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Title: Historical and descriptive narrative of twenty years' residence in South America (Vol 2 of 3) - Containing travels in Arauco, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, - with an account of the revolution, its rise, progress, and - results
Author: Stevenson, William Bennet
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical and descriptive narrative of twenty years' residence in South America (Vol 2 of 3) - Containing travels in Arauco, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, - with an account of the revolution, its rise, progress, and - results" ***

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CHAP. I.--Farm of Vinto, Cattle, Grain, &c....First Wheat in
Peru...._Tapiales_, Fences....Trees, Shrubs,
and Plants....Fruit....Animals....Birds....Fish....Appearance of
the Villages...._Balsas_....Indian Feast....Indian
Burial....Paramonga....Palace of Fortalice                           1

CHAP. II.--Visit to Caxatambo....Roads....Manner of Travelling
....Village of Ocros....Cura of Ditto....Indians....Road to
Chiquian....Town of Chiquian....Crimes....Mining Laws....Method
of working the Ores....Frauds in _Plata Pina_...._Taonas_ and
Inhabitants....Amusements....Road from Caxatambo, _Cuesta_....Farm
House and Family....Town of Huaras....Productions of Huailas....
Manufactures of Ditto....Huaras, excellent Mercantile Situation
....Province of Conchucos....Produce, &c....Mines....Oca....
Medicinal Plants....Character of Inhabitants....Procession of
St. Peter....Localities in the Province....Enter Huamalies....
Productions...._Coca_...._Charquis_ Cinchona....Mines....Eagle
Stones....Fruits...._Mulitas_ and _Quiriquineihos_....Character
of Inhabitants....Death of the Inca represented....Observations     24

CHAP. III.--General Mode of Travelling from Lima to the
different Provinces....British Manufactures fit for the last
Provinces visited....General Character of the Inhabitants....
Animals in the Provinces of Huailas, Caxatambo, Conchucos, and
Huamalies....Pagi or Puma....Ucumari....Viscacha....Comadreja
....Ardillas....Gato Montes....Alco....Llama.... Paco....Huanaco
....Vicuna....Mulita....Birds....Condor....Vegetable Productions
....Mineral Ditto....Antiquities....Diseases and Remedies....
Hydrophobia                                                         75

CHAP. IV.--Travels to the North of Lima....Village of Pativilca
....Of Huarmey....Of Casma....Cotton Mill....Santa....River
Santa....Nepena....Farm of Motocachi....Vineyard....Port of
Santa...._Tambo de Chao_....Viru....Truxillo....Itinerary
between Lima and Truxillo....Description of Truxillo....Building
....Plain _de Chimu_...._Huaca de Toledo_....Tradition of....
Huanchaco Port....Valleys of Chimu, Chicama, and Viru....
Productions....Road to Caxamarca....Contumasa....Magdalena....Gold
Mines....View of Caxamarca....Origin of Name of....Description
of....Buildings....Inhabitants....Arts and Manufactures
of....Visit to San Pablo....Market of Caxamarca....Trade of....Hot
Baths....Description of                                            107

CHAP. V.--Historical Sketch of Caxamarca, Huaina Capac, Huascar
Inca, and Atahualpa....Arrival of Pizarro at Tumpis....At
Caxamarca....Spanish Embassy....Harangue of Soto....Answer of
Atahualpa....Visit of Atahualpa to Pizarro....Discourse of Friar
Vicente Valverde, to Atahualpa....Answer of Atahualpa....
Imprisonment of....Offered Ransom of....Cause of the Jealousy of
Pizarro....Arrivals of Treasure....Accusation, for the Trial of
Atahualpa....Sentence, Baptism, Execution, and Burial of
....Interesting Remains in Caxamarca                               142

CHAP. VI.--Province of Caxamarca....Manufactures, Mines....Village
de Jesus....Hawking....Farm of Lagunilla....Inga Tambo....Village
of San Marcos....Feast....Wedding....Village of Ichocan....Mine
of Gualgayoc....Return to the Coast....Village of Chocope....Of
San Pedro....Of Las Lagunas....Of Monsefu....Town of Lambayeque
....Inhabitants, Buildings, New Altar....Manufactures, Soap,
Cordovans, Cotton Goods, Sweetmeats....Fruits, Grain, Pulse
....Vegetables....Market...._Algarroba_, Carob Tree....Village
of Eten....Of Morrope...._Simarones_....Desert of Sechura....Town
of Sechura....City of Piura....Inhabitants, Buildings....Mules
....Manufactures....Climate....Effect on Syphilis....Commerce....
Port of Paita....Excellent Situation for an Astronomical
Observatory                                                        166

CHAP. VII.--Leave Lima for Guayaquil...._Amortajado_....Puna
....Arrival of the Spaniards, and Conquest of....Village of
....Inhabitants....Passage up the River Guayaquil...._Punta de
Arena_....Guayaquil....Foundation and Description of....Buildings
Insects and Reptiles....Dock Yard....Project of Sawing Mills....
Balsa, Description of....Navigation of....Canoes....Merchants
of Guayaquil                                                       199

CHAP. VIII.--Productions of the Province of Guayaquil....Cocoa
....Minor Articles of Trade...._Turbines_ found at Santa Elena
....Large Bones, &c....Animals, _Perico_, _Ligero_....Monkeys
Curiquinqui, Snake-eater...._Huaco_, Antidote for the Bite of
Snakes...._Lagartos_, Alligators, Description of....Methods of
Killing....Fishermen....Mineral Productions                        227

CHAP. IX.--Journey from Guayaquil to Quito....Babaoyo....Road to
Chimbo...._Cuesta de San Antonio_....Arrival at Huaranda....
Triumphal Arch and Harangue....Description of Huaranda and
Province of Chimbo....Chimboraso....Accident at la Ensillada
....Road to San Juan...._Obrage_ of Indians....Arrival at
Riobamba....Description of....Remains of Old Riobamba....Visit
to an old Cacique....Province of Riobamba....Road to Ambato
....Description of....Produce....Arrival of Tacunga....Description
of....Earthquakes at....Ruins of Callo....Provincial Produce
....Arrival at Chisinchi, Ensillada, and Quito....Remarks          257

CHAP. X.--Quito, Foundation and Situation....Plasa Mayor....
President's Palace, Bishop's Palace and Cathedral....Parishes
....Convents and Public Buildings....Jesuit's College....Convent
of San Francisco....San Diego....Santa Prisca....Santa Clara
....University....College of San Luis....Of San Fernando....
Creoles....Occupation and Education....Character of....Mestisos
Persons, Character, Employment....Dress of Creoles....Of
Mestisos....Of Indians....Diversions, Bull-fight and Masquerade
....Dancing....Music....Religious Procession....Market, Meat,
Fruit and Vegetables....Spirituous Liquors....Ices, Confectionary
....Cheese....Trade and Commerce                                   279

CHAP. XI.--Visit of the Academicians to Quito in 1736....
Inscription left by....Climate of Quito....View of Mountains at
....Description of Chimboraso....Of Cayambe-urcu....Of Antisana
....Of Cotopaxi....Of Pichincha....Of El Altar....Description of
the fertility of the Valleys....Mines....Ruins of Temples, Palaces,
and Fortified Places....Account of the Indians....Of Commerce      320

CHAP. XII.--Villa of Ibarra, Description....Villa of Otavala,
Description....Lakes San Pablo and Cuicocha....Visit to the River
Mapo....Gold Mines on the Banks of....Indians pay their Tribute in
Gold....Bæza, the Capital of the District....Description of the
Inhabitants, &c....Commissioned by the Government to explore a
Road from the Capital to the nearest Point of the Coast....
Maldonado's Road....Leave Quito....Cross the Skirts of Pichincha,
arrive at the River Piti....Description of the Country....
Description of Piti....Proceed to Esmeraldas....Description of
the River of Jaguar....Houses, Plantations, Cattle....Method of
Distilling Rum....Food of the Inhabitants...._Saino_ Tatabra,
and _Aguti_, or Huatus....Monkey and Charapa....Method of
Killing Game with the _Sorbetana_ and Poisoned _Pua_               346

CHAP. XIII.--Continuation of Esmeraldas; Fish caught in the
River...._Chautisa_, method of taking....Preserving of....
Method of catching Fish in the River....Of Cooking it....Yucas,
Camotes, Yams....Palmettos....Tobacco....Cocoa....New variety
of....Occupation of the Esmeraldenos....Origin of....Language
....Dress....Manners and Character of....Religion....Re-ascend
the Esmeraldas River, to the Embarcadero de Maldonado....Mouth
of the River....City of Esmeraldas....Road to Atacames....Port
of....Town of...._Manzanillo_....Rio Verdo....La Tola....Country
Produce, Timber, and Wood....Coutchouc....Fruit Palms....
Animals....Mines....Conclusion                                     379

CHAP. XIV.--Visit to Cayapas....Village....Inhabitants....Houses
and Furniture....Visit to the Malabas, Wild Indians....Arrival at
the Vijia....Interview with the Cacique, Family of.... Tribe of
the Malabas....Tradition of the Origin of....Dress of....Manners
....Laws....Return to Cayapas....Visit Tumaco....Description of
....Barbacoas....Description of....Gold Mines....Manner of Working
them....Leave the Coast, Malbucho Road....River Mira...._Puentes
de Maroma_, and _Taravitas_...._Piquigua_....Arrive at
Ibarra, and return to Rio Verde and Esmeraldas....Ascend the River
Quinindi....Boa Constrictors....Santo Domingo de los Colorados
....Indians....Dress....Houses....Food Cocaniguas....Quito         408


     Farm of Vinto, Cattle, Grain, &c....First Wheat in
     Peru...._Tapiales_, Fences....Trees, Shrubs, and
     Plants....Fruit....Animal....Birds, Fish....Appearance of the
     Villages...._Balsas_....Indian Feast....Indian
     Burial....Paramonga....Palace or Fortalice.

On the side of the river opposite to Huaito I visited the farm of Vinto,
which from the purposes to which it is dedicated may be considered as
something like an English farm. Horned cattle are bred in considerable
numbers; the cows rear the calves, and are seldom milked. Dr. Robertson
speaks of a degeneration of animals in America, "in the Spanish colonies
within the torrid zone, or bordering on it;" but he certainly was
misinformed with respect to Peru; the cattle is not so large as in
Lincolnshire, but, taking the average, it is as large as the English,
French, and Spanish cattle: when fed on lucern the meat is
well-flavoured, fat, and juicy, and the bones are very small. At Vinto
great numbers of pigs are reared, and are said to pay very well. Barley
is sown at a time which allows it to be in ear in the littering season,
when the sows are turned on it, and remain until it is all eaten down:
the young pigs are then separated from the old ones, and driven to a
field of lucern, where they are kept till they are fit for market; this
takes place when they are from ten to sixteen months old, at which age
they sell at from six to nine dollars each, if of a good breed for
fattening. Few sheep are bred on the coast, to which during some months
of the year large flocks are driven from the interior, and fattened for
the Lima market; many of these are ewes in-lamb, particularly those
brought down in November and December; and the common bargain between
the drover and the farmer is, to give the lambs for the pasturage, by
which means the farmer obtains a sufficient number of sheep to supply
him with mutton, calculating on receiving a hundred and fifty lambs for
every hundred ewes. Besides this increase in sheep, which is greater
than in England, the ewes bear twice a year in South America--in general
the lambing season is in June and December.

The breed of horses and mules at Vinto was of little extent, but some of
the latter were very good; the ordinary ones for carriers would sell for
forty-five or fifty dollars each, while the prime mules would fetch a
hundred or a hundred and fifty.

A considerable quantity of wheat is harvested at Vinto, as well as on
the neighbouring farms and near the surrounding villages; it is sown and
ploughed in, and irrigated three or sometimes four times during its
growth; after it is cut, it is thrown into a heap, and the grain trodden
out by horses; it is then cleared from the chaff, by throwing it up in
the wind, as in Chile, and it generally yields from fifty to

The first wheat was carried to Lima in the year 1535, by Doña Maria de
Escobar, wife of Doñ Diego de Chares; the quantity consisted of but a
few grains, which she cultivated herself. In the true spirit of the age
and country, she invited all her friends to celebrate the first harvest
of new wheat in the new world, not knowing that it had been produced in
Mexico in 1528, by a negro slave belonging to Cortes, who accidentally
found a few grains mixed among the rice which was supplied to the army.
To commemorate the happy event in Lima, Doña Maria presented to each of
her friends a few grains, and it is said that some ears were laid as an
offering on the altar of the Dominican church. The first wheat at Quito
was sown near to the Franciscan convent, by Father Jose Rixi, who
carried his seed thither from Europe in a small earthen jar, which yet
exists in the convent, and is exhibited to visitors; it is of baked
clay, and will hold about a quart. Among the relics shown to me, in
1809, I admired none so much as this: a circumstance which rather
disconcerted the pious sacristan who shewed them to me. The historian, I
should think, must feel greater pleasure in recording the name of the
individual who has promoted the welfare and contributed to the comforts
of his fellow creatures, than in sounding the trumpet of fame to that of
a hero whose glory reposes on the mangled bodies of thousands of his
comrades, slaughtered to add a letter to the name of the victor, and not
unfrequently to bind the chains of thraldom round the necks of the

Maize, beans of five or six varieties, lentils, garbansos, camotes,
yucas, and potatoes are cultivated by the farmer for home consumption,
as well as for the Lima market; the slaves also grow the same articles,
and on a Sunday take their produce to the neighbouring villages to sell.

The fields on these plantations and farms are generally divided by
walls, called _tapiales_: these are formed of large square masses of
clay or earth, sometimes mixed with stones, each being about four feet
long, two thick, and two broad, and are called _adobones_; the walls
are sometimes four and sometimes six feet high, being composed of two or
three layers of adobones. They are made by laying a frame of wood on the
ground, composed of two sides and one end, the sides being secured at
the other by thongs of raw hide; the earth on one side the box or frame
is then wetted with water, dug over once or twice, and put into the
frame, _adobera_, where it is trodden hard, or beaten with a heavy
rammer; more earth is thrown in, and again pressed down, until the frame
is quite full, when the top is smoothed over with a wooden trowel and
some water. The frame is removed by untying the thongs, which allows the
sides of the adobera to open a little, and to separate freely from the
adobon, which is smoothed with the trowel or hand with a little water;
the frame is now placed with its open end to the adobon which is
finished, and another is made and placed adjoining to it by the same
process. When a second or third tier is raised, two pieces of plank or
scantling are laid on the lower adobon, to support the frame, which is
filled as before; the scantlings are then drawn out and the frame
removed; the holes are sometimes filled up, and sometimes left open.
When stones are mixed with the clay or earth they are usually placed
along the sides of the frame, the centre being filled up with earth, to
which cut straw is occasionally added, particularly when the soil is
rather sandy. These fences are very durable; a ditch is formed on one or
both sides, according to the will of the master, and the earth dug out
serves to make the wall, and at the same time secures it from being
undermined by the water, which would be injurious to the foundation. In
those parts of Peru where it rains, small bundles of brush wood are put
across the top of the tapial, and clay laid on them to prevent the rain
from penetrating: if tiles were substituted they would answer much

I have been rather minute in describing these walls, being convinced
that with a few improvements they would be found preferable to some
fences used in England; indeed the easy method of building them deserves
to be communicated to those who are in the habit of constructing fence
walls instead of hedges, a common practice in our hilly countries. As a
proof of their duration, many of these clay fences are now standing on
the coast of Peru, and of those cased with stone in the interior, built
more than three centuries ago, by the indians, before the Spaniards
discovered their country.

The trees that afford any timber in this neighbourhood are the molle
and espino, or huarango; from the latter excellent charcoal is made, and
considerable quantities are carried to Lima. Senna is found in abundance
in the hedges, and willows and poplars become very lofty. The indigo
plant grows spontaneously in the fields; I have sometimes observed
cochineal on the cactus, cultivated for its fruit, the prickly pear, but
of an inferior quality; in the interior it is called _pilcay_, and from
some cotton cloth which I have found in the huacas, it is evident that
the ancient Peruvians were acquainted with its colouring principle, this
as well as the indigo being among the fillets taken out of the huacas.
They procure the yellow tint at present by steeping the berries of the
molle in water, and afterwards a quantity of maize; wool dyed in this
water takes a bright and permanent yellow. A tree of the mimosa tribe,
called Tara, bears a quantity of pods which contain a large portion of
tanin; ink is generally made from an infusion of these pods, by adding
to it some sulphate of iron. The fragrant floripondio grows in many of
the hedges, assisted by the odorous ñorbo, a small species of passion
flower, which emits in the evening a most delightful fragrance. The
prickly apple, holy thistle, and many other medicinal plants grow wild,
with the virtues and applications of which the indians are well
acquainted. The maguey is very common; it makes a good hedge, no animal
daring to pass it, on account of the large prickles with which the point
of each leaf is armed. It may be said, that this is one of the most
useful plants at present known. Of the flower stalks the indians build
their houses, and cover them with its large leaves; the fibrous part may
be converted into thread and woven for clothing, while its sharp pointed
prickles are a good substitute for needles. Before the flower stem makes
its appearance, if the heart of the plant be cut out, and a hollow place
made in the centre, it will be filled in ten or twelve hours with a
thick syrup, which may be used instead of sugar; when this is mixed with
water and fermented, it forms the favourite Mexican beverage _pulque_;
of this juice vinegar may be made, or brandy distilled from it: if the
leaves are bruised and pressed, they produce by boiling a balsamic
syrup, used to cleanse and cure ulcers; the leaves are also used instead
of soap: the clothes are wetted, and then beaten with a leaf which has
been crushed; a thick white froth is produced, and after rincing, the
clothes are quite clean. The flower buds are very delicate eating when
boiled or pickled. Of the aloes this is the largest species; here are
two varieties, the leaves of the one being of a deep green inclining to
black, while those of the other are of a beautiful pale green; the
latter is the more useful of the two varieties.

A tree called _del jaboncillo_ grows in the hedges; it has the
appearance of the laurel, and produces a quantity of round fruit, of the
size of small plums; a hard kernel is enclosed in a tough rind, which
when ripe contains a pulpy matter; this, on being mixed with water,
produces a white froth, and is used instead of soap for washing.

In some gardens the _achote_ is cultivated; this tree is seldom above
ten feet high, the leaves are heart-shaped, and the seeds are enclosed
in a prickly capsule about three inches long; they are covered with an
unctuous matter, of a vermilion colour, and are thrown into hot water,
and afterwards strained, when the liquor is boiled to the consistency of
paste, and forms the annotta dye. The natives often use it as a spice,
or as a colouring matter for their food.

_Mani_ is also cultivated; the plant is very frondiferous, is about two
feet high, and has white flowers; but the mani, or nuts, are attached
to the roots; they are about the size of horse beans, and when roasted
or boiled are delicate eating; they contain a considerable quantity of
oil, of a beautiful green colour, which is obtained by pressure; it is
equally palatable with the best olive oil. The root is remarkably
nutritive, and very agreeable to eat when on a long journey.

