

  ----, vegetation of, 293

  Barbadoes, absence of venomous snakes in, 14

  ----, black population of, 11

  ---- harbour police, 9

  ---- planters, 13

  ----, productiveness of, 8

  Barometer, high, 4

  ----, tables for, 4

  Beagle Channel, 273

  Belem, Tower of, 363

  _Berberis buxifolia_, 263

  ---- _empetrifolia_, 263

  ---- _ilicifolia_, 263

  Berberry, 225

  Bentos, Fray, 287

  Bio-Bio river, 213

  Black-fish, 7

  Blue Mountains, Jamaica, 17

  _Bombax pubescens_, 328

  Borya Bay, 241

  Bossi, Signor Bartolomeo, 281

  Botafogo, 322

  Bove, Lieutenant, 252

  Bramble in Chili, 150

  Brazil, ancient mountains of, 317

  ----, coffee-planting in, 341

  ----, geology of, 313, 314

  ----, glacial deposits in, 342

  ----, rainfall in coast region of, 334

  Brazilian physicians, their fees, 340

  Bridges, suspension, in the Andes, 85

  Buenaventura, 32

  Buenos Ayres, 293-295, 299


  Cabo Blanco, 43

  ---- San Lorenzo, 37

  ---- Santa Elena, 38

  Cachapoal river, 178

  Cactoid plant in Andes, 92

  Caldera, 133

  Callao, 61

  ----, quarantine at, 57

  Canary Islands, 362

  Cape Froward, 243

  ---- Parinas, 44

  ---- pigeon (_Daption capensis_), 214

  ---- Pillar, 238

  ---- Verde Islands, 359

  Capricorn, Tropic of, 132

  Cardoon, 164

  Casapalta, 91

  Catamarans, 352

  _Cathartes atratus_, 112

  Caudivilla, 109

  Cauquenes, Morro de, 182

  ----, town of, 169

  Cauquenes Baths, 172

  ----, railway to, 163

  Celery, wild, 221

  _Cereus Quisco_, 151, 176

  Cerro de Pasco, 72

  ---- del Roble, 151

  Chacao, Canal de, 216

  Chagres river, 22

  Chañeral, 133

  Channels of Patagonia, 222, 223

  Chicla, hotel at, 80

  ----, scenery at, 84

  ----, vegetation of, 98

  Chili and Argentaria, frontier of, 258

  ---- and Peru, naval war of, 58

  ----, bramble in, 150

  ----, Central, flora of, 141

  ---- ----, climate of, 143-145

  ---- ----, rainfall in, 144

  ----, European plants in, 164

  ----, physical geography of, 170

  ----, Southern, glaciers of, 229

  ---- ----, rainfall of, 229

  Chilian elections, cumulative vote, 191

  ---- mines, 161

  _Chiliotrichium amelloides_, 234

  Chiloe, island of, 215

  Chimborazo, 38

  Chonos Archipelago, 216

  Chosica, 73

  _Chuquiraga spinosa_, 91

  Churches in Lima, 62

  _Chusquea_, 152

  Cigars, Guayaquil, 41

  Cinnamon tree, 10

  Claraz, M. Georges, 357, 358

  Clarence Island, 243

  Climate, effects of tropical, 39

  _Cnicus lanceolatus_, 164

  Cobeja, 131

  Coffee-planting in Brazil, 341

  _Colletia spinosa_, 177

  Colomba, 214

  Colon, 21, 22, 27

  Commercial travellers, German, 309

  _Compositæ_ in Andes, 102

  Concepcion del Uruguay, 288

  Condor, 87, 93

  Condors, captive, 185

  Copiapò, 133

  ----, Rio de, 133

  Coquimbo, vegetation of, 136, 138

  Corbett, Mr., 328

  Cordillera de la Costa, 218

  Cordillera Grande, of Goyaz, 315

  Cordillera Pelada, 218, 219

  Cordillera in Peru, 49

  Corrientes, 294, 300

  Cosmos Line, German steamers of, 205

  Cousiño, Madame, 207

  Crab, red, 227

  Croll, Dr. James, 271

  ----, remarks on his theory of secular changes of climate, 393

  _Cryptocarya Peumus_, 160

  Cuyabà, 279, 310


  Dandelion (_Taraxacum lævigatum_), 263

  _Daption capensis_, 214

  Darwin, Mount, 267, 270

  Dawson Island, 245

  _Desfontainea spinosa_, 225

  Desolation, Land of, 235, 241

  _Diomedea exulans_, 215

  ---- _fuliginosa_, 215

  _Don_, Royal Mail steamer, 2

  _Doterel_, wreck of the, 267

  _Drimys Winteri_, 147

  Drummond-Hay, Mr., 148

  Dungeness, 271

  _Duvaua dependens_, 293


  Earthquake-waves, 122

  _Eccremocarpus scaber_, 199

  Ecuador, 36, 40

  Eden harbour, 224

  Education, Chilian zeal for, 265

  Elections, Chilian, cumulative vote, 191

  _Encelia canescens_, 134

  Engler, Dr., 34, 106

  English Narrows, 223

  English the _lingua franca_ of America, 88

  Ensenada, 302

  Entrerios, 288

  Equator, cold current near, 356

  ----, path of the sun, 37

  Equatorial rains, 352

  ---- vegetation, 33

  _Erodium cicutarium_, 165