A tree called _pilco_ grows in the hedge rows; the leaves are lancet
formed, and the branches very straight; the fruit is like that of the
common laurel. If a person remain but a short time under the shade of
this tree when the sun shines, swellings and pustules make their
appearance on the face and arms, or any other naked part of the body.
The juice is extremely caustic, and ulcerates the skin wherever it
touches; on which account it is called in the Quichua language
_capsicarancha_, the itch tree. When it is necessary to cut down any of
these trees, a fire is made at the foot of them, and their offensive
property is destroyed.

The plant which produces the castor bean, from which the castor oil is
obtained, grows wild; the oil is often extracted by the natives, and on
some sugar plantations it is used for the purpose of burning in lamps.
One variety of this plant produces very large beans, which are called
_piñones_: it grows about six feet high; the leaves are somewhat like
those of the vine; the beans are enclosed in prickly capsules, each
containing two beans, which have a thin black shell, and very white
kernel; two or three of these chewed and swallowed prove a violent
purgative. The natives extract the oil and apply it to the abdomen in
cases of dropsy; they also dilute a small quantity in urine, and pour
one or two drops into the ear, in cases of deafness or a pain in the

During the damp season, in foggy months, a species of cactus grows on
the _lomas_ or sand hills which produces a fruit called _caimito_; this
resembles in shape a large cucumber; it is first green, afterwards
brown, with yellow stripes, and when ripe it is red. The taste is an
agreeable subacid; but after eating the fruit a very disagreeable
feeling is left on the lips, which is removed by rubbing them with a
piece of the rind. The fruit is remarkably fragrant, and on this account
it is frequently kept in the houses.

In the garden at Huaito there were a few plants of coffee; they were
very healthy and bore fruit abundantly. Cotton of a good quality grows
near the cottages of the indians, who always cultivate a few plants for
their own consumption; among these plants I have observed many bearing
cotton of a nankeen colour, but of this they seldom make any use.

Quantities of small lizards are to be seen on every heap of rubbish or
stones, particularly when the sun shines, busily employed in catching
flies, on which they appear to subsist; I have frequently watched them
while seizing their prey. As soon as they observe a fly on the sand they
creep out of their holes and make their advance with a slow and almost
imperceptible motion; they place themselves in a right line with the
object, and then make a dart at it open mouthed, and swallow it in a
moment, very rarely missing it. They are often beautifully striped with
green, yellow, and brown, and are generally about eight inches long. On
some parts of the coast the indians eat them; they cut off the tail and
the feet and fry the body, which has then the appearance of a fried
smelt. I ate some at San Pedro, and believed them to be the peje rey
until I was undeceived. The indians consider them as a medicinal food
for persons afflicted with cutaneous diseases.

The opossum is found in all the valleys of the coast; it is about two
feet long including the tail, which is as long as the body; the nose is
pointed like that of a hog, and has no hair on it from the eyes to the
mouth; the ears are thin, without any hair on them, and stand erect;
the feet are also naked and small, and it holds its meat with its fore
paws, like a monkey; the body is covered with hair, black at the roots
and white at the points, which gives it a shady grey colour; the tail is
slender and naked, and by it the animal can hang suspended to the branch
of a tree. The female brings forth four or five young ones at a time,
not larger than mice when first born, and they immediately betake
themselves to the pouch under the belly of their mother. The pouch is
formed by a fold of the skin, hairy on the outside and covered with a
very soft down or fur on the inside; the nipples are so situated, that
the young ones can suck them as they are carried about by their mother;
when about the size of full grown mice they leave the pouch by an
opening in the centre, and bask in the sun, but if any danger threaten
them they immediately take refuge in their natural home. I one day
caught an old opossum by the tail, when four of her young ones ran out;
I chased and captured two of them; they immediately hid themselves by
running up the inside of my coat sleeves; I took them home, reared them,
and they became perfectly domesticated, were very tame, and would sleep
on the same mat with a dog. They feed on fruit or esculents, will eat
flesh, and are particularly fond of eggs. The indians esteem them as
food, but I never had an opportunity of eating any. The natives
sometimes call the opossum _mochilera_, from _mochila_, a knapsack; the
indians call it _mucamuca_.

The añas of Peru is a species of pole cat, and is nearly the size of a
domestic cat; its colour is a deep brown approaching to black, with a
line of round white spots extending from the nose to the tail; the head
is long, the ears broad and covered with hair, the eyes large with small
black pupils, the nose sharp like the opossum; the upper lip is shorter
than the lower one, which projects, and the mouth contains twelve
incisorial, four canine, and sixteen grinding teeth. The hind legs are
longer than the fore, and each foot has five toes, armed with long sharp
nails, with which it burrows into the ground, and forms a place of
security for its young. When walking it carries its head down, and its
tail, which is bushy, is turned on the back like that of a squirrel.

Under the tail and above the vent is a small vesicle, which contains a
remarkably fetid oily liquid. When attacked or in danger this animal
elevates its posteriors and forcibly ejects upon its assailant this
pestiferous fluid, the loathsome effects of which nothing can exceed.
Clothes that are in the least sprinkled with it become totally useless,
for no washing will take off the stench; in the same manner, it will not
leave the body, if any part happen to come in contact with it, until the
cuticle or surface skin comes off. If a dog by chance receive any of it
on his body he immediately runs to the water, rolls himself in the mud,
howls, and appears almost mad, nor will he eat any thing for several
days, or until the stench begins to abate--this defence is the only one
of which the añas ever avails itself.

Conscious of his offensive powers, the añas is not alarmed at the
approach of either men or dogs; it always passes them fearlessly, indeed
both generally make way, lest by opposition they might subject
themselves to its nauseous and abominable filth, and become disgusting
even to themselves by being wetted with its matter.

The skin of the añas has a beautiful long soft fur, and is quite free
from any disagreeable smell. The animal feeds on poultry and eggs, and
is very annoying, for no one chooses to risk the killing of it: when
this is effected, it is generally with a trap, but should it be killed
in a village or near a house, the smell is quite a nuisance to the
neighbourhood for several days.

Some few snakes are found in the hedges, but they are quite harmless.
The _alacran_, scorpion, is venomous, but not more painful than the
sting of a wasp.

Of the feathered tribe the majestic _condor_ stands most conspicuous,
whether on the ground extending its wings, which often measure fourteen
feet from tip to tip, or soaring among the clouds, in appearance not
larger than a swallow. The flight of this bird is truly majestic; it
rises with an almost imperceptible tremulous motion of the wings, and
falls to the ground in the same manner; it pounces on its prey, if a
lamb or any other small animal, and bears it off in its talons to some
neighbouring mountain; if the prey be too large, the condor will feed on
it till unable to fly, when it becomes itself the easy prey of the
villagers, who run it down and kill it with clubs.

The _gallinaso_, or turkey buzzard, as it is sometimes called, from its
resemblance to a turkey, is a very useful bird; it is the public
scavenger, devours all kinds of carrion, and on this account is seldom
or never killed.

A few small eagles and hawks are troublesome among the poultry, and
destroy great numbers. Wild ducks frequent the mouths of the rivers,
where we find gulls and other aquatic birds, among which we frequently
discover the pelican.

The singing birds are the _cilguero_, a kind of linnet; the blackbird,
resembling in size and note the English blackbird; the _titupuying_,
which is something like the cardinal. A species of wood pigeon is very
common, and in allusion to its note is called coo coo lee; it is easily
tamed, and will coo at any hour of the night, if a candle be lighted,
but never more than three times before it ceases or rests.

Some of the rivers have plenty of _lisa_, a species of mullet, _peje
rey_, and _camarones_; the sea fish on the coast are _corbina_, _chita_,
_jureles_, a kind of mackerel, _peje rey_, and _lenguado_, a species of
turbot. Shell fish is scarce, but small muscles and limpets are
generally found. The natives cook and eat a sea weed which grows on the
rocks, known by the name of _yuyo de la mar_. On the shore among the
sand a small white stone is found, called _piedra del ojo_, or _limpia
ojos_; it is about the size of a lentil, and of an opaque white colour;
the natives pretend that by putting one of them under the eyelid, it
will travel round the eye, and then fall out, bringing with it any
extraneous matter that may have been lodged in this delicate organ.

The villages along the coast have a very neat appearance; the houses are
but one story high, with a capacious corridor in front; some of them are
supported by pillars made of sun-dried bricks, some round, others
square; while others are composed of bundles of canes lashed together
and covered with clay, with arches made of the same materials. The whole
front is white-washed, and a comfortable promenade is produced under the
grotesque piazzas, a range of seats sometimes extending the length of
ten or twelve houses; and here in the cool of a summer evening the
villagers sit, or lay their mats on the ground and sleep. In those
villages where the population consists of creoles and indians few of the
latter build their houses in the busy part of the village; they prefer
living on their own small chacras, or the allotments of land which they

A low table, a few pots and pans to cook in, and some calabashes to eat
and drink out of, compose the furniture of an indian's cottage. Mats of
_totora_, a long rush which grows in swampy ground, are their seats, of
which rushes they sometimes make the walls of their cottages, by tying
them up in small bundles, putting these close together, and securing
them with canes placed horizontally on each side, and tied together at
certain distances. They also form _balsas_ of them; for this purpose,
they tie together as many as make the middle of the balsa, about two
yards in circumference, which they taper to a point at each end; they
then shape it like a crescent by winding round it ropes of the totora.
Seated on the centre of this original boat, they take their nets and go
two or three leagues out to sea, and I never heard of any accident
happening to the fishermen. As the person who navigates in this manner
must sit astride, the indians often call their balsas _potrillos_,
colts; and the appearance of a fleet of them floating on a smooth sea in
a calm evening is very beautiful.

When dry, the balsa only weighs a few pounds, so that on one mule the
fisherman can carry his boat, his net, and even sufficient materials to
build his hut: in this manner they range up and down the coast in search
of fish, which they often salt and take either to Lima or some other
market. One kind of net is perfectly round when laid open on the ground;
the circumference has several pieces of lead attached to it, and in the
centre a rope is tied: when used they collect about half the net on the
right arm, throw it into the water, and allow it to sink to the bottom;
they then draw the line fastened to the centre, and as the net rises,
the leads close by their own weight, and the fish are thus secured. With
this umbrella net, as I used to call it, they often catch large
quantities of fish in the rivers, lakes, and among the surf on the sea
shore--the indians name the net ataraya.

When an indian celebrates the feast of some particular saint, he
provides a dinner for all who choose to partake of it; mats are laid on
the ground, and the cloth along the middle of them; large calabashes of
chicha, some holding five or six gallons, are placed on the cloth, with
a number of smaller ones, holding about a pint, ranged on each side; the
men seat themselves, and the women bring in large dishes of beef, cut
into pieces about two inches square, and stewed with lard, a quantity of
capsicum, and the juice of sour oranges. Spoons are placed on the table,
if I may so call it, but the fingers supply the place of forks--knives
are very seldom wanted, and small calabashes serve instead of plates:
when these dishes are removed the chicha goes merrily round. The second
course of dishes is generally filled with fowls stewed with some kind of
vegetables, but not picante, seasoned with _agi_, capsicum pods; after
this course follows a _pepian_, consisting of turkey stewed with rice
flour, water, onions, garlic, cayenne pepper, and lard; sometimes peje
reyes, smelts, merely laid for five or six hours in the juice of sour
oranges, and green capsicum pods are brought in; and, lastly, the
favourite dish of cuyes, guinea pigs, highly seasoned with cayenne
pepper. Between each course the chicha circulates freely, and the
company often rise pretty merry; after which they mount their horses and
call for the stirrup cup; the mistress of the feast then goes out with a
large pongo, calabash of chicha, and distributes a small one to each of
the guests, who frequently joke with her about love affairs; indeed, I
have often heard very witty repartees on such occasions. After the men
are gone, the women sit down and enjoy their dinner in some other
room--not unfrequently in the kitchen; but they abstain almost entirely
from the chicha or any other intoxicating liquors.

On the death of an indian, his relatives immediately repair to the
house, and place themselves round the corpse, which is laid on the
ground, and wail over him in a kind of plaintive ditty; they mourn his
departure, asking him "Why he left them so soon?" with other similar
questions, enumerating also all his actions, kindnesses, &c. If the
deceased leave a widow, she will sing over him, and recount the tales he
told when he courted her, say where they first met, mention other things
that would be as well forgotten, and conclude with, "Why have you gone
and left me? But some other loved you as well as myself, and she has
bewitched you to death, she has sucked your blood, and she will now be
happy." When this lamentation ceases, a relative will approach the
house, and begin the wail again, all the company joining, and repeating
theirs; the dirge is continued with little interruption until the corpse
is buried.

About five miles from Patavilca, and a hundred and twenty from Lima, is
a place called Paramonga, or the Fortalesa. The ruins of a fortified
palace of very great extent are here visible; the walls are of tempered
clay, about six feet thick; the principal building stood on an eminence,
but the walls were continued to the foot of it, like regular
circumvallations; the ascent winded round the hill, like a labyrinth,
having many angles, which probably served as outworks to defend the
place. It is supposed to have belonged to the Chimu or King of
Mansichi, and was a frontier palace during the time of the Incas. The
oral tradition of the indians says, that at this place the Chimu did
homage to Pachacutec, the tenth Inca. Near these ruins is a high rock,
which overhangs the sea, called _el serro de la horca_, gallows' hill,
because from the top of it all criminals were formerly thrown into the
sea. Near the Fortalesa is a very extensive ruin of a town, and a
manufactory of saltpetre is established. The salt is obtained by filling
large cisterns with the sand taken from the graves or huacas; water is
poured on it, and having filtered through the sand, it is drawn off;
this is next evaporated and put into large canoes, in which the salt
crystallizes. The nitre is very pure, and is carried to Lima and sold at
the powder mills. Considerable treasure, both in gold and silver
ornaments, has been found, when taking the sand out of the huacas;
beside which many curiosities in earthenware, porphyry, basalt and other
stones, as well as cotton and woollen garments, have been collected. The
value of treasure dug up by different individuals in the year 1813
exceeded twenty thousand dollars.


     Visit to Caxatambo....Roads....Manner of Travelling....Village of
     Ocros....Cura of Ditto....Indian....Road to Chiquian....Town of
     Chiquian....Crimes....Mining Laws....Method of working the
     Ores....Frauds in _Plata Piña_...._Taonas_ and
     Inhabitants....Amusements....Road      from Caxatambo, _Cuesta_
     ....Farm House and Family....Town of Huara....Productions of
     Huailas....Manufactures of Ditto....Huaras, excellent Mercantile
     Situation....Province of Conchucos....Produce, &c....Mines....
     Oca....Medicinal Plants....Character of Inhabitants....Procession
     of St. Peter....Localities in the Province....Enter Huamalies....
     Stones....Fruits...._Mulitas_ and _Quiriquineihos_....Character of
     Inhabitants....Death of the Inca represented....Observations.

In 1806 I visited Caxatambo, the capital of a district, _partido_,
bearing the same name. My route was by the _quebrada_, ravine of
Barranca, which contains two large sugar plantations and several large
farms. I rested the first night at Cochas, a small village, and was most
hospitably treated by Don Manuel Requena, a man who had amassed
considerable property by purchasing cattle in the interior and driving
it down on the coast to fatten on lucern, for the Lima market. The
following morning I began to wind up the ravine, which, after traversing
the bridge of cords already described, becomes much narrower, sometimes
so much so, that the passes are dangerous; a gallery is cut in the rock
at one of them a hundred and seventy yards long, but so narrow, that it
would be impracticable for two mules to pass each other; nor is it
possible to make room in the emergency of meeting a traveller. On one
side the mountain is either perpendicular, or it hangs over the heads of
those who pass, threatening to fall and crush them; while on the other
hand, about four hundred feet below the path, the river foams and roars
as it descends towards the coast, having another lofty mountain on the
opposite side. What man could travel on a road like this, and not
shudder to hear the name of an earthquake mentioned; particularly when
he looks on the broken and rugged rocks, and supposes that one of those
dreadful convulsions of the earth may have opened the road on which he
treads, and that such another shock would bury him in the ruins!

Our mode of travelling would have been regarded in England as a
curiosity; a friend and myself were mounted on two mules, with huge deep
saddles covered with red woolly rugs, large wooden box stirrups, broad
girths, and straps attached to the saddles both behind and before;
these straps passed round the breasts and hams of the mules to prevent
the saddles from slipping as we rode up and down the _cuestas_, some of
which are exceedingly steep. I had two mules laden with my luggage; on
the one was placed my mattress and bedding, put into a large leather
case, called an _almaufres_; on the other were two _petacas_, or square
trunks, made of untanned bullocks' hides, and curiously wrought with
thongs of the same material. My comrade had two mules also laden in a
similar manner; for, when travelling in any part of South America that I
visited, it is almost always necessary to take a bed, because no inns or
houses of accommodation are found on the roads, or even in the towns or
cities. Our peon or muleteer generally followed the mules, while we
proceeded on before; but on approaching a village or hamlet, the peon
alighted, and tied the mules together, fastening the halter of one to
the tail of another, to prevent them from straggling.

About four o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at Ocros, a small
village, where the indians were all prepared to go to Cochas the
following day, to repair the bridge. This task is annually imposed on
them jointly with those of the neighbouring villages, who pass it toll
free, while other passengers pay a real or one-eighth of a dollar: the
money is kept to provide food for the indians who assemble to assist in
the repairs; they employ a week at the work, although it might be
finished in a day; but it is rather a week of feasting than of labour.
About thirty mules, all laden with _cabulleria_, as it is called, made
from the maguey, were collected in the plasa, or square, and there
appeared to be as much bustle as if an army had been removing its camp.

My companion was known to the _cura_, rector, to whose house he took me,
and we were entertained with his best cheer and most cheerful
hospitality. The cura complained bitterly of a want of society in his
place of exile, _destierro_, as he called it, and jocosely said, that if
the Pope himself were cura of Ocros, he would wish to have a wife to
keep him in good humour: excepting, said he, when a traveller passes
this way, I hear no news, and know of nothing that occurs in the world
which I have left. I often welcome the arrival of a pedlar, to whom I
would not even have spoken at Lima, but here he seems to me like
something dropt from the clouds, and his words and actions delight me,
because they savour of my beloved Lima.

The village or rather hamlet of Ocros is situated on an eminence; the
climate is cold, and although but eleven leagues from the coast, it is
subject to heavy rains. The inhabitants are for the most part indians,
who have some few small flocks of sheep and goats; they labour on the
neighbouring farms, and on the whole live miserably. Barley, maize, and
milk from their goats are their principal food, and a coarse suit of
clothes will generally wear out the life of its owner; the contrast
between these indians and those on the coast in regard to their manner
of living surprised me not a little:--more ragged and dirty in their
appearance, their small huts containing but one room having the fire in
the middle of it, without any windows, and the absence of every thing
that might contribute to their comfort:--indeed their stock of household
goods made a most miserable shew. I inquired into the cause of this
penury, and was informed by the cura, that their vicinity to the coast
allowed them, if they could purchase a mule, to fetch small quantities
of brown sugar, _chancaca_, and fruit, and to take them to Chiquian and
other towns in the interior, to sell, and that they usually spent in
eating and drinking the small profits which they derived; they thought,
he said, but little of their homes; but left the women to till their
plots of ground, to tend their sheep and goats, and to provide for their
families. Here the Quichua language begins to be spoken; the indians use
no other among themselves, and many of the women cannot speak a word of

On the following morning, after a very hearty breakfast, we left Ocros,
with an earnest entreaty to call at the house of the cura, should we
ever pass through the village again; but the invitation was almost
useless, as there was scarcely a hut, _rancho_, in the village that
would have held me and my almaufres. We continued our journey by
descending into a deep ravine, where there was no appearance of
vegetation, except a few _tunas_ and the _giganton_ rising twelve or
fourteen feet high; these, instead of enlightening, gave the scene a
more dreary appearance; for these vestiges of vegetation, as they seemed
to be, stood on the rocks like way-worn travellers, while their naked
trunks craved that moisture from the clouds which they sought for in
vain from below. After travelling three dreary leagues, we began to
ascend the cuesta of Chiquian; at first we perceived the whole extent of
the ravine, _quebrada_, but the clouds soon began to roll beneath our
feet, and intercept the view of the road we had just travelled over. Our
ascent was very laborious to the mules, but I alighted twice and led
mine; in some places steps were cut in the rock, and hollowed out by the
feet of the mules and other cattle that had passed.

When we reached the top I expected to have an extensive view of the
country, but I was very much mistaken; towards the coast all seemed to
be enveloped in a thick mist, and on every other side the mountains rose
one above another, or their proximity blocked up the whole view at once.
At a distance we could at times see the summit of some mountains
belonging to the principal chain of the Cordillera, covered with snow,
and we appeared as if completely isolated--the bed of clouds behind us
looked like the sea, limited only by the horizon, and before us the
mountains reared their towering heads, as if to oppose our progress.

The top of the mountain was covered with some short grass and moss, with
a few horned cattle feeding on it; but after travelling about two
leagues we began to descend, and our eyes were once more cheered with
the view of some straggling ranchos and patches of cultivated land. At
two o'clock we arrived at Chiquian, a comfortable looking town, or
village, as it would have been called in England. We found here many
white families, and some agreeable people; but the whole village was in
an uproar, being divided into parties respecting a law suit with the
cura; we however went to his house, where we were received with a most
hearty welcome.

The population of Chiquian is composed of white creoles, indians, and
mestizos; their principal occupation is farming and grazing; ponchos of
wool and cotton are manufactured by the women, some of which are very
fine. Near to Chiquian is a silver mine, formerly worked with tolerable
advantage, but at present abandoned. The ore contains iron, arsenic, and
sulphur, and is always roasted before it is mixed with the mercury; it
was calculated, that if a _caxon_, fifty quintals, of ore produced eight
marks of silver, that the proprietor lost nothing; but this calculation
is very erroneous, because different ores require different portions of
labour, and the loss of mercury is also much greater in some ores than
in others; the _paco_, red oxide of silver, pays much better if it yield
six marks each _caxon_, than the _bronce_, micaceous pyriferous ores, if
they yield ten. Some few small veins of ore had produced forty marks;
but this may be looked upon generally as a mere temptation to the miner
to carry on the work, often to his own ruin.

According to the mining laws, the discoverer has one hundred and sixty
square yards of surface, and must not extend his works beyond the
perpendicular limits of his share; he must first present a sample of ore
to the _Tribunal de Mineria_, and take out a document called _registro_,
before he can begin to work; the limits are marked out by the
Subdelegado, political governor of the district, and the proprietor
takes possession by rolling himself on the ground, digging holes,
throwing stones, and shouting three times, possession! Other persons who
solicit as hare petition the Tribunal de Mineria, and receive a registro
of eighty yards only, half the quantity to which the discoverer is

Some proprietors pay the labourers, who are indians and mestizos, daily,
but others allow them a bonus of twenty-four hours in each week, during
which time the ore which they extract belongs to themselves; and
purchasers are always ready on the Saturday night to buy it of them. In
this case a great deal of roguery is generally practised. If the
labourers find a rich vein they endeavour to hide it till the Friday
night and then extract it for themselves; and it is no uncommon thing
for this ore to yield twenty or thirty marks to the caxon, when that
taken out during the week will not average above eight or ten. The ore
is carried to the mouth of the mine in bags made of hide, called
_capachos_, on the shoulders of men called _capacheros_; it is there
received by the mayor domo, and laid on the ground in a heap; hence it
is conveyed on the backs of mules or llamas to the _taona_ or _ingenio_.
The first is a mill similar to a bark mill, a stone, like a mill stone,
is placed vertically on a wooden axletree, on which it revolves; to the
end of this a mule or bullock, or sometimes two, are fastened, and drag
the stone round. The stone moves in a groove, into which the ore is
thrown; a small stream of water runs along the groove, and washes away
many of the impurities, particularly the earth. When the ore is ground
sufficiently small it forms a mass with the water, and is taken out of
the taona and mixed with a quantity of quicksilver; it is thus allowed
to remain a few days, when it is turned over with a spade, and trod on,
in order to incorporate the mercury with the mass. This operation is
repeated two, three, or more times, till the amalgam is formed; more
mercury is added when necessary, which is known by taking a small
portion of the mass and washing away the extraneous matter; if the
amalgam, _pella_, be hard and granulous, more is added; if not, the
whole mass is thrown into a cistern, and a small stream of water allowed
to run into it. A man keeps this in motion with a pole till the water
has washed away all the earth and other impurities when the amalgam has
collected into one mass; it is then put into a strainer of coarse linen
or hair, and the superabundant mercury is pressed out; the silver,
containing some mercury, is placed in a heated furnace, by which means
the remaining quicksilver is evaporated, and the porous ball is called
_plata de piña_. Before this can be sold it is carried to the _callana_,
royal office, where it is melted, the royal fifth paid, and the bar
marked with the initials of the treasurer, the date of the year, and the
weight. The exportation of plata piña was strictly forbidden by the
Spanish colonial laws, and some persons who have run the risk of
purchasing it have been most miserably deceived; for, on cutting the
lumps, they have found adulterated silver in the centre, lead, and even
stones, which could not be discovered except by cutting the lumps into
pieces. Another method of cheating was, by allowing part of the mercury
to remain in the mass, which increases its weight, and can only be
detected by subjecting it to the heat of a furnace. Base metals were
sometimes included in the bars which had not the mark of the treasury on
them; but by putting these into a proper box containing water, and
comparing the quantity of water displaced with the weight of the bar,
the trick might easily be discovered.

The ingenio differs from the taona only in the operation being performed
with the aid of a water-wheel instead of mules or bullocks. Some of the
taonas are so rudely constructed, that they have two or three stones
lashed to the horizontal pole or axletree, and these are dragged round
by mules or bullocks, and grind the ore on a stone floor laid below
them. Some ores require roasting in a furnace before they are crushed;
but others are carried from the mine to the mill. The silver is
extracted from a few kinds of ore by smelting, which has induced several
foreigners to try various experiments, as the saving of labour and other
expensive operations would be of serious advantage; but universal
failures have been the result; for the ore always came out of the
furnaces converted into a hard black ponderous cinder, and was
sometimes vitrified.

The town of Chiquian has a very neat appearance: a large square forms
the centre of it, on one side of which there is a well built stone
church, and the house of the cura; on another stands the cabildo, and
two or three respectable looking houses with stone doorways, large
folding doors, white walls, and the roofs tiled--but they are only one
story high. The other two sides are filled with houses and shops, and in
the centre of the square is a large wooden cross on a stone pedestal.
Streets lead from the corners of the square, in which there are some
neat small houses with pretty gardens. Excellent cheese is made on some
of the farms in the neighbourhood--not surpassed in richness of flavour
by the best parmesan: the butter here is also good, but it is churned
from boiled milk, and has a peculiar taste, which, however, is not

During my stay, I visited Cajatambo, the capital of the district, and
the residence of the subdelegado: the town is larger than Chiquian; but
not so pleasantly situated. The corregidores, as the governors were
formerly called, had the privilege of _repartimientos_, or
distributions, which was certainly the most oppressive law that was
ever enacted. The corregidor, according to this establishment,
monopolized the whole trade of the province or district; he had a store
of goods and distributed them among the inhabitants, particularly the
indians, telling them the price, and when the payment would become due;
at which time the debt was exacted with the greatest rigour. It was in
vain for any person to resist either to receive the goods, or to pay the
value of them. During the repartimientos, that of Cajatambo amounted to
a hundred and thirty thousand dollars annually; and the _alcavala_, or
duty on sales of property, to twelve hundred dollars; but this tax was
never paid by the indians, because they were exempted by law.

The order for the establishment of repartimientos of goods was obtained
in the same manner as Ovando obtained his from Isabella for that of the
indians at Hispaniola. The laziness and slothful habits of these
unfortunate beings were urged to procure an order or edict, allowing the
corregidores to distribute such articles among them as were necessary
for their comfort, and oblige them to pay at a reasonable time, leaving
to the distributor a necessary profit; but the abuse of this institution
became so great as to be almost beyond description. Many corregidores,
who were not possessed of property to purchase what they wanted of the
merchants, would receive on credit their most miserable stock of
commodities, and then distribute them to the indians, laying on an
enormous profit. Gauzes, stained velvets, muslins, unfashionable
calicoes, and all the dregs of a draper's store were sent to the houses
of the indians, probably in a climate severely cold, where these
suffering wretches had not a blanket to cover themselves, nor perhaps a
shirt on their backs. Spirituous liquors were distributed in the same
manner; a jar worth forty dollars would be sent to the house of an
indian who had a few mules, horses, or other cattle, which, when the
time of payment arrived, were often sold to meet the demand of the
governor. I was assured, that a corregidor of Huamalies took on credit
several large cases of common spectacles, and issued an order in his
district, that no indian should present himself before him, in his
judicial capacity, without having a pair on his nose; by which means he
obliged them to purchase such useless articles, and to advance the sale,
whenever a complaint was made, he would summon as many witnesses as he
possibly could.

A considerable quantity of wool, some of which is of a short staple,
but very fine, is carried to Lima, where it is principally made up into
mattresses: this district sends also large flocks of sheep and some oxen
to the Lima market. Copperas is found in several parts of it, and great
quantities of gypsum, yeso, which is carried to different places on the
coast, and used in whitewashing the houses.

The dress of the inhabitants is similar to the dress of those who reside
on the coast; the poncho is seldom or never dispensed with among the
men, indeed the cold makes it quite necessary. In Caxatambo and
Chiquian, evening parties are very common; no invitation is necessary
except the sound of the guitar, and I have spent many very agreeable
hours in listening to the _cachuas_, and _yarabis_--it is delightful to
hear both their merry tunes, and their doleful songs. To the former they
generally dance, the figure ending with each verse; this dance is
somewhat similar to the Spanish fandango, or boleras; two persons dance
it; and with few variations it consists of tripping backwards and
forwards, then forming a semi-circle, the man dancing towards the right,
whilst his partner dances in the opposite direction; this is repeated
two or three times, and the dance generally concludes with a _sapateo_,
beating time to the music with their feet. The dance is something like a
minuet, but the movements are quicker. If a couple dance a minuet, they
generally receive the noisy applause of the lookers on, and not
unfrequently a handful of money is thrown at the feet of the lady by
some _enamorado_, when the boys and girls immediately run to pick it up;
this creates a bustle, and it is not uncommon for the young lady to be
almost unable to extricate herself from the rabble, even with the
assistance of her partner. The following was the favourite cachua in
Cajatambo, introduced, I believe, by an Andalusian:--

     Yo tengo una cachucha, en que camino de noche
     Y andando mi cachuchita, parece que ando en coche
           Ah cachuchita mia, &c.
     Yo tengo una cachucha, que compré a mi padre,
     Y él que quiere cachucha, que lo compre a su madre,
           Ah cachuchita mia, &c.

The _yarabis_, or _tristes_, as they are sometimes called, are peculiar
to the cierra, and except by a mountaineer, _serrano_, I never heard
them sung on the coast; they are plaintive ditties, and some of the
tunes are peculiarly sweet. The following is a yarabi which I have often

     Ingrato, cruel, e inhumano
     Tus engaños causaron mi desvia,
     Tu contento te rias, y yo lloro,
           Ah alma mia.

     Busca adonde quisieres placeres
     Y cobra, sin jamas pagar el amor
     El tiempo vendrá, para que llores
           Con duro dolor.

     La muerte dará fin a mi pesar
     Tu vivirás con goso, y con risas,
     Pero no, te ha or atormentar
           Mi imagen, mis cenisas.

On leaving Caxatambo we had to pass over the mountains that border the
district to the northward, and owing to the rain that had fallen, the
ascent was very slippery. I frequently alighted, but my companions never
did; they assured me that the mules were sure-footed, and that I need
apprehend no accident. The morning was very cold, and on the tops of the
mountains we perceived a considerable quantity of snow. During our
ascent we observed the rapid decrease of vegetation; the lofty and
luxuriant molles which we saw at the foot became more and more stunted,
till they totally disappeared, and in their place some small plants of
the cactus tribe were clinging to the rocks: on the summit the small
patches of ground were covered with long dry grass, which the natives
called _pajon_; the rugged rocks were white with moss, and all appeared
dreary and lifeless; not a bird nor any living animal was either seen or
heard, and the clouds below hid the surrounding scenery from our view.
After travelling about six leagues, including the ascent, we began to
descend, when the muleteer observed that we were in the province of
Huailas. The clouds that rested on our heads threatened rain, so we
resolved to pass the night at a farm house about a league from the
border. The rain soon began to fall in torrents, and although our mules
walked and slipped down the cuesta as fast as we dare venture to allow
them, we were completely soaked through with the rain. On our arrival at
the farm, about four o'clock in the afternoon, we were welcomed by the
owner, who begged of us to ride under the corridor and alight; two young
men, his sons, assisted us in dismounting, and three young women, his
daughters, helped us to take off our wet ponchos and hats, which they
hung upon pegs in the corridor. We entered the house and seated
ourselves on the _estrado_, which was covered with very neat home-made
carpets, and a row of low stools were placed near the wall; a large
brass pan, _brasero_, full of burning wood embers was immediately placed
before us by one of the daughters, who received it at the door from a
female indian servant. The girls helped us to take off our boots and
stockings, and offered us some of their own shoes as slippers; matte was
immediately made, and I drank five or six cups, or rather sucked it, not
with less pleasure when I observed that my pretty caterer (for very
pretty she was) took the first suck at the tube before she handed it to
me. My companion preferred a large glass of hot brandy and water, and as
he was prepared with a bullock's horn, holding about two quarts of the
former liquor, his appetite was soon satisfied.

Our host entered shortly afterwards, and informed us that he had sent
for half a dozen lads and lasses to come and dance and be merry with us.
But, said I, it rains, will they come? Yes, said he, to be sure they
will, and they would come if they lived ten leagues off, whereas they
only live at the distance of two:--not across such a road as that which
we have just passed, I hope? Why, said he, they live in the _quebrada_,
ravine, and all our roads are pretty much alike in such weather as this;
but the sound of a guitar, and the pleasure they take in dancing with
strangers, will bring them away; and surely they will be no worse for
being a little wet and drabbled: the boys will bring partners too with
them, because they cannot well dance with their sisters--bread and bread
has no relish, but bread and cheese make a good meal.

All was now in a bustle of preparation: a lamb and several fowls were
killed for supper; a large calabash of punch was made, containing about
seven or eight gallons; but I being tired with my ride, threw myself
down on the carpets to sleep, when Panchita, the pretty girl who made
the matte, came and placed a pillow under my head and threw a white rug
over me, and then removed the embers in the brasero, which she placed
near enough to keep me warm. My companion, who was a clergyman, said, he
must attend to his _officio divino_ before the company arrived, so he
took out his breviarium, and began to work at his trade, whilst I slept.

After enjoying my nap for about an hour, I awoke, and found an agreeable
repast just ready--a _salona_, mutton slightly salted and smoked, and
equal in flavour to venison, had been roasted, an agreeable sauce of the
green pods of capsicum, _aji verde_, in vinegar had been prepared, and
they were served up with some excellent roasted potatoes; after this, a
chip box, holding about two pounds of preserved apricots, and another of
quince marmalade, for which delicacies the province of Huailas is quite
famous, were put on the table. This refreshment was placed before my
companion and myself, on a low table, as we sat on the edge of the
estrado. While we ate and drank, our host informed us that he was a
native of Cadiz, but that he had lived in America upwards of twenty
years. On his arrival at Callao, in the capacity of a sailor, he left
his ship, and travelled into the interior in search of a wife with a
fortune, for, said he, without such an appendage I could have found many
maids willing to become wives at home. I chanced, continued he, on my
way to Huaras, to call at this house to beg a lodging for the night; the
old farmer had a daughter, an only one; I was soon convinced that his
coffers were not empty, so I prolonged my visit, made love to his
daughter, and married her. She has been dead twelve years, and I find
myself happy with my five boys and girls, and they seem to be happy with
me; but that will perhaps not last long, they will themselves soon want
to marry, and I cannot object to it; their father and mother set them
the example, and if I cannot then live with them I can live without
them. You, father, addressing himself to the clergyman, would advise me
perhaps to retire to a convent, and live a penitential life; but if I
have given my flesh to the devil, he shall have my bones too. You tell
us, continued he, that only our good works will accompany us to the
other world; but I shall also take with me good eating and drinking, and
a merry heart; for although you preach to us abstinence and other
restrictions, yet you enjoy the good things of this world, and example,
you know, is more persuasive than precept. But I am happy to see you,
and you are welcome to my rancho, for it reminds me of my own arrival at
it. In a short time our merry companions appeared, laughing most
heartily as they jumped from the backs of their mules, to see each other
bespattered with mud and dripping with rain.

Three healthy looking lasses, with rosy cheeks, and a stately youth, had
braved the wind and rain to join our party, which, with this
acquisition, was a very merry one. The young women had on hats and
ponchos; but their shoes and stockings were kept dry in the pockets of
the young man, who was their brother. In a very short time the guitar
was tuned, and we began to dance--our kind host, Garcia, being the
musician. I took Panchita as my partner, which caused a good deal of
mirth, because our visitor, Eugenio, was passionately fond of her: he
watched her steps with the anxious rapture of a lover, and no doubt
envied me during the dance; at length, unable to suffer any longer the
privation of dancing with her, he rose, made me a low bow, and took my
place, to the no small satisfaction of the company, who lavished on him
many an Andalusian joke. After the first dance one of the sisters rose
and relieved Panchita, who came and sat down on my knee as I sat on one
of the low stools; she very soon went to a table and brought me a glass
of punch, which we drank; this appeared too much for poor Eugenio, but
instead of being offended, as might have happened among civilized
people, he retired to a seat, after finishing his dance, and placed his
partner on his knee; she soon rose and brought him a glass of punch,
which they drank together; and all parties appeared completely happy.