  _Escallonia_, 181

  Espiritu Santo, Cape, 271

  _Eucalyptus globulus_, 160, 292

  Evergreen beech (_Fagus betuloides_), 225

  Existence, struggle for, 330

  Eyre Sound, 228


  _Fagus betuloides_, 225

  ---- _obliqua_, 151

  Falkland Islands, 247, 273

  Fayrer, Sir Joseph, 349

  Fenton, Dr., 250, 262, 269

  Fernando Noronha, 354, 355

  Feuillée, Father, 184

  Flint, Mr., 153

  Flowering plants, origin of, 318

  Flying-fish, 5

  ---- of Pacific, 53

  Fogs on Peruvian coast, 54

  _Francoa sonchifolia_, 210

  French, Dr., 289, 291

  Fruit-sellers, migratory, 42

  Fuegians, 233, 242, 260, 261


  Gallinazo, 87

  ----, scavenger bird, 112

  _Galvesia limensis_, 45

  Gillies, Captain, 344

  Glacial deposits in Brazil, 342

  Glaciers in South Patagonia, 239

  ---- of Southern Chili, 229

  Glaziou, Dr., 324

  _Gleichenia_, 226, 311

  _Glyptodon_, 358

  Gongo Seco, 316

  Gordontown, Jamaica, 18

  ----, cool climate of, 19

  Graham, Mr. J. R., 67

  Granite, disintegration of, 315

  Grisebach, 34, 145

  Gualtro, 168

  Guanacos, 131, 253

  Guano Islands, 53

  Guayaquil cigars, 41

  Guayaquil, city of, 40, 41

  ----, Gulf of, 38, 40

  Guayas river, 38, 41, 42

  _Gynopleura linearifolia_, 157


  Hale Cove, 220

  Hann, Dr. Julius, 144, 305, 349

  Hanover Island, 236

  Hayti, island of, 15

  ----, cannibalism in, 16

  Haze, opacity of, 158

  Heights above sea-level, fall of temperature in ascending to, 369

  Henderson’s Inlet, 231

  Hess, Mr., 163

  _Hippeastrum equestre_, 19

  Hopedale, in Labrador, 273

  Huanillos, 127

  Humboldt current, 50

  Humming-birds, 209

  _Hura crepitans_, 10

  _Hymenophylla_, 226


  _Iberia_ steamship, 269

  Ice-axe, 226

  Ice, floating, 228

  Illiluk, 274

  Immigrant plants, Darwin’s view of, 166

  ----, checks on their extension, 167

  Indians, Araucanian, 212

  ----, Patagonian, 260

  Iquique, 121

  ----, sea-fight at, 127

  Isla de Santa Maria, 211

  _Islay_ steamship, 29

  Itamariti, Falls of, 329


  Jamaica, 16

  ----, black population of, 20

  ----, vegetation of, 18

  Jacmel harbour, 15


  _Kageneckia oblonga_, 175

  Kingston, Jamaica, 16


  _Lapageria rosea_, 209

  La Plata, estuary of, 277, 283

  Las Condes, 163

  La Serena, 136, 145

  Lavapie Promontory, 211

  Liais, M., 342

  _Libocedrus_, 235

  Lichens, 221

  Lima, 61

  ----, a dinner-party at, 108

  ----, ancient beaches near, 113

  ----, meteorological observations at, 99

  _Liriodendron_, 344

  Lisbon, Rock of, 363

  Llaillai, 150

  Llama in Peru, 95

  Loa river, 127

  _Lobelia gigantea_, 184

  _Lobelia tupa_, 184

  ----, poisonous species of, 76

  Lobos de tierra, 53

  ---- de afuera, 53

  _Lomaria magellanica_, 226

  Lombardi, Signor M., 109

  Lombardy poplar, 160

  _Loranthus_, 176, 202

  Lord Nelson Strait, 236

  Lota, coal deposits of, 207

  ----, parque of, 208

  Lynch, Don Patricio, 67

  ----, his administration, 68


  Maceio, 347

  Magellan, Straits of, 238, 239, 367

  ----, forests in the, 240

  ----, variable climate in, 240, 254

  Maipo river, 134

  Maldonado, 304

  _Malesherbiaceæ_, 157

  Mango tree, 10

  Mapocho river, 157

  Markham, Captain Albert, 135

  _Marrubium vulgare_, 138

  Matto Grosso, 279

  Matucana, San Juan de, 76

  Mayne Channel, 237

  _Maytenus magellanica_, 263

  Meiggs, Mr., 65

  Mejillones, 132

  Memory, lapses of, 26

  Mendoza, 300

  Mercator’s projection, 30

  Messier’s Channel, 220, 231

  Mist, clearing of, 333

  _Mitraria coccinea_, 225

  Molina, 175

  Mollendo, 119

  ----, a bad port, 120

  Monkeys, domesticated, 332

  Monson, Mr., 280

  Montaña of Eastern Peru, 97

  Monte Video, 277, 279

  Morro de Cauquenes, 182

  Mountain-sickness, 81

  _Mulinum_, 189

  _Mutisia_, 177

  _Mutisiaceæ_, 102

  _Myzodendron punctulatum_, 256


  Napp, Mr. Richard, 300

  Nation, Mr. W., 70, 108

  Naval war of Chili and Peru, 58

  New Granada, 32

  _Nicotiana glauca_, 360

  Nikolaiewsk, 273

  North Atlantic, trade-wind of, 361

  Northern hemisphere, temperature of, 273, 274


  O’Higgins, General, 154

  Olfactory nerve, fugitive impressions, 190

  _Oreodoxa regia_, 324

  Organ Mountains, 325

  Oroya railway, 64

  ----, spiral tunnel of, 79

  ----, viaducts of, 74

  Ostrich, South American, 261

  _Oxalis lobata_, 146


  Pacific coast-steamers, 31

  Pacific, colour of water of, 31

  ----, first view of, 25

  ----, flying-fish of, 53

  ----, high seas in Southern, 211

  ---- steamer, delay of, 269

  Paisandu, 288, 289

  Palms, avenue of, 323

  Panama, 21

  ---- Bay, birds in, 29

  ---- Grand Hotel, 27

  ---- railway, 25

  ---- ship-canal, 23

  ----, vegetation of, 24

  Paraguay river-steamers, 279

  Paranà, 317

  ----, basin of the, 312

  ---- river, 284

  Paranagua, Bay of, 308

  Paranahyba, 313

  ---- valley, 320

  Parasites and climbers, 330

  Patagonia, 300

  ---- Channels, scenery of, 222, 227

  ----, vegetation of, 225, 235

  ----, women of, 253

  Patagonian coast, winter climate, 276

  Patagonian Indians, 260

  Payta, climate and vegetation of, 45

  Peckett Harbour, 262, 270

  Pedro, Dom, Emperor of Brazil, 337

  Pelicans, black, 59

  Peñas, Gulf of, 218

  Pernambuco, 351

  _Pernettya_, 225

  Peru, 44

  ---- and Chili, naval war of, 58

  ----, climate of Northern, 47

  ----, future of, 117

  Peruvian coast, fogs on, 54

  ----, low temperature of, 55

  ---- sugar-plantation, 110

  Pessimism, 365, 366

  Petrel, giant, 215

  Petropolis, 326, 327, 335

  ----, hermit of, 331

  ----, winter climate of, 334

  Peumo tree, 159, 175

  Philippi, Dr., 154

  ----, Professor Federigo, 155, 219

  Physicians, Brazilian, their fees, 340

  Pierola, Dictator of Peru, 117

  Pietrabona, Commander, 257

  Pimento tree, 10

  Pisagua, 123

  ----, white rocks at, 125

  Pisco, 119

  _Plantago maritima_, 263

  _Pleroma arboreum_, 342

  ---- _granulosum_, 336

  _Podocarpus nubigena_, 235

  Poncho, 179

  _Porliera hygrometrica_, 199

  Port Famine, 245, 250

  ---- Gallant, 241

  Potato, wild, in Andes, 93

  Prado, General, 36

  _Prosopis limensis_, 46

  _Proustia Baccharoides_, 195

  _Pteris aquilina_, 329

  Puente Infernillo, 78

  Puerto Bueno, 233

  Punta Arenas, 145, 246, 273

  _Puya_, 151


  Quadras in Santiago, 153

  Quarantine at Callao, 57

  ---- at St. Vincent, 359

  _Quaresma_, 336

  Queen Adelaide Island, 236, 238

  _Quillaja saponaria_, 175

  Quillota, Valley of, 150

  Quinta Normal at Santiago, 155


  Railways, Andean, 63

  ----, Oroya, 64

  ----, spiral tunnel of, 79

  ----, viaducts of, 74

  Rancagua, 168

  Reed, Mr. Edwin, 204

  Reilly, Mr., 210

  Resguardo del Rio Colorado, 200

  _Rhamses_, the, 205

  _Rhea Darwinii_, habits of, 261

  Rimac, valley of the, 71

  ----, ancient terraces in, 75

  ----, _Compositæ_ in, 76

  ----, effects of sea-breeze in, 98

  Rio Claro, 171

  ---- Colorado, 276

  ---- Janeiro, Bay of, 321, 322, 325

  ---- Parahyba do Sul, 313

  ---- San Francisco, 314

  Rocks, disintegration of, 115

  ----, ice-action on, 228

  _Rumex acetosella_, 263


  _Sagittaria Montevidensis_, 297

  Saladeros, 287

  _Salix Humboldtiana_, 77

  Salta, 294

  Salto, 291

  _Sambucus Peruviana_, 101

  Sampayo, Don Francisco, 257

  San Bartolomé, 73

  ---- Cristobal, Cerro, 156

  Sand-box tree (_Hura crepitans_), 10

  Sandy Point, 246, 250

  ----, burnt forest at, 256

  ----, mutiny of convicts at, 251

  ----, the hotel at, 249

  ----, vegetation of, 255, 263

  San Felipe, 192

  Sanitary rules, neglect of, 87

  San José, Promontory of, 276

  ---- volcano, 164

  San Lorenzo, island of, 59

  San Matias, Bay of, 276

  San Paulo, 308-310

  ---- and Rio Janeiro railway, 312

  ----, railway from Santos to, 307, 308

  San Ramon, Salto de, 190

  Santa Clara, 72

  Santa Cruz settlement, 246

  Santa Lucia, Rock of, 162

  Santa Rosa de los Andes, 193, 196

  Santiago, 145, 153, 156, 161

  ----, railway to, 149

  ----, sunset at, 186

  Santos, 305, 306

  ----, tropical vegetation at, 307

  São João da Barra, 312

  São Salvador, 346

  Sarmiento Channel, 231