We made a most hearty supper of roasted and stewed lamb and fowls,
sweetmeats and punch; after which several songs were sung, both cachuas
and yarabis, and our host entertained us with some Andalusian
_chuladas_. Day dawned, and found us merry, scarcely able to believe
that the night was spent. The morning was very fine, and we expressed a
wish to proceed on our way to Huaras: but my companion told me, that in
all probability our mules were lost; lost, exclaimed I! Yes, said he,
but they will be found again to-morrow morning, if Garcia will then
consent to our leaving his house. This was really the case, for the
mules were not found--for the best of all possible reasons--they were
not sought for; the young men were sent in search of them, and soon
returned with the news, that they could not be found. The girls began to
console us with many promises of their being discovered during the day,
and advised us to take our breakfasts and sleep an hour or two, to which
we assented without much reluctance. We spent the day and the following
night most agreeably--not without plenty of singing and dancing.

I learnt from our host, Garcia, that his property consisted of about
eighty head of horned cattle, and twelve hundred sheep, besides a small
farm, which he shewed us, of which about sixty acres were under the
plough, and produced good crops of wheat, maize, barley, and potatoes.
Purchasers for the cattle came annually from the coast. The surplus of
wool, some of which is extremely fine, was generally bought by the
owners of manufactories, _obrages_, in the province, at about one dollar
the arroba, twenty five pounds; the grain, potatoes, &c. were carried to

On the following morning our mules were found, and we proceeded through
a country more beautiful at every step we took, and arrived in the
evening at Huaras, the capital of the district. This town is pleasantly
situated, though rather bleak; the houses have a neat and comfortable
appearance, and some of the shops are stored with a considerable
quantity of European manufactured goods, such as broad cloth, wide
coloured flannels, linens, cottons, silks, hosiery, cutlery, and also
home manufactured woollen and cotton cloths. In the square, _plasa_, a
small market is held every morning of articles brought from the
neighbouring country. The town contains a parish church, which is a neat
stone built edifice; a convent of Franciscan grey friars, and a
hospital, under the care of the Bethlemites. The Subdelegado resides
here; the repartimiento of the corregidor amounted formerly to a hundred
and seventy thousand dollars annually, and the alcavala to two thousand
three hundred.

The population of Huaras consists of about seven thousand inhabitants,
the greater part of whom are composed of mestisos; the people are rather
fond of dress, and evening parties are very common. There is not an inn
or public house in the town; but a traveller can be accommodated with
lodgings, &c. in almost any house.

This district contains many towns and villages; the principal ones are
Requay, Carhuas, Yungay, Caras, and Cotopará. The temperature of the
centre and lower part of the district is warm, and extremely agreeable.
Considerable quantities of sugar are manufactured here; it is of a very
superior quality, but the cane, which is of the creole kind, is four
years before it is ripe, and the first crop only is destined for the
making of sugar; the second serves for the following plantation, and of
the excess sweetmeats are made with peaches, pears, quinces, and
apricots, many mule loads of which are annually taken to Lima. The
fruits of temperate climates prosper extremely well in the valleys; but
on account of the frosty night winds at certain seasons of the year
tropical fruits do not thrive. Owing to part of the province being
subject to a cold atmosphere, particularly on the east side, which is
bounded by the Cordillera, and the valleys enjoying a very benign one,
crops of wheat and barley, as well as maize, quinua, garbansos, lentils
and other pulse, are harvested during every month of the year; it is
common on the same day, when travelling, to see wheat put into the
ground at one place, and under the sickle at another. In this province
a great number of large and small cattle are bred, particularly goats,
the skins of which are tanned for cordovans, and the tallow is used in
the soap manufactories. The wool of the sheep is made into flannels,
serges, and coarse cloths, _bayetones_, at the different manufactories,
_obrages_, where coarse cotton cloths, _tocuyos_, are also woven; but
the distaff and spindle are generally employed for spinning. The white
yard-wide flannel sells at about half a dollar a yard; the blue at three
quarters of a dollar, and the tocuyos at different prices, from a
quarter to three quarters of a dollar. Very neat woollen table covers
are manufactured in this province, of different sizes, and various
prices; when wove they are white, and they are afterwards ingeniously
dyed by first tying small patches with two, three, or more threads; the
cloth is then dipped in a cochineal dye; more knots are tied in
different parts, and an indigo dye is used; when dry, the knots are all
untied, and as the colours could not penetrate where the strings were
tied, circles of white, blue, and red, or of other colours, according to
the fancy of the dyer, are formed in the different parts of the cloth,
and if these are symmetrically placed the shades which they produce are
pretty, and the whole effect is very pleasing.

Formerly several gold and silver mines were wrought in Huailas; there
are upwards of thirty mills for grinding the ore in different parts of
the province, but at present little attention is paid to mining;
however, small quantities of gold and silver are extracted. At Yurumarca
there is a mountain which contains large veins and strata of the
loadstone; near to which is a copper mine, now abandoned, because the
ore did not produce gold, as was expected, when it was first wrought.
Large quantities of alum are prepared from a mineral near Yurumarca, by
the process of solution and evaporation; but it is generally subjected
to a second operation of refining at Lima.

On the whole, the province of Huailas is most bountifully supplied with
all the necessaries, and many of the luxuries of life; the situation is
commanding, and Huaras is calculated to become a large mercantile town,
the general mart for the provinces of Huailas, Huamalies alto, Huamalies
bajo, and Conchucos; but for the furtherance of such a project, the port
of Santa ought to be opened; it is a secure harbour, and is the nearest
of any to Huaras.

After visiting the principal towns in Huailas, I went to the province of
Conchucos, which adjoins it to the northward. This province is more
irregular than the former; some of the valleys are very low, and
consequently very hot; in these the tropical and equatorial fruits come
to perfection, and at Huari del Rey, the capital, I have seen very fine
pine-apples, grown in the province. The valleys are generally small,
being merely bottoms of the ravines, _quebradas_, and the soil is
produced by the heavy rains which fall on the adjoining mountains: these
carry down the decayed animal and vegetable matter, as well as the
decombres of the stone of which they are composed, and hence the soil is
remarkably productive. Some of the villages are situated in very cold
climates, being from five to eight thousand feet above the level of the
sea; they are generally small miserable places, inhabited chiefly by
indians, who cultivate patches of barley and maize, which seen from the
valleys appear to hang in the clouds. I have often beheld a man
ploughing with a yoke of oxen lent to him by the farmers, where I should
have imagined that a goat could scarcely have tripped along in safety. A
few small sheep and goats are the only animals which they possess,
excepting dogs, of which useless animals, each hut, _rancho_, contains
at least half a dozen. Many of these indians are employed by the more
wealthy inhabitants in manufacturing tocuyos, bayetones, flannels, and
coarse cotton stockings. The females generally spin and knit at home,
and the men go to the obrages to weave, dye, full, &c. Some very fine
ponchos are made in Conchucos, and sold at the amazing price of a
hundred or a hundred and fifty dollars each; others, made of brown wool,
are called _bordillos_, and fetch from five to ten dollars each; of the
coarse wool and all the refuse _jerga_ is made, which is formed into
wrappers for sugar, and common dresses for the slaves and the poorer
sort of indians. This province manufactures more of this kind of cloth
than any of the neighbouring districts, and some of the inhabitants are
wealthy, but the poor indians are truly miserable.

Some silver mines are wrought in Conchucos, but the quantity of silver
yielded by the ore being small, the hardness of the ore which renders
the breaking of it expensive, and the loss of mercury during the process
of amalgamation, contribute to render mining a losing speculation, and
the mines are consequently almost abandoned. Several attempts have been
made to smelt the ores, but without success; could this be accomplished
there is no doubt but that mining would become profitable in Conchucos,
particularly as there is coal in several parts of this and the
neighbouring provinces.

Along the margin of the river Miraflores, in Conchucos, there are
_labadores_, washing places, where gold of the finest quality is found
in the sand, and after the rains subside many persons are employed in
gathering it; but so little are they acquainted with the extensive and
easy method adopted on the coast of Choco, that the profit derived from
their labour is very small; notwithstanding, if proper means were
employed, it is very probable that an abundance might be extracted.

In the parish of Llamellin is a mine of sulphur, great quantities of
which are extracted, and carried to Lima, and sold at the powder mills.
In the same parish is a spring which falls down the sides of a rock,
forming in its course innumerable hard white stalactites, that look like
candles hung in the water; the natives call them Catachi, and apply
them, reduced to powder, in cases of violent hæmorrhage, bloody flux,
&c.; they also mix the powder with lard or the fat of the puma, or
condor, apply it to fractured bones, and consider the application as
useful in promoting the union of the parts.

The _oca_ is cultivated in some of the colder parts of this and the
neighbouring provinces; this plant is of a moderate size--in appearance
somewhat like the acetous trefoil; the roots are yellow, each about
five or six inches long and two in circumference; they have many eyes,
like the potato, and are seldom straight like the the carrot or radish,
but curved in different directions: one plant produces several roots,
and they are propagated in the same manner as potatoes. The oca when
boiled is much sweeter than the camote or batata of Malaga; indeed, it
appears to contain more saccharine matter than any root I ever tasted;
if eaten raw it is very much like the chesnut, and it may be kept for
many months in a dry place. The transplanting of the oca to England,
where, I am persuaded, it would prosper, would add another agreeable and
useful esculent to our tables.

Among the plants used medicinally by the natives is the _contrayerba_,
which grows in the mountains in cold shady places: the stem is about two
feet high, of a purple colour; it is divided by knots like a cane, where
the leaves grow opposite to each other; these are three or four inches
long, narrow, denticulated, and of a very dark green colour. The flower
stalks spring from the same knots, and the flower bears a great
resemblance to that of agrimony. It is used, the leaves, flowers, and
stem, as a febrifuge, and particularly in the small-pox and measles, to
facilitate the eruption; it is also used as a tonic, or stomachic, in
cases of habitual indigestions, and also in dysenteries. It is pretended
that it will counteract the effects of poison, on which account it has
obtained the name which it bears. This plant is quite different to that
called contrayerba, which grows in Chile, and which I have already
described. The natives administer this herb in a simple decoction.

The _calaguala_ is another herb which grows in moist swampy places,
where the climate is mild. The plant is composed of leaves about ten or
twelve inches long, and one broad; it bears no flowers. A decoction of
the leaves is considered as an excellent dissolvent of the coagulated
blood in severe contusions; it is believed to be efficacious in
affections of the viscera, when ulceration has taken place, by
evacuating the purulent matter; it is also given in the falling
sickness. There are two varieties of this plant: the leaves of the one
are green; this is considered inefficacious, and is called the female;
the other bears leaves of a brown colour, is called the male plant, and
is the one used.

Another medicinal herb, which is found in this and the neighbouring
provinces, is the _quinchimali_; it grows in temperate parts, and
resembles the herb of the same name which grows in Chile. A decoction of
it is drunk in cases of severe contusion, if it be suspected that
coagulated blood, or lymph, be lodged in the intestines, and in
gonorrheas it is used to promote the discharge, and prevent strictures.

The inhabitants of Conchucos are said to be less civilized than those of
the neighbouring districts; there is some reason for this assertion;
they are indeed more uncouth and less kind in their manners. There
appears to be a certain degree of licentious independence in their
behaviour, and more robberies and murders are committed here than in any
other part of South America: however, a stranger is generally treated
with respect. When at Corongos, which is certainly the most disagreeable
town I ever entered, I went to purchase some snuff--the shopman was
asleep, and I awoke him, at which he became so enraged, that he jumped
from his chair and struck at me; I ran into the street, and the man
followed me, swearing most lustily, and threatening to strike me; but a
person who was passing stepped in between us, pushed back the shopman,
and clapping his breast with his hand, he said, with me, with me, that
gentleman is a stranger, _con migo, con migo, el señor es forastero_.
Finding myself thus unexpectedly relieved, I left my champion to settle
matters as well as he could, and hastened to the house of the parish
priest, _cura_, where I, as usual, had taken up my temporary residence.
In a few minutes my friend, though entirely unknown to me, made his
appearance, and inquired what quantity of snuff I wanted; on being
informed, he immediately went to fetch it, and would not admit of any
return for his kindness and trouble, except my thanks.

During my stay at Corongos, the cura related to me several anecdotes
concerning his parishioners, one of which was the following. The titular
saint of the town is Saint Peter, and on the day of his festival an
image of a natural size is carried in procession through the principal
streets; when, on his return to the church, he arrives at the corner of
the plasa, the inhabitants of the upper and lower part of the town place
themselves in two rows, having large heaps of stones at their feet, and
not unfrequently the boys and women stand behind them with a supply in
baskets. The carriers of the image rest here for a few minutes, and then
run towards the church in a sort of gallopping procession; but the
moment that the saint enters the plasa, he is assailed by volleys of
stones from each side, and pursued to the church door. If the saint
enter the church with his head on his shoulders, it augurs a bad year,
failure of the harvest, death of cattle, and other calamities; but if
the contrary happen, which is generally the case, the augury is quite
changed; and if the fishes be knocked out of his hand likewise, every
good thing is expected in abundance during the year. After the
decapitation, a scuffle ensues for the possession of the head, between
the inhabitants of the two _barrios_, or wards of the town, in which
many bones are broken, and generally two or three lives are lost. The
victors carry off the head in triumph, and, like that of a malefactor,
place it on the top of a high pole, and pretend that it averts all
damage that might be done to them by lightning, while the other half of
the town, they say, receives no benefit. The cura told me that his
predecessor had endeavoured to do away with this irreligious practice,
and wrote to a friend at Lima, to charge the sculptor not to finish the
new head for Saint Peter, hoping that if one year passed without such
impiety, the practice would be relinquished; but, to his great surprise,
on the 30th of June, the indians informed him, that the procession would
take place in the evening, for which purpose they had dressed an image
of the Virgin Mary in the garments of Saint Peter, and that she looked
very much like the saint, but rather younger, as she had no beard. The
procession took place; but, to the disappointment of the inhabitants,
the female apostle entered the church with her head on her shoulders,
and from that time she was called Our Lady of the Miracle.

In the year 1817, two Englishmen, sent from Pasco by Mr. Trevethick, who
afterwards followed with the intention of working some of the silver
mines in Conchucos, were murdered by their guides at a place called
_Palo seco_. This horrid act was perpetrated by crushing their heads
with two large stones, as they lay asleep on the ground; the murderers
were men who had come with them from Pasco.

It is a well known fact, that many young Conchucanos go to Lima, and
enlist in the army, for the purpose of obtaining possession of a musket,
and then desert with it on the first opportunity that offers; indeed
there is scarcely a white family in the province that is not possessed
of one or more of these muskets.

I have observed, that those persons who are employed in the mines in
South America are generally the most vile characters; they become inured
to every kind of vice, and as they form a kind of body, or rather
banditti, they almost defy the arm of justice, and deny the power of the
law. This may in some measure account for the character of the
Conchucanos; many mines were formerly wrought by them, but since the
discovery of Pasco and Gualgayoc, which produced more ore, and of a very
superior quality, the miners of Conchucos have resorted to them,
abandoning their own less profitable ones; but they have, unfortunately,
left the seeds of their evil actions behind them, and their example is
too frequently followed.

The province of Conchucos might be one of the most agreeable in Peru, if
the inhabitants were but more kind to each other, and more happy among
themselves. The various climates, assisted by the various localities of
the soil, would produce all the necessaries and all the luxuries of
life; for in the small compass of fifty leagues, a traveller experiences
the almost unbearable heat of the torrid zone, the mild climates of the
temperate, and the freezing cold of the polar regions.

To the eastward of Conchucos lies the district of Huamalies: it is a
very extensive valley, generally very narrow at the bottom, where a
river runs, which takes its origin at the lake of Lauricocha, in the
province of Tarma, and is called the Marañon, as it is considered the
stream most distant from the mouth of the great river Marañon, or
Amazons. The temperature of this province is very irregular; to the
south it is cold, as well as on each side, according to the local height
of the different places, but to the northward, particularly in the
parish of Huacaibamba, it is extremely hot during the whole year; and
the people are here of a much darker colour, and are often called

Huamalies produces wheat, barley, maize, and the different vegetables,
fruits, and pulse of the neighbouring provinces. Near to Huacaibamba
some _coca_ is cultivated. This is a small tree, with pale bright green
leaves, somewhat resembling in shape those of the orange tree. The
leaves are picked from the trees, three or four times a year, and
carefully dried in the shade; they are then packed in small baskets. The
natives, in several parts of Peru, chew these leaves, particularly in
the mining districts, when at work in the mines or travelling; and such
is the sustenance that they derive from them, that they frequently take
no food for four or five days, although they are constantly working; I
have often been assured by them, that whilst they have a good supply of
coca they feel neither hunger, thirst, nor fatigue, and that, without
impairing their health, they can remain eight or ten days and nights
without sleep. The leaves are almost insipid; but when a small quantity
of lime is mixed with them they have a very agreeable sweet taste. The
natives put a few of the leaves in their mouths, and when they become
moist, they add a little lime or ashes of the molle to them, by means of
a small stick, taking care not to touch the lips or the teeth; when the
taste of the coca diminishes, a small quantity of lime or ashes is
added, until the taste disappears, and then the leaves are replaced with
fresh ones. They generally carry with them a small leather pouch
containing coca, and a small calabash holding lime or ashes; and one of
these men will undertake to convey letters to Lima, a distance of
upwards of a hundred leagues, without any other provision. On such
occasions they are called _chasquis_, or _chasqueros_, and this epithet
is also given to the different conductors of the mails. The Incas had
men stationed on all the principal roads for the transmission of any
article belonging to the Inca, who, according to the quality of the
road, had to carry it to different distances, some one league, others
two, and others three. These men were continually employed, and when
one of them arrived, he delivered to the one in waiting whatever he was
charged with, and gave him the watchword, chasqui; this man ran
immediately to the next post, delivered his charge, and repeated
chasqui; and then remained to rest until the arrival of another. By
these means the court of the Incas was supplied with fresh fish from the
sea near Pachacamac, probably from the bay of Chilca, where a village of
indians employ themselves at present in fishing: it is the place to
which Pizarro was directed by the indians when in search of a good
harbour, before that of Callao was discovered. The distance from this
part of the coast to Cusco is more than a hundred leagues, yet so
vigilant and active were the indians, that Garcilaco affirms, that the
fish often arrived at Cusco alive. The communication between the most
distant parts of the empire and the capital was maintained, and it is
asserted, that by the chasqui news could be conveyed from Quito to
Cusco, a distance of six hundred leagues, in six days; while in their
route they had to cross several parts of the Cordillera, and many rapid
rivers. This, I think, proves a policy in the ancient government of
Peru, which does not well accord with the epithet of barbarians.