  Sarmiento, Mount, 243, 244, 267, 270

  Scavenger bird, 112

  _Schinus molle_, 77

  Sea-sickness, 217

  Seaweed, bands of, 6

  _Senecio_, the genus, 268

  Serra da Mantiqueira, 313, 314

  Serra do Mar, 308, 314

  Shannon, Captain, 269

  Simpson, Captain, 207

  Sitka, 274

  Smyth’s Channel, 231, 237

  _Solanum mammosum_, 33

  Soroche, mountain-sickness, 81

  Soto, Don Olegario, 171

  South America, tropical, origin of flora, 35

  ----, rainless zone of, 48

  South Brazil, plateau of, flora, 311

  South Patagonia, glaciers in, 239

  Southern Atlantic, climate of, 305

  Southern Cross, 7, 253

  Southern hemisphere, temperature of, 272-274

  Spanish-Americans, indolence of, 89

  Species, groups of incomplete, 181

  Staten Island, 252, 258

  St. Antão Island, 359

  Steamers, Pacific coast, 31

  Straits of Magellan, 270

  Sunstroke, causes of, 349, 350

  Surco station, 75

  Swinburne, Don Carlos, 154


  Taforò, Dr., 191

  _Tagus_ steamship, 344

  Talca, 145

  Taltal, 133

  Tamar, Cape, 240

  Tambo de Mora, 119

  Tarapacà, 125

  _Taraxacum lævigatum_, 263

  Telephone, use of, in South America, 290

  Tierra del Fuego, 245, 267

  Tijuca, 338

  ----, giant tree near, 343

  ----, vegetation of, 341

  _Tillandsia_, 307

  Titicaca, Lake of, 63, 66

  Tocantins river, 315

  Tocopilla, 128, 133

  ----, scenery of the moon, 129

  Trade wind, north-east, 6

  Trescott, Mr., 60

  Tres Montes, Cape, 218

  Trinidad, Gulf of, 231

  _Triumph_, the ship, 135

  _Tropæolum tuberosum_, 78

  Trumpet-flower (_Bignonia venusta_), 307, 311

  Tucuman, 294

  Tumaco, 36

  Tumbez, 43

  _Tupa Berterii_, 184

  ---- _secunda_, 184

  Tupungato, the Peak of, 153


  Ucayali river, English settler at, 96

  Unalaschka, 274

  Uruguay, climate of, 279

  ----, fossil remains in, 291

  ----, islands of the, 287

  ---- Republic of, chronic disorder, 282, 284, 285

  Ushuaia, mission station at, 260

  Ushuaja, 273

  Uspallata Pass, 200

  _Utricularia_, 33


  Valdivia, 145

  Valparaiso, 138, 145

  ----, danger of earthquakes at, 139

  Vegetation, equatorial, 33

  Verbena family, 201

  Viaducts, Oroya railway, 74

  Vicuña Mackenna, Don Benjamin, 158

  Villages, remains of ancient Peruvian, 73

  Viña del Mar, 149

  Vincent, St., aspect of, 360

  ----, quarantine at, 359

  Vinciguerra, Signor, 252

  Virgenes, Cape, 271

  Volcano de Chana, 219


  Wellington Island, 222

  Willsen, Captain, 205

  Winter’s bark (_Drimys Winteri_), 147


  Yellow fever, treatment of, 339


In the annexed map an attempt has been made to represent the probable
course of the isothermal lines--lines denoting equal temperature--in
the South American continent. The black lines indicate the mean
temperature for the entire year; the red lines that for January, the
hottest month; and the green lines that of July, the coldest month.
The numbers placed over each line in corresponding colours indicate
the temperature in degrees of the Centigrade scale. We possess a fair
amount of information as to the meteorology of the coasts of the
continent; but of the interior our knowledge is miserably deficient,
and is nearly limited to several stations in Argentaria, and a few in
the basin of the Amazons. As a result, the course of the isothermal
lines in the interior is to a great extent conjectural. As in all
similar maps, no account has been taken of the relief of the surface;
when a line crosses a mountain range, the temperature indicated is
that which would be found, as is assumed, if the height were reduced
to the sea-level. No attempt has been made to show the variations of
temperature with the season in the part of the continent near the
equator. These are very slight, and depend mainly on local conditions,
the mean temperature of the year varying from 25·5° to 28° C., or from
about 78° to 82° Fahr.; the hottest seasons near the equator, apart
from local conditions, being those of the equinoxes.

The chief interest of the map to the physical geographer arises from
the remarkable effect of the southern, or Humboldt, current, in