Large quantities of bark are brought from the woods to the eastward of
Huamalies, and is known by the name of the Arancay bark. It is
considered equal in quality with that called Calisaya, from the woods to
the eastward of La Pas. It is much to be lamented, that the destruction
of this invaluable vegetable is making great progress, wherever it has
been found; the indians discover from the eminences where a cluster of
the trees grow in the woods, for they are easily discernible by the
rose-coloured tinge of their leaves, which appear at a distance like
bunches of flowers amid the deep green foliage of other trees. They then
hunt for the spot, and having found it out, cut down all the trees, and
take the bark from the branches. If the roots sprout again, as they
generally do, no trees of any large size grow up, for they are either
smothered by the lofty trees which surround them, or else they are
choaked by other young trees, which spring up near to them, and are of
quicker growth. If the government of America do not attend to the
preservation of the quina, either by prohibiting the felling of the
trees, or obliging the territorial magistrates to enforce the cutters to
guard them from destruction, before a sufficient population will allow
of those tracts of woodland becoming personal property, this highly
esteemed production of the new world will be swept from the country.
After the indians have stripped off the bark, they carry it in bundles
out of the wood for the purpose of drying it.

There is undoubtedly a great loss of the medicinal matter of the
cinchona or quina, for all the bark of the trunks and of the smaller
branches is left to decay in the woods; whereas, if an extract, or the
quinine, were made from them on the spot, these drugs would become
incomparably more cheap in the European markets; besides which, the
consumption of the trees would be retarded in the same ratio, and the
useful portion which is now lost according to the present system would
be preserved.

In a mountain in this province, called Chonta, several veins of cinnabar
were discovered, and the hope of extracting considerable quantities of
quicksilver from them elated the inhabitants for some time: the working
of the mine, however, has been discontinued, but for what reasons I
could never learn; the specimens of ore which I saw were certainly very
rich. Several silver mines are wrought in this district, and at certain
periods of the year many of the inhabitants attend the _lavaderos_, and
collect the gold.

Near the settlement of Llacta is a bed of stones, called _piedras del
aguila_, eagle stones. The natives pretend, that one is always found in
the nest of an eagle, for the purpose of causing the female to lay, and
that during the time of ovation they become heated, and retain the heat
longer than the egg does, so that when the bird leaves the nest in quest
of food, the warmth which is retained by the stone is communicated to
the eggs, and prevents them from becoming addled, and that the first
trial of the strength of the talons of the young birds is exercised in
endeavouring to carry the stone. Whether this fiction had its origin
among the indians or not I never could learn; however, some ancient
naturalists have related the same tale respecting other ætites.

These stones are found loose, as if thrown into a heap; they are of a
ferruginous nature, composed of black and reddish lamina, and are all of
them dodecaedrons, although of different sizes; some weighing only a few
ounces, and others from two to three pounds each.

The woods to the north abound in excellent timber: there are cedars, a
kind of mahogany, laurel, and a wood called _nasareno_; it is very
hard, and of a beautiful bright purple colour, with numerous veins of
different shades.

The wild indians bring from the woods many delicious fruits,
pine-apples, plantains, bananas, _nisperos_, mamays, guavas, &c. as well
as sweet potatoes, _camotes_, cabbage palm, _palmitos_, and yucas.

A great difference may be observed in the character and manners of the
inhabitants of Huamalies; those who border on Conchucos partake of the
unruly disposition of their neighbours; but the more we advance to the
northward, the milder and more kind we find the inhabitants; in the warm
climates they are remarkably attached to festive sports and rural
amusements. They were so much delighted with some country dances which I
taught them, that the sun often peeped over the Cordillera and convinced
some of us that it was time to go to rest, while others were apprized
that it was time to go to their work.

A disease very prevalent in this province is the _coto_, bronchocele,
which greatly disfigures some of the pretty females, and for which they
possess no antidote. The Subdelegado told me, that during the stay of a
detachment of troops destined to Maynas, one of the natives, who had a
very large coto, offended a drummer, who drew his sword and gave the
man a severe cut across the neck; it happened that he recovered, when he
applied to the commanding officer for some remuneration for his loss of
wages during the time that he was unable to work; the drummer was
called, and observing that the man was freed from the swelling on his
throat, very wittily remarked, that he was willing to pay him for his
loss of time, if he would pay him for performing an operation which had
relieved him from a disease, that would otherwise have accompanied him
to his grave.

While in Huamalies I was twice entertained with the representation of
the death of the Inca. The plasa or square had a kind of arch erected at
each corner, adorned with plate, flowers, ribbons, flags made of
handkerchiefs, and whatever could be collected to ornament them; under
one of these sat a young indian, with a crown on his head, a robe, and
other emblems of monarchy; he was surrounded by his coyas or princesses,
who sang to him in the Quichua language. Presently several indians came
running from the opposite corner of the plasa, and after prostrating
themselves, informed the Inca of the arrival of the viracochas, white
men, or children of the sun. At this time drums and trumpets were heard,
and Pizarro, with about a dozen indians, dressed as soldiers, made his
entry on horseback, and alighted at the arch opposite to that of the
Inca. An ambassador was now sent to the Inca by Pizarro, requesting an
interview, and the Prince immediately prepared to visit him. A kind of
litter was brought, which he entered, and, surrounded by a number of
indians and his coyas, he was carried to where Pizarro stood, and waited
for him. Pizarro first addressed the Inca, promising him the protection
of the King, his master; the answer was, the acceptance of the promise.
Pizarro then told him, that he must become a Christian, but to this he
objected, when he was immediately seized by the soldiers, and carried to
another corner of the plasa; Pizarro followed him, and ordered him to
deliver up all his treasures; he now took from him his crown, sceptre,
and robes, and then ordered him to be beheaded. The Inca was dragged to
the centre of the plasa, and laid on the ground, which one of the
soldiers struck with an axe, and a piece of red cloth was thrown over
the head of the Inca; the Spaniards then departed, and the Indians began
to wail and lament the death of their king.

Although this representation was destitute of what may be called
theatrical beauty or elegance, yet the plaintive ditties, _yarabis_,
sung by the coyas, particularly after the death of their beloved Inca,
were, to a feeling mind, superior to the sweetest warblings of an
Italian _cantatrice_. The surrounding scenery, the view of the
Cordilleras, the native dresses, the natives themselves, and the very
earth which the Inca had trod on, all seemed to combine to hush the
whisper of criticism, and were well calculated to rouse sympathy and
compassion from their slumbers--for however they might be opiated with
misrepresentations, or encumbered with fiction, they were not bolstered
up with flattery or hypocrisy. After three centuries have elapsed, the
memory of the ancient monarchs of this country is kept alive by the
annual representations of the cruel and unmerited death of the last of
the race; and I flatter myself that those who are the most prejudiced in
favour of the blessings that civilization has produced since the
discovery and conquest of this country, and its ill fated aborigines, by
a Christian prince, must still confess, that the preachers of the gospel
of Jesus Christ have sold to them the title of Christianity at too
usurious a price; they have been taught religion by precept, and vice by
example; promised liberty in theory, and received slavery in reality;
protection, prosperity, and tranquillity were pictured to them in gaudy
colours by their crafty invaders; but persecution and degradation have
been the reward of their unsuspecting confidence, and they have only
found tranquillity in the grave.

The enormities committed by the first Spaniards who arrived in America
were certainly unauthorized by the Spanish Monarchs, they were the
effects of their own lust for riches. Isabella and her successors have
been actuated by a zeal for the propagation of the Christian faith, and
the most earnest charges respecting religious instruction and mild
treatment to these their inoffensive subjects have been given to all
persons in authority in the new world, and the same mild spirit breathes
out in almost every page of the _Recopilacion de leyes de Indias_. Not
only the civil magistrate and the military governor were charged with
the protection of the Indians, but the bishops and other ecclesiastics;
these injunctions are set forth in the tenth book of the _Recopilacion_,
which points out the duty of these individuals, as guardians of the
indians, commanding them to defend their persons and property against
any oppression or usurpation. The bishops and other ecclesiastics are by
the same _Recopilacion_ empowered to inform and admonish the civil
magistrates, in cases of oppression, and some of them have refused
absolution to those Spaniards whom they knew to have treated the indians
as slaves.

The avarice of individuals placed at a great distance from the personal
control of their masters is however too violent to be restrained by laws
and enactments; and many of the governors sent to the new world were as
mercenary and rapacious as their countrymen over whom they presided; the
lot of the oppressed was never regarded, if put in competition with
their own private views, which led only to the amassing of riches, and
of afterwards returning to old Spain loaded with the gold of America:
this they often effected at the expence of incurring, as they richly
deserved, the curses of the Americans.


     General Mode of Travelling from Lima to the different Provinces....
     British Manufactures fit for the last Provinces visited....General
     Character of the Inhabitants....Animals in the Provinces of Huailas,
     Caxatambo, Conchucos, and Huamalies....Pagi or Puma....Ucumari....
     Viscacha....Comadreja....Ardillas....Gato Montes....Alco....Llama
     Vegetable Productions....Mineral ditto....Antiquities....Diseases
     and Remedies....Hydrophobia.

During my stay in Huamalies, the news of the invasion of the province of
La Plata, by the English, arrived; this induced me to return to Lima,
instead of travelling through the country to the northward, because I
knew that in the capital I should be less suspected by the government,
than by the petty governors and magistrates in the inland towns. Before
I quit the subject of the foregoing chapter I shall however make a few
general observations.

The total absence of inns, or any similar establishment on the roads, or
in the towns and villages, would present to an English traveller an
almost insurmountable obstacle; and as this country is now (1824) likely
to be frequented by many of my countrymen, I think it will not be
uninteresting to those who may stand in need of some information, nor
unentertaining to the public at large, if I give a concise description
of the general mode of travelling in Peru.

If a resident in Lima wish to go to any considerable distance from the
capital, the best plan he can pursue is to inquire at the tambos for
_requas_, mules, which are from the country he intends to visit, and
agree with the muleteers or carriers for the number of mules he may
want. With an eye to comfort, the traveller must provide himself with a
mattress, bedding, and an almaufres, leather bag, already described,
sufficiently large to hold, besides the bed, his wearing apparel,
because the cargo would be otherwise too light.

I always formed another load with a trunk, containing linen, books, and
writing materials; also a canteen, holding two or three small pans, oil,
vinegar, salt, spices, sugar, coffee, tea, knives and forks, spoons,
&c., and thus equipped, having a good poncho, saddle, _al uso del pais_,
bridle and spurs, a traveller has little to apprehend from the want of
inns. The plan I usually followed was, to go to one of the principal
houses in the town or village, and to ask if I could remain there during
my stay in that place; this request was never denied me, and nine times
out of ten I have had nothing to pay, with the addition, perhaps, of
letters of recommendation, or kind messages, to persons residing in the
town or village to which I was going. If it happened to be from one cura
to another, I was not the less pleased, because their society in such
places is generally the best, and their fare is certainly not the worst.
It is much to be feared, that the political changes likely to take place
in South America will be inimical to the general feeling of hospitality
in the inhabitants; civilization will teach them refinements superior to
such barbarous practices.

The locality of Huaras, as I have already observed, is admirably well
calculated for mercantile speculations: this town might constitute the
general mart for the sale of European manufactured goods, as well as for
the purchase of the produce of the provinces of Huailas, Caxatambo,
Conchucos, Huamalies, Patas, and part of Huamachucos. Among European
saleable manufactures may be counted broad cloths, coarse woollen
cloths, both single and double widths; linens, such as common Irish, or
imitation of German platillas and sheeting; fine duck for trowsers, and
some lawn resembling French linen, _estopillas_; narrow ribbons from
half an inch to an inch broad; some silks and velvets; cottons of all
descriptions, both white and coloured, particularly if an imitation of
the tocuyos were sent; these are yard-wide unbleached cottons, having
the thread more twisted than is generally practised, and velveteens,
plain and corded; broad flannels, green, red yellow and brown; hosiery,
both cotton and woollen; cutlery, bone-hafted knives with points are in
considerable use, and large common scissors for sheep-shearing, as the
natives are unacquainted with the kind of shears used in England;
hardware, such as pots and pans; these last ought not to be
flat-bottomed, but deeper in the middle than along the sides, with two
small rings instead of a handle; braseros from eight to twenty-four
inches diameter, and from three to five inches deep, according to the
size, with three feet, and two large rings to carry them with; those
used in the country, and their use is universal, are of copper,
principally manufactured at Lambayeque, but they are very clumsily
wrought, and sell very high; substitutes of iron and brass would find an
extensive sale; but they ought to be as light as is possible; copper and
bell-metal pans, holding from two to thirty gallons each, are articles
in great demand; chocolate pots of brass, copper, or iron, holding from
one to three quarts, would also find an extensive sale; paper of a
quality similar to the Spanish paper has a considerable consumption, as
it is used for making segars; but wove paper is always rejected, because
its softness induces the natives to suppose that it is made of cotton,
the smoke of which they consider injurious.

The produce of these provinces is, for the Lima market, cattle, sugar,
_bayetones_, _tocuyos_, coarse stockings, ponchos, bordillos, jerga,
sweetmeats, tobacco, some timber for particular uses, cheese, which is
of an excellent quality, butter, and other minor articles; for
exportation, bark (cinchona) of Arancay, wool, hides, and the precious

The inhabitants of these provinces are industrious, and generally
speaking kind and hospitable; among the indians poverty is very visible,
and the shyness which they show to white people who arrive at their
huts, _ranchos_, may be attributed to several causes--the universal
oppression which they experience from the whites--their abject state in
society--their incapacity of affording any accommodation to
travellers--and their ignorance of the Spanish language:--all these
contribute in some degree to render the accusation of invincible
stupidity, as Ulloa says, apparently true; but if an indian is in what
may be termed easy circumstances, though, alas! this very rarely occurs,
he is equally kind, generous, and hospitable with the creoles or

Among the animals indigenous to the new world, the lion, so called by
the Spaniards, by the Peruvians _pagi_, and by some others the _puma_,
is found in the mountainous parts of the aforementioned provinces. I
have already, when speaking of the province of Conception, given a
description of this animal, together with the depredations it commits,
and the manner of killing it. The habits of the puma in Peru are similar
to those of the same animal in Chile; any further description therefore
becomes unnecessary.

The name of puma was given by the ancient Peruvians to some of their
most illustrious families, whose descendants are still called Caciques;
it seems as if there were two orders of distinction among them, bearing
the titles of the particular attributes of the puma and the condor. Of
these families the unfortunate Puma-cagua, or lord of the brave lion,
was a Cacique; Colqui-puma, lord of the silver lion, is another; of the
condor here are the families of Apu-cuntur, the great condor,
Cuntur-pusac, of eight condors, and Condor-canqui, condor by excellency,
or master of the order; this last family resides in the province of

The _oso_, or _ucumari_, so called by the indians, is a black bear,
which frequents the mountainous parts of these districts. I never saw
but one domesticated; it stood two feet five inches high, and was four
feet nine inches long, the forehead flat, muzzle yellowish, two fawn
coloured spots above the eyes, and a larger one on the breast; the fur
black, long, and smooth; the small teeth placed behind the canine teeth.
The indians are more afraid of this animal than they are of the puma,
and relate many extraordinary tales about its ferocity; however I never
knew an individual who had ever seen it attack a human being, nor could
I obtain any correct account of a person being attacked by it. The
natives hunt the ucumari with the same dogs with which they chase the
puma, and the stuffed skins of these animals often adorn the corridors
of the farm houses; the indians eat the flesh of the puma--that of the
bear I have tasted, and found it very delicate. The bear usually feeds
on wild fruits and roots, and is destructive to the crops of potatoes
and maize. It seldom leaves the mountainous parts of the country, and
when chased will roll itself down the sides of the steepest mountains to
elude its pursuers.

The _viscacha_ inhabits the higher ranges of the mountains, and feeds
principally on the moss which is nearest to perpetual snow: it is easily
domesticated, and the heat of the valleys does not seem prejudicial to
its health. This animal very much resembles a hare in its shape, but it
has a bushy tail as long as that of a cat; the body is covered with very
soft hair of a white and ash colour, which is as soft as silk; it was
formerly spun by the indians, and made into cloth for the use of the
Incas: thus it was the royal ermine of Peru. The flesh of the animal is
very savoury, and is considered a great delicacy.

The _comadreja_, weasel, is found in different parts of these provinces;
it is about nine inches long, not including the tail, which is long and
well covered with hair; the body is round and very slender, covered with
short softish fur, of a pale yellow colour, except under the throat and
on the breast, where it is white; its legs are short and thick, and its
toes armed with sharp claws. This animal is remarkably active, runs very
fast, and seems almost to fly when it jumps; it is very destructive to
poultry, which it kills, and sucks the blood; it is also a constant
customer for eggs. When the natives kill one, which but seldom happens,
they preserve the skin whole, and use it for a purse.

The _ardillas_, red squirrels, have a red stripe along the back; their
sides are grey, inclining to white near the belly, which is itself
beautifully white. This species is often found in the colder regions of
these provinces: it feeds on the seeds, and sometimes on the buds of the
molle and espino, called here _huarango_; it forms its habitation in a
hole among the rocks, which it furnishes with leaves, moss, and wool.
The grey squirrel is larger than the red; some of this species are
almost black, which the natives fancy are young ones, calling the
lighter coloured _canosos_, grey haired. These generally choose the
valleys or warm climates, and make their nests in hollow trees; they are
very destructive to _mani_, or ground nuts, plunder the plantations and
gardens of them, and carry their booty to their nests. They sometimes go
in bodies on marauding excursions, and if a river oppose their progress,
they embark on pieces of wood or the bark of trees, and cross it. I have
been assured at Pichiusa, that if the current drifts them down the
river, they will dip their tails in the water, so as to form a rudder,
and thus steer their fragile flotillas to the opposite shore.

The mountain cat, _gato montes_, is found in the province of Huamalies,
in the woods bordering on the Marañon; it is about three and a half feet
long, the skin is of a dirty yellow colour, with black spots and
stripes; the male has a black stripe running from between the ears along
the back. This small tiger is extremely beautiful, but it is very
savage; however it never attacks a man, and seldom molests the horses or
horned cattle; but it sometimes leaves the woods, and visits the farms
on the mountains in search of sheep and goats. The opossum, called by
the natives _muca muca_, and a species of armadillo, called _mulita_,
from the length of its ears, are found in the valleys; also a field rat
of a dark brown colour, having the tail rather club-shaped and somewhat
flattened: the flesh is considered very delicate eating.

The _alco_ is the constant companion of the indians: it is a dog of a
middling stature, of a black colour, the body covered with woolly hair,
except on the breast and tail, where it is stiff and straight. They bark
on the approach of any noise, and will defend their charge, whether it
be the horse or cattle, against men or beasts of prey. Two kinds of
these dogs are known here, the one just mentioned, and another smaller
one, about the size of a lap dog, which the indians frequently carry.
They seldom or never bark, which circumstance perhaps gave rise to the
origin of the assertion, that "the dogs of South America do not bark."
The large alco is called _thegua_ in Chile, and the small one _kiltho_.

Among the indigenous quadrupeds of Peru, the species of camel, by the
Spaniards called _carneros de la tierra_, demand the attention of a
traveller. These animals in many respects resemble the camel of the old
continent, but differ from them materially in others. They are less in
size, but of a more elegant form; they have a small head without horns,
but a large tuft of hair adorns the forehead; a very long, slender neck,
well proportioned ears, large round full black eyes, a short muzzle, the
upper lip more or less cleft; the body is handsomely turned, the legs
long and rather slender, the feet bipartite; the covering of the body is
a mixture of hair and wool, in different proportions, according to the
kind of animals.