lowering the temperature of the western coast between the fifth and the
fortieth degrees of south latitude. This is, of course, most apparent
in the isothermal for January. It will be seen that at that season the
temperature of Northern Peru is about the same as that of Buenos Ayres,
lying thirty degrees farther from the equator. In mid-winter (July)
the effect is far less apparent, and in the south of the continent
the isotherms for that season nearly correspond with the parallels of
latitude. The lines indicating mean annual temperature naturally assume
a course intermediate between those for the extreme seasons.



            Edw^{d.} Weller, lith.
    _London: Kegan Paul, Trench & Co._

  illustrating the


[1] For a list of the plants collected here, see a paper in the
_Journal of the Linnæan Society_, vol. xxii.

[2] Much cinchona bark, coming from the interior, was formerly shipped
at Tumaco; but between horrible roads and the reckless waste of the
forests through mismanagement, but little is now conveyed by this way.

[3] For a list of the species collected, see the _Journal of Linnæan
Society_, vol. xxii.

[4] The abrupt change in the vegetation on this part of the American
coast has been noticed by Humboldt, Weddell, and other scientific
travellers. In a note to the French edition of Grisebach (“Vegetation
du Globe,” traduit par P. de Tchihatcheff, ii. p. 615), M. André
expresses the opinion that this, as well as some other cases of abrupt
change in the vegetation observed by him in Colombia, are to be
explained by the nature of the soil, which in the arid tracts is sandy
or stony, and fails to retain moisture. Admitting that in certain cases
this may afford a partial explanation of the facts, it is scarcely
conceivable that the limit of the zone wherein little or no rain falls
should exactly coincide with a change in the constitution of the soil,
and I should be more disposed to admit a reversed order of causation,
the porous and mobile superficial crust remaining in those tracts
where, owing to deficient rainfall, there is no formation of vegetable
mould, and no accumulation of the finer sediment forming a retentive

[5] The only detailed account of the operations that I have seen is in
a work entitled, “Histoire de la Guerre du Pacifique,” by Don Diego
Barros Arana. Paris: 1881. It appears to be fairly accurate as to
facts, but coloured by very decided Chilian sympathies.

[6] The heights given in the text are those of the railway stations.

[7] Of 138 genera of _Helianthoïdeæ_ 107 are exclusively confined to
the American continent, 18 more are common to America and distant
regions of the earth, one only is limited to tropical Asia, and
two to tropical Africa, the remainder being scattered among remote
islands--the Sandwich group, the Galapagos, Madagascar, and St. Helena.

[8] See note to page 184.

[9] In _Nature_ for September 14, 1882.

[10] The only accurate information that I have found respecting the
climate of Lima is contained in a paper by Rouand y Paz Soldan,
“Resumen de las Observaciones Meteorologicas hechas en Lima durante
1869,” quoted in the French translation of Grisebach’s “Vegetation du
Globe.” Reduced to English measures, they give the following results:--

  Mean temperature of four years           66·6°  Fahr.
       ”      ”       January, 1869        74·3°   ”
       ”      ”       July, 1869           57·6°   ”
  Rainfall in the year 1869                13·4  inches.
      ”       June, 1869                    2·45    ”
      ”       July, 1869                    2·72    ”
      ”       August, 1869                  2·48    ”
      ”       September, 1869               2·33    ”
      ”       October, 1869                 2·16    ”
      ”       remaining seven months        1·24    ”

There is reason to think that the temperature for July, 1869, given
above was exceptionally low, and although the months during which fogs
prevail are abnormally cool for a place within 13° of the equator, I
believe that the thermometer rarely falls below 60° Fahr.

[11] See Appendix A, On the Fall of Temperature in ascending to Heights
above the Sea-level.

[12] It is a curious illustration of the utterly untrustworthy
character of statements made by unscientific travellers to read the
following passage in a book published by a recent traveller in South
America, who visited Chicla in November, the beginning of summer. He
declares that the fringe of green vegetation “dwindles and withers at
a height of nine or ten thousand feet;... while on the upper grounds,
where sometimes rain is plentiful, the air is too keen and cold for
even the most dwarfish and stunted vegetation to thrive.”

[13] “Versuch einer Entwicklungsgeschichte der Pflanzenwelt.”

[14] The heights are certainly incorrect. The base of the hill of
Amancaes is nearly seven hundred feet above sea-level, and Mr. Nation
states that the two localities mentioned by Mr. Cruikshank are at about
the same elevation.

[15] Two small Chilian wooden ships, the _Esmeralda_, of 850 tons,
mounting eight guns, commanded by Arturo Prat, and the _Covadonga_,
of 412 tons, with two guns, commanded by Condell, were engaged in the
blockade of Iquique, when, on the 21st of May, 1879, they were attacked
by the Peruvian ironclad _Independencia_, of 2004 tons, mounting 18
(chiefly heavy Armstrong) guns, commanded by J. G. Moore, and the
monitor _Huascar_, of 1130 tons, mounting two 300-pounder Armstrong
turret guns, besides two deck guns, under Miguel Grau, the most skilful
and enterprising of the Peruvian commanders. The Chilian captains
resolved on a desperate defence. After maintaining for two hours the
fight against the _Huascar_, Arturo Prat resolved on the attempt to
board his adversary. Bringing his ship alongside, he sprang on the deck
of the _Huascar_; but the ships were separated at once, and two men
only fell along with him, while the _Esmeralda_ went to the bottom with
her crew of 180 men, of whom several were picked up by the boats of
the _Huascar_. The _Independencia_, following the little _Covadonga_,
ran on the rocks in the shallows south of Iquique, and became a total
wreck; while the _Covadonga_, though shattered by her enemy’s guns, was
able to reach Autofogasta. The heroism of the Chilian commanders saved
their country, and at the critical moment changed the fortune of the

[16] In the preface to his “Florula Atacamensis,” Dr. Philippi, who has
explored this region more thoroughly than any other traveller, states
that on the range of coast hills between the Pan de Azucar (lat. 26° 8′
south) and Miguel Diaz (lat. 24° 36′) the fogs, called in Peru _garua_,
or _garruga_, deposit during a great part of the year some moisture
which occasionally takes the form of fine rain, such as is familiarly
known to occur on the hills near Lima. He remarks as singular the fact
that the same phenomenon is not observed on the coast north or south of
those limits. From more recent observations, it would appear that this
is not strictly true as regards the higher coast hills near Coquimbo,
but it seems to hold as regards the tract of coast to the northward,
between the neighbourhood of Taltal and that of Iquique, a distance
of about four degrees of latitude. It may be that the coast hills are
lower here than further south, and that as the desert region inland
rises very gradually, and has a higher temperature inland than near the
coast, the formation of fog is prevented. Whatever be the cause, the
absence of fog would go far to account for the utter sterility of this

[17] The four species of _Encelia_ described in De Candolle’s
“Prodromus” appear to me to be but slightly modified forms of a single
species. Since the publication of that work, several other and quite
distinct species have been ranked under the same generic name.

[18] While botanizing in the Tajo de Ronda, the singular cleft which
cuts through the rocky hill on which the town is built, I was once for
some time in positive danger. The boys, having espied me, assembled on
the bridge that crosses the cleft, some three hundred feet above my
head, and commenced a regular fire of stones, that drove me to take
shelter under an overhanging rock until, being tired of the sport, they
turned their attentions elsewhere.

[19] One of the difficulties felt by all students of geographical
distribution arises from the imperfect or careless indications given
both in books and in herbaria, and this is more felt in regard to South
America than as to any other part of the world. A very large proportion
of the earlier collections bear simply the label “Brazil,” forgetting
that the area is as great as that of Europe. In other cases local
names of places, not to be found on maps or in gazetteers, embarrass
the student and weary his patience. It is mainly from Darwin that
naturalists have learned that geographical distribution is the chief
key to the past history of the earth.