The lower jaw of each is furnished with six incisors, two canine teeth
and several grinders; the upper jaw with grinders only. Under the skin
the body is covered with fat, somewhat like the hog and the polar
animals, intended by nature to preserve a necessary degree of warmth,
because these animals inhabit the cold regions of the Cordillera. They
are all ruminating, and have four ventricles; the second, which is
composed of two, contains a number of cavities calculated for a deposit
of water. The animals are retromingents; the time of gestation is about
twenty-two weeks, and the female seldom brings forth more than one,
which she suckles, having two teats and an abundance of milk. They have
a callous covering on the breast or sternum, on which they fall, when
reclining, either to sleep or to receive a burden; this substance
appears to be destined to defend the part against any injurious
contusion among the rocks; when sleeping they have their legs completely
folded under the belly, and they rest on the breast. Their only means of
defence is an ejection of viscous matter from the mouth, which some
persons pretend acts as a caustic, producing small pimples, and a
species of psora, but this is false.

The varieties are the llama, paco, or alpaca, guanaco, and vicuña, or
vicugna. The size of a full-grown llama is as follows:--

                                                                 Ft. In.
Height from the bottom of the foot to top of the shoulders        5   5
From the first vertebre in the neck to the point of the os sacro  6   5
From the point of the upper lip to that of the cranium            1   1
From the first vertebre of the neck to the last                   2   5
Height from the base of the foot to the spine of the os sacro     3   6
Length of the callosity on the sternum                            0   7
Breadth of ditto                                                  0   1
Thickness of ditto                                                0   0½
Length of the penis                                               1   3

The llama is by far the handsomest and most majestic animal of the
four; in its portly appearance it is somewhat like a stag, but the
gracefulness of its swan-like neck, its small head, and mild countenance
add much to its beauty. The colour of the llama is generally a pale
bright brown, but some are nearly white, others black, and others
mottled. The wool is coarse, but very abundant on the body, and
precludes the necessity of using pack-saddles. Nothing can exceed the
beauty of a drove of these animals, as they march along with their
cargoes on their backs, each being about a hundred pounds weight,
following each other in the most orderly manner, equal to a file of
soldiers, headed by one with a tastefully ornamented halter on his head,
covered with small hawks' bells, and a small streamer on his head: thus
they cross the snow-covered tops of the Cordillera, or defile along the
sides of the mountains. This sight is peculiarly interesting to a
stranger, and has in it what may be justly considered as something
characteristic of the country, where the mountainous tracts are ill
calculated for the service of horses or even mules. Indeed, the animal
itself seems to partake of the docility of its driver; it needs no whip
nor spur to urge it onward; but calmly paces on to its destination. Its
only means of defence, as before mentioned, is to spit in the face of
its oppressor; if too heavily laden with what it kneeled to receive, it
will refuse to rise until relieved of part of its load.

The paco or alpaca of Peru is the chilihueque of Chile: it differs
considerably from the llama--its head is rounder, its legs are shorter
and thicker, and the body more plump; the skin is of a darker colour,
and the hair much longer and softer: like the llama it is used as a
beast of burden, kneels to receive it, and lies down if it be too heavy.
The paco bears more resemblance to a sheep than to a stag, and from its
great apparent strength seems better calculated to be used as a beast of
burden than the llama; but it is not so docile and tractable, it will
not follow the captain or leader, but generally requires to be led with
a string, passed through a small aperture made in the ear;--nor is it
more sure-footed on the ridges of the mountains. The pacos vary in
colour more than the llamas.

The names of these two kinds are derived from alppaco--beast of the
country; and llamscani--that of burden, which the Spaniards translated
into carnero, sheep. It appears both from the names of these two
varieties, as well as from Garcilaso, Acosta, Sandoval, and other
Spanish writers, that they were domesticated before the arrival of the
Spaniards, yet the breeds have never been mixed, nor will they mingle,
for a very visible aversion exists between them, which, with the
striking difference in their construction and appearance, induces me to
believe them to be different species. They are certainly more alike than
the vicuña and the huanaco, or to either of those; so that Buffon and
Linnæus were wide of the truth when they asserted, that the llama and
the vicuña were of the same species, and equally so with respect to the
paco and the huanaco.

The shape of the huanaco is very different from that of the paco--the
back of this is straight, while that of the former is hunched or
arched--the one being proper for a beast of burden, the other quite
improper. The height of the huanaco, from the fore foot to the tip of
the shoulder, is seven inches less than from the bottom of the hind feet
to the top of the rump or os sacro, on which account, when pursued it
immediately descends the mountains, leaping like the buck or the deer;
whereas, the other three species always endeavour to ascend the
mountains to escape the pursuit. The huanacos are of a dark brown
colour, inclining to white under the belly, where the hair is coarse
and shaggy. The forehead is rounder than that of the paco, the nose more
pointed and black, the ears straight like those of a horse, the tail is
short, and turned back like that of the stag. This species seems more
inclined to frequent warmer regions than the other three, and leaves the
mountains for the valleys, particularly in the winter season. The
huanaco is naturally gentle, and easily domesticated; but this is rarely
attempted, for in such a state it is of very little use to its owner.

The vicuña is the smallest species; it is about the size of a goat, the
back less arched than the huanaco's, the neck slender, and about twenty
inches long. The body is covered with a remarkably fine soft wool, of a
pale brown colour, which is sometimes woven; it makes an exceedingly
fine cloth, but it can only be used in its native colour, or when dyed
darker: very fine hats are also manufactured of it in Lima and other
places. The vicuña seems to abound most in the Cordilleras, in about
eighteen degrees south latitude.

The llama is now never found in a wild state, and the paco very seldom;
the huanaco is rarely domesticated, and the vicuña scarcely ever, owing
partly to its natural timidity, and to the effect which a warm climate
has on it, often producing a kind of mange, of which the animal dies. As
already mentioned, the huanaco leaves the cold regions during the
winter, but the vicuña never, always preferring to live among the snow
and the ice. All the four species like best to feed on the _ichu_ that
grows at the elevation of fourteen thousand feet above the level of the
sea, even in eighteen degrees of south latitude. The huanaco is caught
with dogs and the laso, or with a sling; this is made of a strip of
leather five or six feet long, to each end of which a stone weighing
about two pounds is fastened; the huntsman takes one of these stones in
his hand, and whirls the other round his head, then throws it at the
legs of the huanaco he has singled out, which becoming entangled with
the rope, the animal falls. The vicuñas being remarkably timid, fly to
the mountains, and it becomes impossible to follow them; so that for the
purpose of catching them several persons assemble, and take the side of
a mountain above the place where the vicuñas are seen feeding, and then
descending, drive them into a ravine, where they have previously
stretched a line with some rags tied to it; on approaching this the
affrighted animals collect into a cluster, and are generally all caught
and killed for the sake of their wool; this is not shorn; but the skins
are taken off, and sent to market.

The meat of the llama and alpaca is often jerked and sold; but it is
coarse and dry; that of the young huanaco, however, is very good, and
that of the vicuña is equal to the finest venison.

The wool of the llama and the huanaco is only applicable to very
ordinary purposes; but that of the paco is manufactured into the most
beautiful blankets, which are as soft as silk--that of the vicuña is
used as already mentioned.

The _mulita_ and _quiriquincho_ are caught in the temperate and hot
valleys of Huamalies; the former is the eight-banded armadillo; it is
called mulita, or little mule, on account of its long ears, which
resemble those of that animal; this species is about eight inches long.
The quiriquincho is sometimes called _bolo_; it is the eighteen-banded
armadillo, and is about thirteen inches long from the snout to the end
of the tail. The bands are composed of a shell or shells lying
transversely on the upper part of the body, forming a kind of cuirass,
of a greyish or lead colour; the bottom part of the body is also covered
with a shell, and united at the sides with the upper shell like those
of the tortoise; they have four feet, short legs, a pointed snout, like
that of the hog, and a tail covered with scales, like that of the lizard
tribe. They form holes in the ground, in which they bring forth their
young, three or four every month, and feed them on fruits and
vegetables. When pursued, if on the mountains, they roll themselves up
and fall down the precipices, thus eluding their pursuers; but on the
plains they are easily caught, although they run very fast, and always
in a straight line; because their armour does not allow them to turn
round, except in a circular manner. When taken out of the shell their
flesh is very white, with a layer of fat similar to that of a hog. The
natives dress them in a curious manner; they separate the two shells,
clean the meat and season it with capsicum, salt, onions, and herbs,
place it in the upper shell, and cover it with the underneath one; they
then stew it in an oven, and it is certainly most delicious eating. The
children often twist the intestines into strings, and form small guitars
of the shells.

The birds in these provinces consist of several species of eagles,
hawks, falcons, and kites; the gallinaso, several kinds of wild pigeons,
finches, a kind of thrush, blackbirds, and on the borders of the Marañon
a great variety of parrots, but these never pass the mountains into the
valleys or ravines. The _picaflor_, humming bird, is found in all the
warm climates of these districts. I have counted five varieties, and
have often caught them with my hat, when the fairy-like creatures have
been employed in sipping the honey of the plantain flower.

The majestic condor holds his court in the mountainous parts of South
America, and makes excursions in search of food to the valleys and the
coast. Three varieties inhabit these provinces, the largest is called
moro moro; the ruff which encircles the neck and back is of a dark grey
colour; the latter is produced from some feathers in the wings of this
colour, which when folded fall on the back, and form what the natives
call the cloak; but the short feathers on the back as well as the rest
of the body are of a deep black colour. The male of this species is
distinguished from the female by a large crest on the head like a crown;
the neck being covered with short hairs appears naked, of a dark blue
colour; the skin forms folds or curls round the neck of the bird, at the
bottom of which is a ruff of grey feathers, each about ten inches long
and rather curled. This bird measures from thirteen to fifteen feet from
the tip of one wing to the tip of the other.

The second variety has the ruff and cloak of a light brown or pale
coffee colour; it measures from eleven to thirteen feet; the third has
the ruff and cloak white, and measures from nine to eleven feet; this
variety abounds most, and is the most elegant.

Dr. Unanue says, that in a dissection of this bird he found no vessel of
communication between the lungs and the spongy substance of the
clavicles; and he affirms that there is no communication between the
stomach and the trachea; that the superior cavity of the body is lined
with a delicate transparent pleura, divided into several small cells;
that the lungs descend to the lower cavity of the body, and the
posterior part of them adhere to the spine and ribs, and that these are
perforated at the union, which perforation communicates with the spongy
body in the inside of them. The texture of the lungs is very porous, and
when inflated by blowing through the trachea, a quantity of air escapes,
and fills the large and small apertures that surround them, as well as
those of the sternum and ribs.

From this construction, it would appear, that the bird is endowed with
the powers of forming a vacuum in a considerable portion of the body, to
assist in rendering the whole lighter, and thus to enable it to soar to
the enormous height of nineteen thousand feet, where the atmosphere is
of much less density than at the earth's surface.

The beak of the moro moro is four inches long, very thick, and curved;
black at its base, and white towards the point. The thigh is ten inches
and a half long, the leg only six inches; the foot is furnished with
four strong toes; the middle toe, which is almost six inches, is
terminated with a whitish curved talon, two inches long; the two lateral
toes are not so long; and the three have each three joints; the hind toe
is two inches long, the nail one, and this toe has only one joint. The
tail is entire, but small in proportion to the size of the bird. The
large quills in the wings are commonly two feet nine inches long, and
the barrel more than three-quarters of an inch in diameter. The three
varieties all build their nests on the most inaccessible cliffs, and lay
two large white eggs.

The condors feed either on carcases, or on animals which they themselves
kill; lambs and kids always require the care of the shepherd or the dog;
and calves, if at a distance from the cows, frequently become their
prey. They generally make their first attack on the head, and tear out
the eyes. I once saw some condors attack a cow which had sunk into a
quagmire and could not extricate herself; the first attack of these
animals was on the anus, whence they drew out the intestines, and thus
killed the animal, without regarding the noise that we made, as if
sensible that we should not venture to rescue her from the mire. They
are so voracious, and will feed to such a degree, that they cannot rise
from the ground, but run in search of an eminence whence they can throw
themselves on the wing. They soar aloft and swim in the air without any
motion of the wings being visible.

The vegetable productions are wheat, barley, maize, pease, beans,
lentils, quinua, potatoes, camotes, yucas, arracachas, ocas, radishes,
turnips, cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, mangle wurzle, beet, apples,
pears, guinds, peaches, almonds, apricots, grapes, melons, pine-apples,
plantains, bananas, and several other equinoctial fruits; the woods are
molle, cedar, huarango, alerce, and in the forests bordering on the
Marañon cascol, caoba, nasareno, with many other varieties, and
excellent cinchona bark near to Arancay.

The mineral productions are gold, silver, mercury, tin, iron, coal,
sulphur, ætites, and several kinds of marble; but as no quarries have
been wrought, and only some few samples are found in the possession of
different persons at Huaras, Corongos, and in that of various parochial
curates, the extent of the veins remains unknown, as well as the
peculiar qualities of the stone. Many other mineral productions, unknown
at present, will undoubtedly become objects of importance to the
geologist, mineralogist, and chemist, now that the revolution has
secured the independence of the country, and scientific individuals may
visit it, which was not the case when the Spanish colonial laws were in
force. To the botanist and florist the same opportunity presents itself,
and South America may almost as justly be termed a new world, as it was
when discovered by the indefatigable, ill-rewarded Columbus.

The remains of antiquity in any country attract the notice of a
traveller; different individuals view them through different mediums,
but all observe them in some light or other; some for their beauty and
symmetry, as monuments of extraordinary genius and labour; others as
merely picturesque, romantic ornaments in the prospect, relieving the
dreary, or enlivening the interesting scenery; others search for
combinations of features, and endeavour to account for the origin in the
imitations; and others merely wonder how and for what purpose such
immense labour was undertaken. Notwithstanding this diversity of tastes,
all examine, and each in his particular province admires; but alas!
though philosophical researches are of the highest importance to
history, yet in South America the monuments which present themselves
only serve to evince the intolerant spirit of the European nation which
invaded this part of the new world: a people who demolished the temples,
labouring under the influence of superstition; and destroyed the palaces
and other public buildings under the influence of cupidity, in search of
hidden treasure; and this with such wanton barbarity, that only vestiges
remain to shew where the works of nations and of ages once stood--to
exact the tear of the surviving native, the sigh of the sympathizing
visitor, and to reproach the Spaniard and the creole with the lawless
havoc of their forefathers.

The remains of the Incas' road, or the military causeway, which Humboldt
says "may be compared to the finest Roman roads I have seen in Italy,
France or Spain," passes through Huamalies alto, and in some places is
perfectly straight for more than half a league; it is generally lined
with freestone, and evinces the labour of an industrious obedient
people, and is scarcely to be equalled except by the Chinese wall;
especially if we consider the extent of it, from Cusco to Quito, which
is a distance of not less than seven hundred leagues. It was most
probably built at different periods, by the orders of the different
reigning Incas, as they enlarged their conquests; and the continuation
might possibly be the first tax or duty imposed on the conquered
nations. Some parts of this road are at the astonishing elevation of
twelve thousand four hundred and seventy-five feet above the level of
the sea; indeed it is almost every where so situated, that the marches
of the army, or the Inca on his passage, might not suffer from the hot
climates in the valleys.

Near to the village of Baños in Huamalies is a spring of hot water,
where some very capacious baths were built by the Incas, similar to
those at Caxamarca, but more extensive. The ruins of a large building,
called the palace of the Inca, are found at a short distance from the
baths; it was built of stone, and is like those of Cañar and Callo, in
the province of Quito. The situation is beautifully romantic; it is the
summit of a mountain, and commands an extensive prospect of the river
Marañon, the woods and forests to the eastward, and the mountains and
valleys to the westward. The building can only be traced by the
foundations and fragments of walls, all of stone, so exactly cut, or
perhaps ground by rubbing the sides together, that the interstices are
scarcely perceptible. It contained several enclosures, which were
probably a kind of barracks for the army. Near to the palace are the
ruins of a temple, of a circular form, and on the top of two mountains,
one on each side of the river, are the remains of two fortresses, the
sides of the mountains being divided into a sort of galleries one above
another; in some parts these are formed by building breastworks, and in
others they are cut out of the solid rock, the breastwork being left in
the solid stone. The indians assert, that a subterraneous passage under
the river opened a communication between the two fortresses; and however
improbable the execution of such a work may appear to modern architects,
yet the possibility and almost the proof exists in the very astonishing
works of labour and art executed by the Peruvians.

The diseases most prevalent in these provinces are, pulmonic
inflammations, inflammatory fevers, _bicho_, and _pasmo_. The indians
have applied the name _dolor de costado_, pain in the side, to the
pleurisy. When under the direction of a regular practitioner, the
Spanish method of curing is by bathing the affected part with oil, and
taking expectorants; but the method observed by the indians accords much
better with the practice in England. They scarify the part with a sharp
knife, and if the flow of blood be not sufficiently abundant, a person
applies his mouth to the incisions and extracts the blood, this
answering all the purposes of cupping. Some whip the side affected with
nettles, and then bathe it with hot vinegar, applying afterwards a
cataplasm of garlic, onions, and the flour of beans.

The inflammatory fever called _tabardillo_ is common in the hot as well
as cold climates. The curative method adopted by the indians may, in its
prognostic, be considered an improvement on the cold affusion. Some clay
is procured, and mixed with water until it acquire the consistency of
batter, the patient is smeared all over his body with it; after an hour
or two an examination takes place, and if the clay has become parched,
and is peeled off, death is considered to be the inevitable result; but
if it be cracked, and the pieces adhere to the body, a favourable result
is expected. This is most probably the fruit of observation, as I
believe the science of medicine among such people generally is; but the
effect of the application in the latter case is a copious perspiration,
which is absorbed by the clay, by which an adhesion to the cutis takes
place, and prevents it from falling off; thus the experiment, if not at
first founded on scientific principles, has been undoubtedly supported
by practical facts.

The _bicho_ is an endemical disease, known only in the hot valleys; it
is an ulcer of a gangrenous tendency in the colon, and if not attended
to in time is generally mortal. The indians use very stiptic injections,
and believe the origin to be caused by a grub, _bicho_. Those who reside
in cold climates, and when in the valleys eat abundance of fruit, are
most subject to this disease.

The _pasmo_ is generally brought on by wetting a wound, or ulcer, with
cold water; it is particularly prevalent in the hot climates of the
valleys; it is a general nervous convulsion; the first effects are a
tetanus, after which the most excruciating pains afflict the patient,
until relieved by death, for no remedy has as yet been found effectual.

The bronchocele, or goitres, is common in some parts of these provinces,
particularly in the neighbourhood of Huacaibamba; it is a disagreeable
affliction without any known antidote.