[20] The last season of excessive rainfall was that of 1877. I have
seen no complete returns, but it appears that the rain of that year
commenced in Central Chili in February, a very rare phenomenon; that
more than six inches of rain fell in April, of which, at Santiago,
four inches fell in twenty-four hours. More heavy rain fell in May,
and finally in July a succession of storms flooded large districts,
destroying property and life, the fall for the month being more than
fourteen inches at Valparaiso. Much interesting information respecting
the climate of Chili will be found in a work by Don B. Vicuña Mackenna,
“Ensayo Historico sobre el Clima de Chile” (Valparaiso: 1877), from
which I have borrowed the above-mentioned particulars.

[21] I believe that in the column for rainfall at Punta Arenas, snow
has not been taken into account.

[22] The recent untimely death of this valuable official is deplored by
all classes in Chili.

[23] This is doubtless the summit described by Darwin under the name
Campana de Quillota. He gives the height as 6400 feet above sea-level.
The figures in the text are taken from the Chilian survey.

[24] The mapping of the Andean chain is a task of immense difficulty,
and although the Chilian survey is the best that has yet been executed,
it leaves much to be desired. Even in the small district which I was
able to visit, I found several grave errors in Petermann’s map, reduced
from the Chilian survey, which is, nevertheless, the best that has
been published in Europe. One of the most serious is the omission of
the Uspallata Pass, the most frequented of those leading from Central
Chili to the Argentine territory, which is neither named nor correctly
indicated by the tints adopted to mark the zones of elevation.

[25] “Origin of Species,” 3rd edit., p. 410.

[26] Molina, one of the most pernicious blunderers who have brought
confusion into natural history, grouped together under the generic name
_Peumus_ several Chilian plants having no natural connection with each
other. Misled by his erroneous description, botanists have applied
the name _peumus_ to a fragrant shrub, common about Valparaiso and
elsewhere, which is known in the country by the name _boldu_.

[27] The Baths of Cauquenes are said to be 2523 feet above the sea; the
_Morro_, by aneroid observation, is about 2000 feet higher.

[28] As happens with many other plants described by early botanists,
there has been much confusion in regard to the species named by
Linnæus _Lobelia Tupa_. The plant was first made known to Europeans
by the excellent traveller, Father Feuillée, whose “Journal des
Observations Physiques Mathématiques et Botaniques faites sur les
côtes de l’Amérique meridionale, etc.,” published in 1714, is a book
which may still be consulted with advantage. His descriptions of
plants are usually careful and accurate, but the accompanying plates
all ill-executed and often misleading. Linnæus, followed by Willdenow,
refers to Feuillée’s work, but gives a very brief descriptive
phrase which suits equally well Feuillée’s plant and several others
subsequently discovered. Aiton, in the “Hortus Kewensis,” gives the
name _Lobelia Tupa_ to a plant which is plentiful about Valparaiso,
where I found it still in flower, the seeds of which were received at
Kew about a century ago from Menzies. This is now generally known by
the not very appropriate name _Tupa salicifolia_ of Don, but was first
published by Sims in the _Botanical Magazine_, No. 1325, as _Lobelia
gigantea_, which name it should now bear. The plant which I found near
Cauquenes appears to be the _Tupa Berterii_ of Decaudolle, a rare
species, apparently not known to the authors of the “Flora Chilena.”
No doubt could have arisen as to the plant intended by Linnæus as
_Lobelia Tupa_ if writers had referred to Feuillée’s full and accurate
description. His account of the poisonous effects of the plant was
probably derived from the Indians, and may be exaggerated. The whole
plant, he says, is most poisonous, the mere smell causing vomiting,
and any one touching his eyes after handling the leaves is seized
with blindness. I may remark that the latter statement, which appears
highly improbable, receives some confirmation from the observations
of Mr. Nation, mentioned above in page 77. The plant which I saw in
Peru, but failed to collect, is much smaller than most of the Chilian
species, and has purple flowers, but is nearly allied in structure. It
is probably the _Tupa secunda_ of Don. I gather from a passage in one
of Mr. Philippi’s writings that the word _tupa_ in Araucanian signifies
poison. We are yet, I believe, ignorant of the chemical nature of the
poisonous principle contained in the plants of this group.

[29] The measurements of the height of the peak of Aconcagua vary
considerably in amount, but I believe that the most reliable is that
adopted by Petermann--6834 metres, or 22,422 English feet.

[30] The inconvenience of using a periphrasis for the name of so
important a country may warrant my adoption of the obvious name
Argentaria in place of Argentine territory, or Argentine Confederation,
and I shall adhere to the shorter designation in the following pages.

[31] It is quite possible that the bird which I took for the black
albatross was the giant petrel, common, according to Darwin, in these
waters, and closely resembling an albatross.

[32] See an interesting paper in the _Journal of Botany_ for July, 1884.

[33] The estimates given by Pissis do not rest on accurate
observations, and seem to me exaggerated. I should be inclined to
reckon the difference of height of the snow-line between the extreme
stations as nearer to two thousand than to three thousand feet.