The syphilis, as I have before observed, is extremely virulent in the
cold climates of the interior; the usual remedies applied are
sarsaparilla, guaiacum, and sassafras, but very seldom mercury, owing to
the dread that the natives have of its administration.

Madness in dogs was unknown in America until the year 1803, when it made
its appearance along the coast between Paita and Lima; in 1807 many were
affected with it in Lima, to the southward as far as Arica, and
Arequipa, and to the northward of Lima in the valleys of the interior.
Dr. Unanue says, "after having collected all the data, and having
consulted those of the faculty, and other intelligent persons who had
witnessed the effects, I have deduced,

"Firstly--That this spontaneous madness originated in the excessive
increase of heat in 1803 and 1804, which caused almost all kinds of
animals to throw themselves into the pits and lakes to refresh

"Secondly--That this disease attacked indiscriminately all kinds of
quadrupeds, some of which, in the most furious manner, tore the flesh
from their bones with their teeth: several men were also affected with
symptoms of hydrophobia without having been bitten by any animal.

"Thirdly--It was most common among dogs; but some, although apparently
affected, caused no symptoms in their bite except the ordinary ones; but
from the bite of others on their own species, other quadrupeds, and men,
the most dreadful symptoms of hydrophobia were propagated. On one of the
plantations an overseer distributed among the slaves the meat of several
animals which had died mad, believing that the meat was not contagious;
but several of the negroes who ate of it died in a state of madness.

"Fourthly--In the cities of Ica and Arequipa the greatest number of
persons died from the bite of mad dogs. At Ica one dog bit fourteen
individuals in one night. Notwithstanding the advice of the surgeon
Estrada, they all refused medical assistance except two--the remaining
twelve died. The method of cure adopted was, a caustic applied to the
part affected, suppuration was promoted, and mercurial unctions were
applied until a copious salivation was established. Professor Estrada
says, that forty-two persons died at Ica, at different epochs from
twelve to ninety days after they were bit. The symptoms were
convulsions, oppression in the chest, languor, difficult respiration,
horror at the sight of liquids or any shining substance, atrabilious
vomit, and great fury against the nurses. After the first appearance of
these symptoms, death ensued within about five days."


     Travels to the North of Lima....Village of Pativilca....Of
     Huarmey....Of Casma....Cotton Mill....Santa....River Santa....
     Nepeña....Farm of Motocachi....Vineyard....Port of Santa...._Tambo
     de Chao_....Viru....Truxillo....Itinerary between Lima and Truxillo
     ....Description of Truxillo....Buildings....Inhabitants....Climate
     ....Commerce....Jurisdiction....Arms....Plain de Chimu...._Huaca de
     Toledo_....Tradition of....Huanchaco Port....Valleys of Chimu,
     Chicama, and Viru....Productions....Road to Caxamarca....Contumasa
     ....Magdalena....Gold Mines....View of Caxamarca....Origin of Name
     of....Description of....Buildings....Inhabitants....Arts and
     Manufactures of....Visit to San Pablo....Market of Caxamarca
     ....Trade of....Hot Baths....Description of.

As soon as the political affairs of South America rendered it safe for
an Englishman to travel unsuspected, I visited some of the northern
provinces. I remained at Pativilca a few days, and then prosecuted my
journey to Huarmey: this is a small indian village, famous only for
chicha, which is remarkably strong, eighteen gallons only being made
from three bushels of jora, malted maize. The next village is Casma,
where a considerable quantity of cotton is grown, and where a mill for
separating the seeds is established by Don Benito Canicova. The
machinery is very simple--a large drum or hollow cylinder is put in
motion by two mules or oxen; straps pass round this drum and round a
small wheel attached to a fluted steel cylinder, about half an inch in
diameter; in the same horizontal line there is another similar steel
cylinder: when put in motion, the cotton is applied to the steel
cylinders, which drag it between them, separating the seeds from it, and
these fall down on the side next the workmen, while the cotton is thrown
out on the opposite side. A very powerful screw-press is used for
packing the cotton, which is generally exported to the European market.

The soil here is sandy; the climate, owing to the position of the place,
which is enclosed on three sides by high mountains, is hot, and the
cotton is very fine; on this account Casma will probably become more
populous than it is at present, and a town of more note. The pine-apples
which grow here are very fine, and many of them are carried to Lima.

Our next stage brought us to Santa, having passed the small hamlet of
Huambacho. Santa is the residence of the Subdelegado, and capital of the
district of the same name; it is the poorest in Peru, for when a
corregimiento its distribution, repartimiento, amounted only to
twenty-five thousand dollars, and its alcavala to two hundred. The town
is composed of about thirty ill-built houses and ranchos; the old town
stood near to the sea coast, and was much larger than the present one,
but it was destroyed in 1685 by Edward David, a Dutch pirate; the
inhabitants afterwards established themselves about half a league
further from the coast. The King granted to this hamlet the title of
city, on account of the gallant resistance which the inhabitants made
against David, and particularly for their having preserved from the
hands of the pirate a miraculous image of Christ crucified, the gift of
the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and which is still venerated in the new

About two leagues to the northward of the town is the river Santa; it
rises in the province of Huailas, and enters the Pacific in 8° 57´ 33´´
south latitude. At the mouth it is about one thousand eight hundred
yards wide, and its current, during the rainy season in the interior,
often flows at the rate of seven miles an hour; at this time of the year
it cannot be forded without great risk. In 1795 a rope bridge was thrown
across it, about a league from the mouth, but this was destroyed in 1806
by an unprecedented rise of the water, which caught the bridge and
dragged it away.

The valley of Santa contains some good farms, which are principally
covered with lucern, and great numbers of horned cattle are fattened
here for the Lima market. Some maize is also cultivated for the feeding
of hogs, the lard of which is carried to Lima; here also they have fine
crops of rice; indeed such is the heat, the natural dampness of the
earth, and the abundance as well as the quality of the water (which like
that of the Nile enriches the soil) used for the purpose of irrigation,
that three successive crops are often procured from the same seed.

About six leagues to the eastward of Santa is a very neat town, called
Nepeña; the climate is far more agreeable than at Santa, and the
inhabitants are not incommoded with musquitos, which are very annoying
at the former place, owing to the low swampy ground, where they breed in
such prodigious quantities, that it is sometimes almost impossible to
breathe without inhaling them. Their bite is very troublesome, and many
of the inhabitants, from continually scratching themselves, become
almost covered with an eruptive disease similar to the _carati_ at
Huaura; along the coast it is common to hear the Santeños called
_sarnosos_, from _sarna_, the itch. In the neighbourhood of Nepeña there
are several sugar plantations and vineyards. The farm called Motocachi
is famous for producing excellent wine, which in flavour is not
inferior to the best muscatel of Spain, or the frontignac of France. The
brandy made from the same grape is also peculiarly delicate, possessing
all the flavour of the wine; it is in great demand, and is called
_aguardiente de Italia_.

The port of Santa has a safe anchorage, and is capable of containing a
considerable number of vessels; during the time of peace between England
and Spain many South Sea whalers touched here, for the purpose of
procuring fresh provisions; and considerable business in the smuggling
line has been carried on. This port and town will undoubtedly become
more known and more frequented, because its situation offers an easy
internation to the provinces which I have lastly described, and a saving
of upwards of a hundred leagues of land carriage to some of them. Callao
is now the only _Puerto abilitado_; but the newly-established
governments will not be so ignorant of their financial interests as to
suffer it to continue so.

We left Santa early in the morning, and arrived before noon at _Tambo de
Chao_, a house built of rushes in a sandy desert, nine leagues from
Santa; having refreshed ourselves a little, and fed the mules, we
proceeded to a small village called Viru, where we halted for the
night, and on the following day we arrived at the city of Truxillo.

The following short account of the road from Lima to Truxillo will
convey some idea of the nature of travelling, and the kind of
accommodations which travellers may expect who have to visit these
countries. Some persons have _literas_, litters, for this purpose: they
are square boxes, with an opening on each side which serve for
entrances; a small mattress made to fit is placed at the bottom; this
vehicle is then fastened to two poles, one on each side, and these are
secured on the backs of two mules, on the foremost of which a boy is
generally placed, to guide the animal. This mode of travelling is very
disagreeable, owing to the various motions communicated to the litera;
the elasticity of the poles causes it to rise and fall, while the steps
of the mules make it sometimes roll from side to side, and sometimes it
is jerked backwards and forwards; so that a person unaccustomed to this
mode of travelling is almost sure to experience all the effects of a
sea-sickness, besides a universal soreness in his limbs, occasioned by
the jolting of the litter.

     From Lima to Chancay           14 leagues, 11 of sand.
          Chancay to Huaura         13 ditto     9 of sand.
          Huaura to Pativilca       13 ditto     9 of sand.
          Pativilca to Huarmey      18 ditto    15 of sand.
          Huarmey to Casma           8 ditto     7 of sand.
          Casma to Santa            12 ditto    10 of sand.
          Santa to Tambo de Chao     9 ditto     9 of sand.
          Tambo de Chao to Viru     10 ditto    10 of sand.
          Viru to Truxillo          10 ditto     8 of sand.

We have here one hundred and eight leagues of road, one-half of which
leads through a sandy desert country, the greater part of which must for
ever remain so: this is principally owing to the total absence of rain,
the scarcity of river water, or the impracticability of irrigation; but
wherever water can be procured, the scene is quite different;
comfortable farm houses, neat villages, and the most luxurious
vegetation enliven the views to the weary traveller; the eye soon
becomes tired with a dreary sandy prospect, or with now and then
beholding a few leagues of the sea coast; but it rests with pleasure and
is refreshed with the prospect of fertile valleys, clothed in the
luxurious garb of spring or autumn--where the evergreen sugar-cane, the
lucern, the hedges, and the ripe crops of grain are blended; which is
the case here during the greater part of the year.

The city of Truxillo stands on a sandy plain in lat. 8° 6´ 3´´ S.; it
was founded by Francisco Pizarro, Marquis of Charcas and Atavillos, the
conqueror of Peru, who named it after his native place in Estremadura;
its figure approaches to that of an oval, it is surrounded with a wall
of adobes or sun-burnt bricks, ten feet high, having fifteen bastions
and as many curtains; it was erected by order of the Viceroy of Peru,
Duke de la Palata. The streets of this city cross each other at right
angles in a north-east and south-west direction, and are generally about
forty feet wide. The houses, like those of Lima, are generally but one
story high; many of the fronts are white-washed, and some of them
fancifully painted. The principal mansions have large patios in front,
and an arched door-way or entrance; the insides are richly furnished,
but not in the English style; long sofas, high tables, and few chairs,
having an awkward appearance to a foreigner; the walls are hung with
crimson damask, and the sofa and table covers are of the same material,
as well as the curtains and the bed furniture. In many houses, large
paintings of saints, in richly embossed silver frames, adorn the walls,
and the wealth of many of the inhabitants is displayed in a profusion of
wrought plate. Some of the shops in _la Calle del Comercio_ are well
stored with European manufactured goods; but, as in Lima, no display of
them can be made for want of windows, a convenient enticement to
purchasers unknown in these parts of the new world. Although the streets
of this city are well laid out, of a commodious width, and lined with
neat houses, they are not paved, and consequently are very dirty; some
of them are nearly impassable on this account; indeed the shoes of a
passenger must be filled either with sand or dirt.

The plasa mayor, or great square, is very large, and has a low fountain
built of stone in the centre. On the east side stands the cathedral,
which is a handsome building with one steeple; the inside is richly
ornamented, and a great profusion of plate and other costly articles is
exhibited on solemn festivals; but, like all the cathedrals in Spanish
America, the site occupied by the choir destroys the effect which would
otherwise be produced by the high altar standing in the central nave.
This church was consecrated in the year 1673, by the thirteenth bishop
of the diocese, Don Fray Juan de la Calle y Heredia. Attached to the
cathedral on the north side, is the Sagrario or principal parish church,
although always called a chapel; indeed it is the chapel of ease to the
cathedral, where all the parochial duties are performed, without
interfering with the choral and other religious ceremonies of the

On the opposite side of the cathedral stands the palace of the bishop;
it is a large old decayed building, the inside of which is fitted up in
a style of antique magnificence, for every succeeding bishop has
generally purchased the furniture which belonged to his predecessor. The
palace has an upper story, which is occupied by the bishop and his
domestics; in the lower is the ecclesiastical prison, the different
offices, stables, &c.

On the north-west side of the plasa are the palace of the governor, and
the government offices, such as the royal treasury; the _callana_, where
the plata piña is melted and stamped and the royal fifth is paid; also
that of the secretary to the governor. The whole range of buildings has
a low and mean appearance. The two remaining sides of the square are
filled with the houses of private individuals, among which is that of
the Marquis of Bellavista, the only title in Truxillo.

Besides the cathedral there are three parish churches, Santa Ana, San
Sebastian, and San Esteban; five conventual churches of San Francisco,
Santo Domingo, San Augustin, La Merced, and the ex-Jesuits; and two
nunneries, the barefooted Carmelites, and Santa Clara. The convents are
governed by their prelates, who are subject to their respective
provinciales in Lima: in the college of ex-Jesuits a seminary is
established, and the college of San Carlos is subject to the bishop. The
nuns of Santa Clara are under the direction of the Franciscan prelate,
as belonging to that order; and the Carmelites are under that of the
ordinary, the bishop; there is also a hospital managed by the Bethlemite

The inhabitants of Truxillo consist of a few Spaniards, some white
creoles, indians, negroes, and the castes arising from the mixture of
these, amounting in the whole to about eight thousand souls. This city
is celebrated as being the birth-place and residence of some very
handsome _mulatas_ and other females of colour; indeed the features of
many are very pleasing, and the castes remarkably free from those stains
which not unfrequently render the complexion of coloured people so very
disagreeable. Truxillo is noted for its Quixotic nobility; it is often
said, that the body of this celebrated Don was buried here; I have
frequently seen in the house of a mulatto or a zambo a full-length
portrait of the individual, who by a kind of faux pas caused them to
emerge from the African race, and sable colour, and of whom they speak
with as much respect as the _montañeses_ do of Don Pelayo, whose
descendants they all pretend to be, or as any nobleman of England would
do of Ptolemy or Alexander, if he fancied that he could trace his
pedigree either to the Egyptian astronomer or the Macedonian hero.

There is nothing peculiar in the dress of the inhabitants; the men wear
their clothes nearly in the European style, with the addition of a cloak
or a poncho; the females, unlike to those of Lima, may be seen in the
streets in their in-door dresses, but seldom with either hat, cap, or
bonnet; their heads being usually covered with a shawl. The higher
classes, and all who can afford it, have _calesas_, a close carriage on
two wheels, drawn by a mule, on which the coachman rides. The general
_paseo_ for the ladies is to _Mansiche_, a small indian village to the
northward of the city, about half a league from the walls, where they
resort during the cool of the evening mounted on asses, having a kind of
pack-saddle covered with very gay trappings of crimson broad-cloth or
velvet, embroidered and fringed with gold or silk. The ladies ride
sideways, and frequently two are mounted on the same ass, with their
feet hanging on the opposite sides; one of the ladies generally wears a
small spur. At Mansiche they treat themselves with _picantes_, dishes
highly seasoned with aji, cayenne pepper; they also drink chicha, and
generally return to the city about sunset.

The climate of Truxillo is colder than that of Lima during the winter
season or the damp months, and much hotter during the summer. The market
is plentifully supplied with fish, flesh meat, poultry, bread,
vegetables and fruit; and is much celebrated for delicate sweetmeats,
among which the preserved muscadine grapes are most esteemed.

Little commercial business is here transacted, and the city owes great
part of its prosperity to its being the residence of the governor, the
bishop, and the several persons employed in the civil and ecclesiastical

The jurisdiction of the Gobernador Intendente extends along the coast
from the river Saña to the river Santa, and eastward to the Marañon. As
it includes many valleys and several mountainous districts, in it all
the various climates may be found. The civic jurisdiction of the
alcaldes is the same here as in other cities in the Spanish colonies.

The ecclesiastical jurisdiction contains thirty-one doctrinal curacies;
it is in the hands of the bishop, who is assisted by his vicar-general,
provisor, and the chapter, which is composed of the dean, the
archdeacon, the chanter, four canons and two prebendaries.

The arms of the city are a shield, azure, bearing a griffin; in the
centre two columns, one blue, the other white, over water, in which
there is a crown, Or, crossed by two bars, Argent, underneath which is
the letter K.

Truxillo suffered very much from earthquakes on the 14th of February,
1619--the 6th of January, 1625--the 20th of October, 1759--and the 2nd
of September, 1759. The last shock was very violent, and some of the
valleys near the coast, which, before it happened, produced the most
abundant crops of wheat, became quite sterile for more than twenty years

The plain on which the city of Truxillo is built is called _del Chimu_,
this being the title of the sovereign chief who resided here, and
signifying the powerful Lord: this chief, after resisting the Incas of
Peru from the time of Lloqui Yupanqui to that of Pachacutec, the tenth
Inca, at length subjected himself, swearing allegiance to the Inca at
the fortalice of Paramonga. In the plain are the ruins of the ancient
residence of the Chimu; they appear like the foundations of a large city
or the walks of a garden, crossing each other at right angles, and
denote the residence of the numerous tribe which formerly inhabited this
site, and prove, also, that their chief had a respectable force at his
command, with which he could oppose the incursions of the imperial army;
this he continued to do until the Incas, by gradually augmenting their
army with soldiers collected from the numerous tribes, which for nearly
a century they had been annexing to their empire, were able to subdue
this chief of the coast.

The custom of burying with the dead whatever belonged to them at their
decease seems to have been prevalent among the Chimu tribes, for their
huacas contain utensils, arms, clothing, and treasure, exactly in the
manner as those of the indians in other parts of Peru. The same
attention is also paid to economizing land fit for cultivation: the
ruins just mentioned being situated on an elevated plain, where water
could not be procured for the purpose of irrigation. In the year 1576, a
Spaniard, named Juan Gutierres de Toledo, opened a huaca, which was
supposed to have been that of one of the Chimus, in which he found so
large a quantity of gold, that he paid into the royal treasury of
Truxillo nine thousand three hundred and sixty-two ounces of gold, as
the royal fifth, the value of the whole being upwards of a hundred and
fifty thousand pounds sterling.

The tradition respecting the discovery of this treasure is as
follows:--Toledo was a poor Spaniard, who, on his arrival at Huanchaco,
the sea-port to Truxillo, took up his residence at the house of an
indian named Tello: Toledo was of a mild disposition, and endeavoured to
conciliate the good-will of his host, which he easily accomplished; he
afterwards removed to Truxillo, and with the assistance of Tello opened
a small store; the friendship of the Spaniard and the indian increased,
so that Toledo became godfather to one of the children of Tello, which
is considered to this day as the greatest favour that a white man can
show to an indian. Tello one day told his friend that it was in his
power to repay all the kindness which he had received, and to make his
friend rich by giving to him a huaca, which, after some preliminary
arrangements, he did. Toledo followed the directions of his friend, and
found the value already mentioned in bars, and some household utensils
of gold. Having thanked his guide who had conducted him to the wealth he
had acquired, Tello told him that on a future day he would give him the
great fish, the one which he had given him being only the little fish;
but he died without discovering it, or giving him any clue to find it.
Toledo, in gratitude to the memory of his benefactor, redeemed the
tribute of the indians of Huauchaco by paying a certain sum of money
into the treasury, the fruit of which just and generous action the
indians still continue to enjoy; and a native of the village always
carries with him, if he go to reside in any other part of the country, a
certificate of his birth, which every where frees him from the payment
of this tax. This action of Tello clearly proves that a South American
indian is not incapable of possessing those feelings which have been
denied to their character by some of their visitors and historians.