[34] I am not aware that the concurrent conclusions as to the height
of this mountain have been verified by accurate observations, but the
height commonly given appears to be a close approximation to the truth.

[35] “Flora Antarctica,” vol. ii. p. 289.

[36] See Appendix B.

[37] It is unfortunate that the Spaniards who had the naming of so
large a part of the American continent should have shown so little
inventive faculty. When they did not adopt a native name for a river,
they rarely got beyond Red River, Black River, or Big River, and
wherever we turn we encounter a Rio Colorado, a Rio Negro, or a Rio

[38] The constant inconvenience of employing such cumbrous expressions
as Argentine Confederation or Argentine territory for a state of such
vast extent and such yearly increasing importance must be felt by every
one who has occasion to speak or write about this region of America. I
trust that I shall be forgiven if in this book, as well as elsewhere,
I have taken the liberty of applying a single name, which has nothing
about it so strange as that it should not long since have come into use.

[39] The Paranà, with its great tributary the Paraguay, drains an
area of more than 1,100,000 square miles; the basin of the Uruguay is
reckoned at 153,000 square miles.

[40] The term _provinces_, commonly applied to the federated States, is
misleading, and should be laid aside.

[41] Much information respecting this country is to be found in a
volume entitled, “The Argentine Republic,” published in 1876 for the
Centenary Exhibition at Philadelphia. It contains a series of papers
prepared by Mr. Richard Napp, assisted by several German men of science.

[42] Dr. Hann (“Klimatologie,” p. 657, _et seq._) has discussed the
causes of the prevalent high barometric pressure on both coasts of
temperate South America, and has shown that in winter the area of
maximum pressure moves northward towards the Tropic of Capricorn.

[43] The species common here is allied to _T. stricta_, but is not, I
think, identical.

[44] The best general account of the geology of Brazil that I have seen
is contained in a short paper by Orville A. Derby, entitled, “Physical
Geography and Geology of Brazil.” It was published in the _Rio News_,
in December, 1884, and, through the kindness of Mr. Geikie, i have seen
a reprint in the library of the School of Mines.

[45] _Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society_ for 1879, p. 564.

[46] See his valuable work, “Climats, Géologie, Faune et Géographie
Botanique du Bresil.”

[47] “Klimatologie,” p. 382.

[48] Darwin’s estimate of the height was one thousand feet, while
Professor Moseley gives double that amount. I incline to think that the
lower figure is nearer to the truth.

[49] I borrow this statement from the excellent “Lehrbuch der
Klimatologie,” by Dr. Julius Hann. Stuttgart, 1883.

[50] See _Reports of the British Association for the Advancement of
Science_ for 1882, pp. 451-453.

[51] It is remarkable that there is no reference to the investigations
of M. de St. Robert, and the formula deduced from them, in the article
on the “Barometrical Measurement of Heights,” in the new edition of the
_Encyclopædia Britannica_.

[52] Published by the War Department, United States Army, _Professional
Papers of the Signal Service_, No. xv.

[53] Air nearly saturated with vapour is lighter than air relatively
dry; and hence it may happen that, when a current of moist air meets
one relatively dry, it will flow over the latter if they are nearly at
the same temperature, but if the drier current be much warmer, it may
flow beneath it.

[54] On this subject see _Handbuch der Klimatologie_, by Julius
Hann, pp. 141, _et seq._ See also Tables I. and II. in a report on
thermometric observations in the Alps, by J. Ball, in _Reports of the
British Association for the Advancement of Science_ for 1862, pp.

[55] See “Die Barometrischen Höhenmessungen und ihre Bedeutung für die
Physik der Atmosphäre,” Leipzig, 1870, by R. Rühlmann.

[56] I use the term “eccentricity” in the popular sense, to express the
distance of the focus from the centre of the ellipse.

[57] Viewed in the light of Mr. Langley’s recent researches on solar
radiation, all these numerical determinations are probably far from the
truth; but the errors do not much affect the present argument.

[58] The observations at Stanley Harbour, which are those adopted by
Dr. Hann (_Klimatologie_, p. 697), show temperatures notably lower than
those recorded for a place in the islands lying farther south, which
are given in the _Zeitschrift der Œsterreichischen Gesellschaft für
Meteorologie_, vol. v. p. 369. The mean of the two is probably nearly

[59] These figures are derived from the tables given in the _Anales de
la Oficina Meteorologica Argentina_, by B. Gould, vol. iii. The figures
show a considerable amount of annual variation. The monthly means of
the six months from February to July, 1879, exceed those of the same
period in 1878 by more than 2° Fahr.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation, hyphenation, and spelling were made consistent when a
predominant preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

Index not checked for proper alphabetization or correct page references.

Page 4: “30·40” was misprinted as “39·40”.

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