The great fish mentioned by Tello is generally believed to be a mountain
or large hill near to the huaca de Toledo, and visible at Truxillo. This
hill has every appearance of having been formed by art; it stands on the
sandy plain of Chimu, quite isolated, and seems to be nothing but a huge
portion of sand, which being poured down from an eminence would assume
the shape which this mound bears. Many persons have attempted
excavations, but the falling down of the loose materials, of which the
hill is formed, has prevented the continuation of the work. If an adit
were cut through it there is little reason to doubt but that an immense
treasure would be found. Humboldt speaks of the same experiment being
worthy of attention when describing the Teocalli of Cholula.

The sea-port to Truxillo is called Huanchaco; it is a roadstead in which
the anchorage is not good, and where the landing, owing to the surf, is
attended with considerable inconvenience; this, however, might be partly
removed by the erection of a pier, which will probably be effected when
the commerce with this part of Peru becomes interesting. The latitude of
Huanchaco is 8° 6´--the church, which stands on an eminence, is an
excellent land-mark.

The valleys of Chimu, Chicama, and Viru, may be considered as one, being
separated from each other only by the branches of the Chicama river.
United they are about twenty-eight leagues long and eleven broad; their
soil, irrigated by the waters of the river, is very fertile, producing
most abundant crops of wheat, maize and other pulse, as well as grapes,
olives, sugar-cane, plantains, pine-apples, lucumas, guavas, mamey
apples, custard apples, tumbos, chirimoyas, guanabanas, together with a
variety of esculents, potatoes, camotes, yucas, radishes, &c. Formerly
the valley of Chicama was called the granary of Peru, and until the
great earthquake in 1687, the wheat produced its seed two hundred fold;
this valley alone harvested annually two hundred thousand bushels of
this grain. Here are many sugar plantations, but for want of hands they
are not so well cultivated, and consequently not so productive as those
in the valleys in the neighbourhood of Lima and Pisco. Little doubt can
be entertained but that this beautiful and fruitful valley, at some
future period, will become one of the most interesting settlements on
the coast of Peru, on account of its great extent, the quality of its
soil, and the abundance of water. Cotton and rice appear to claim
particular attention, but their cultivation has hitherto been little

I left Truxillo with the _chasquero_, postman, which is a commodious and
quick way of travelling, and especially if the person has no luggage, or
can trust it to a muleteer to follow him; because the postman demands a
horse or a mule at each stage, for which is paid a real, or one-eighth
of a dollar per league. After travelling along the valley of Chicama
about eight leagues, we stopped at a small village, called Simbal,
changed horses for mules, and then began to ascend the _cuesta_; we
continued to travel in this manner, with now and then a small descent or
a little level road, till we arrived at Contumasá, at ten o'clock at
night, having ridden twenty-one leagues in eleven hours. Although the
latter part of the road appeared rugged from the frequent stumbling of
the mules, I was obliged to allow mine to take its own choice, because
for the last three hours the darkness prevented me from seeing how to
direct it.

The village of Contumasá is situated on an eminence where the climate is
much colder than that which I had just left; the houses are either
thatched or tiled, and the whole of the country, habitations and people,
appear different. The glow of a tropical sky at sunrise and sunset was
changed to a pale blue, with light white clouds, or more dense ones
charged with rain; the houses were so constructed as to exclude the rain
and the cold; the clothing of the inhabitants was calculated to answer
the same end, and all indicated a change like that from summer to
winter; but the transition was so sudden, although expected, that in the
morning, when I went into the corridor of the house where I had slept, I
could not help looking on all around me with a certain degree of
surprize. This village is composed of a long street, a plasa, and a
church; some of the houses have a neat comfortable appearance, but the
inhabitants are said to be somewhat akin to the Conchucanos. After
taking mate, with some bread and cheese, we left Contumasá, and arrived
in the evening at a hamlet called la Magdalena, situate in the bottom of
a deep valley; the climate is very hot, and is considered unhealthy;
small patches of sugar-cane, yucas, camotes, and some of the fruits of
the coast, are here cultivated. At a small distance from the hamlet
there are some abandoned gold mines, called _de los Portugueses_: it is
said that they were formerly wrought by some natives of Portugal, and
belonged to the unfortunate Juan Bautista, a Portuguese Jew, who was
burnt by the inquisition of Lima in 1705.

We changed mules at la Magdalena, and immediately began to ascend the
cuesta by a winding road, some parts of which are very steep; having
gained the summit, and travelled about three leagues across the top of
the mountain, covered with long dry grass, _pajon_, we reached the
cumbe, an eminence from which the valley and city of Caxamarca form a
most beautiful prospect.

The valley of Caxamarca is about five leagues long, and three broad in
its widest part, forming an irregular oval. Many white country houses
present themselves, and numberless ranches of the indians; the whole
plain is intersected with green hedges, which divide it into several
hundreds of small plots of ground, all apparently in the highest state
of cultivation, at least all bearing most luxurious crops: the river
winds along the valley from one extremity to the other, bursting as it
were from the embraces of the hills at one end; after gambolling along
the valley, distributing health and vigour to the vegetable tribes, it
again sinks into the arms of the mountains at the other. The city
presents a most delightful prospect in the foreground at the foot of the
cumbe; the spacious streets, intersecting each other at right angles,
the large plasa mayor in the centre of the city, the spires and domes of
the churches, and the neatly tiled houses, all contribute to enhance the
beauty of the view; while at a short distance from the city, in the back
part, vapours are continually rising from the hot baths. Not only is the
sight of Caxamarca very interesting, but feelings of sympathy swell the
bosom of the stranger who looks on it;--it brings to his recollection
the unmerited sufferings and death of the Inca Atahualpa, who here fell
a sacrifice to the unparalleled treachery and detestable cruelty of the
Spanish conqueror, Pizarro.

After a rather tedious descent, we arrived at the city, and as I
determined to remain here for some time, for the purpose of visiting
whatever might appear to me interesting, I took apartments in a private
house, where I remained during my stay in this part of America, and
where I soon became like one of the family--enjoying every kindness my
good host could lavish on me, for all which he would only accept a
trifling recompense.

The name of this city is derived from _cassacmalca_, place of frost;
however, the climate is very benign, the maximum of the thermometer
during my stay being 72° of Fahrenheit, and the minimum 40°; but it more
probably obtained its name from the blights occasioned by the frosty
winds from the east, which are very injurious to vegetation.

Here is a parish church, called _la Matris_, belonging to the white
inhabitants, dedicated to Santa Catalina; it is a handsome edifice of
stone, neatly wrought; the front is very much ornamented with carved
work, in good sand stone; it has three doors opening into the three
naves of the church. The interior is neat, but not rich; the whole
expence of the building was defrayed by an order of Charles II. from the
royal treasury, during the Viceroyalty of the Duque de la Palata. The
two parishes of indians are San Jose and San Pedro: to the former in
1810 was given the beautiful conventual church of San Antonio, which
formerly belonged to the Franciscans. Here are the conventual churches
of San Diego and la Merced; the nunnery of la Concepcion, and a hospital
belonging to the Bethlemites. The church of San Antonio is a fine
structure, approaching to the chaste gothic style; the two rows of
pillars in the interior that support the roof, which is composed of some
light groined arches, are slender, and the whole effect is very
pleasing; it has much the appearance of a small cathedral, unencumbered
with the central choir; the whole building is of white stone, dug from a
quarry near to the city. The church and convent of San Diego are
remarkably neat stone buildings; the cloisters, cells, kitchens, and
other offices are arched with stone; and the extensive gardens belonging
to them are enclosed with walls of the same wrought material. It belongs
to the grey friars of San Francisco, but seldom more than two or three
reside here. It once happened, that there were no other residents than
the guardian, or prelate, and a lay brother, who was an Andalusian; the
former thought proper to threaten the latter with corporal punishment;
when he immediately replied to his superior, that if he did not
moderate his anger, he would deprive him of his superiority. But how?
exclaimed the enraged prelate: by hanging my habit on a peg, and leaving
your fathership without an inferior, replied the _donado_.

The church belonging to the nunnery _de la Concepcion_ is a handsome new
structure; at the time of my present visit to Caxamarca it was not
finished, but when I returned in 1812 it had been consecrated, and
divine service was then performed in it. The church belonging to the
hospital is built of carved stone, and a profusion of workmanship
ornaments the front of the building. Here are two wards, or rather two
hospitals; that for men is within the cloisters of the convent, and that
for women is a separate stone building, divided from the convent by a
street. The surgeon is paid from the indian tribute, and few but indians
go to the hospital.

The population of this city is composed of white people and indians, a
small number of negroes, and the mixed breeds; the excess is in favour
of the indians and mestisos, called here quinteros; the total amount is
about seven thousand. Here are some descendants of Spanish nobility,
particularly the family of Bonifas, who are the lineal descendants of
the family of Ximenes, to which the Cardinal Ximenes, Regent of Spain
to the Emperor Charles V. belonged, and who are in possession of many
interesting papers, which were the property of that celebrated
statesman. Among the Indians is the family of the Cacique Astopilco;
they claim a lineal descent from the Inca Atahualpa, and inhabit part of
the palace which was formerly occupied by the imperial family, the place
where Atahualpa was murdered. The generality of the inhabitants are
industrious, and their workmanship in silver and iron is deserving of
much praise. I have seen many very handsome sword blades and daggers
made here, pocket steels, and bridle bits most curiously wrought, beside
several well finished pistol and gun locks; on this account the
Caxamarquinos are often called the Biscayans of South America.
Literature would prosper here were it properly cultivated; the natives
are fond of instruction, and scholars are not rare; many of the richer
inhabitants send their children to Truxillo and Lima to be educated.
Kindness, hospitality, and innocent amusements, characterize the
citizens of Caxamarca, and some of the most agreeable hours of my life
have been spent in this town.

I cannot avoid giving the description of a visit to a most eccentric
character, a native of this place, who resided at a sugar plantation,
of which he was proprietor, about nine leagues from Caxamarca. I had
often been pressed by my friend to visit San Pablo; and having appointed
the day, two mules arrived the preceding evening, one for myself and one
for a nephew to my host, Don Mariano Alvites. On the following morning,
at five o'clock, we mounted, with two black men as an escort, carrying
their long lances, as if any danger could be apprehended on the road.
Having arrived at the top of a mountain, which we were obliged to cross,
it began to rain, and our descent on the opposite side was attended with
considerable danger; however we arrived safely at the bottom; our mules
had often to bring their hind feet close to their fore feet, and then
resting on their haunches they would slide down a distance of from
twenty to forty yards at a time. We halted a few minutes at the bottom,
when one of the negroes pointing to a small house about two miles off,
said, my _amo_, master or owner, waits your arrival at that house which
stands on the border of his estate, where he intends to welcome you on
your arrival, and where a breakfast is prepared. We walked our mules
leisurely along, and shortly heard the report of a camareta; this is a
small mortar, having a two or three inch bore, and about eight inches
deep, at the bottom of which is a touch hole; it has a handle, and
looks very much like a large tankard; it is loaded with powder, and then
filled with dry clay, which is beat very hard with a mallet; it is then
placed on its end with the mouth upwards, and a train is laid to it;
when fired the report is equal to that of an eight pounder.

Such a report a little surprised me, and the sound, which re-echoed from
the mountains on every side, had a very pleasing effect. Alvites now
said to me, my uncle is in a good humour, prepare yourself to be more
teased with his peculiarities than what we now are with the rain. About
a mile from the small house we could see our friend Don Manuel de
Verastegui, y Oliva, advancing slowly and majestically, like a Lord
Mayor's procession, to meet us: had Cervantes witnessed this sight,
there is no doubt but he would have taken him for the knight of his
enchanting romance.

At the distance of eight or ten yards our friend alighted from his
dappled charger, and approached to salute us; we remained on our mules,
enjoying his profound bow, hat in hand, and "a more unpleasant morning,"
said he, "never brought to San Pablo, the humble residence of Don Manuel
de Verastegui, two more welcome visitors than those whom I have now the
honour to address; allow me to say, you are indeed welcome;" when,
without waiting a reply, he remounted his steed, and we trotted along to
his rancho. This kind old gentleman was dressed in a coat, waistcoat and
breeches of blue velveteen; the coat being lined with Catalonian chintz,
full of large red flowers on a white ground; the huge buttons on his
coat and waistcoat were of silver; he had on a pair of high military
boots, and had a small triangular cocked hat on his head; his hair was
curled on the sides, and tied behind in a long cue, _a lo militar de
Carlos III._; a silver-hilted trusty toledano was girt to his side by a
broad black belt, which passed round his waist; he appeared to be about
sixty, and in stature he might be six feet; he was also remarkably
slender and very upright. His saddle trappings were of crimson cloth,
ornamented with silver lace and fringe. Two blacks accompanied him on
horseback, the one held a huge crimson umbrella over his head, while the
other rode before him with his lance, _hasta de rejon_: they were both
in old liveries, and wore cocked hats with yellow worsted lace, but were
bare-legged. On our arrival at the lodge, if so I may call it, we were
saluted with another camareta, and shortly after we rode under the
corridor and alighted. Several negro boys immediately took our ponchos
and hats to the kitchen to dry, and we entered and sat down to a very
sumptuous breakfast; a roasted kid hot, boiled turkey cold, collared
pig, ham and tongue, with butter, cheese and olives, besides which, wine
and brandy, _pisco_, and several _liquers_ were on the table; tea,
coffee, and chocolate, were afterwards brought in, and a cup of each was
placed before every one of us.

After breakfast we again mounted, and the rain having ceased, our ride
to the farm-house was very agreeable. On our arrival, the lady of the
house came into the corridor to receive us, with her two daughters. Doña
Casimira and Doña Rosaria, each upwards of thirty years old: we
alighted, and after the first ceremonious salutations were over, we
retired to two rooms prepared for us, and changed part of our dress,
having taken the precaution of bringing linen with us from Caxamarca.
When we returned to the drawing-room, our host had changed his dress
also: he now wore a very old-fashioned green velvet full-dress, almost
covered with embroidery and spangles. Doña Casimira sat down to a
harpsichord, and played several pretty airs, and her sister afterwards
sung some _tristes_ to her guitar. As the ground was wet. Don Manuel
proposed a dance before dinner and a walk afterwards; this was assented
to, and I danced a minuet with Doña Rosaria; Alvites excused himself;
but our host and hostess walked a minuet, to my no small diversion.

We had a very sumptuous dinner, walked out during the afternoon, and in
the evening were joined by a party of about twenty persons; after which
we continued dancing, singing, and feasting till daylight, when my
companion and I returned to Caxamarca, Don Manuel accompanying us to the
lodge, where he most ceremoniously thanked us for favouring him with our
company, and then wished us a pleasant ride.

The market of Caxamarca is well supplied with flesh meat, poultry,
bread, grain, vegetables, fruit, and every necessary, all of which are
cheap: cheese and butter are plentiful; of the latter a fresh supply is
brought from the country every day. Some very fine fruits are also
obtained from the valleys, such as paltas, the vegetable marrow,
chirimoyas, and pine-apples, particularly from that part called _de las
Balsas_, where the road to Chachapoyas crosses the Marañon.

This city carries on a considerable trade with Lambayeque and other
places on the coast, furnishing them with the different home
manufactured articles; such as baizes, bayetones, _pañetes_, a kind of
coarse cloth, blankets, flannels, tocuyos, &c., and receiving in return
European manufactures, soap, sugar, cocoa, brandy, wine, indigo, _hierba
de Paraguay_, salted fish, iron, steel, &c. The inhabitants of the
interior resort to Caxamarca as a kind of mart, for the purpose of
selling their own produce and manufactures, and for purchasing others
which they may require; hence, a considerable trade is carried on, and
some of the shops are well stored with European goods, similar to those
which I mentioned when speaking of Huaras. Articles of a superior
quality are in demand here, for the poorer classes wear their own
manufactures; but the richer dress in European goods of the best

At the distance of a league from Caxamarca are the baths of the Inca:
two comfortable dwelling houses are built of stone on the two sides of a
large patio, each having an extensive bath: that on the right hand is
five yards square, and two deep. The sides and bottom are formed of
roughly hewn stone, having steps at two of the corners, leading down
from two doors, which open to different parts of the house; and others
in the centre of the opposite side, communicating by a door with a large
room. On the left is another bath, smaller than this; it is called _de
los pobres_, and it has convenient rooms also attached to it. At the
entrance to the patio is a corridor to the right and left, which serves
as a stable; and in the front there are two kitchens, and a passage that
leads through the building. It was at these baths that the unfortunate
Atahualpa resided when Pizarro arrived at Caxamarca.

The spring of hot water, called _el tragadero_, is at the back of the
building, and is at the distance of two hundred and thirty yards from
it; it is circular, of five yards in diameter; I sounded it with fifty
yards of rope, but found no bottom; the land all round it to the
distance of more than a mile is almost level, declining a very little
towards the river, which runs at the distance of four hundred yards from
the tragadero. The water appears to boil, but having only one
thermometer with me, and being fearful of damaging it where its place
could not easily be supplied with another, I did not measure its heat.
The natives scald their pigs here when they kill them, and as I have
observed that boiling water rather fastens the bristles on the skin, I
concluded that the heat of the water is below the temperature at which
it generally boils when heated in the ordinary way. I filled two tin
coffee pots, the one with water from the tragadero, the other with
water from a cold spring; I placed them together on the same fire, and
observed that the cold and the hot water began to boil precisely at the
same time. I placed an egg in the tragadero, secured in a small net, and
allowed it to remain eight minutes; it was then quite hard and the yolk
dry. I allowed another to remain three minutes, which when broken was
soft; I placed another in the hot water, allowed it to remain three
minutes, and put it immediately into boiling water on a fire with a cold
raw egg; after boiling five minutes they were both equally hard, and
when cut no difference could be observed except in the taste;--the one
which had been placed in the tragadero had a slight clayey taste,
somewhat similar to that of water which has passed over a bed of clay.

The water of the tragadero empties itself into a channel three feet
wide, and on an average six inches deep, which from several experiments
I observed to run at the rate of three feet in a second. By this
experiment it appears, that about thirty hogsheads of water are
discharged in a minute. Along the sides of the channel the grass and
other vegetables, particularly the ichu, grow to the very margin of the
stream; and the fields of lucern which are irrigated with this water,
at the distance of five hundred yards from the tragadero, are the finest
in the valley. The fruit trees also that grow in the gardens belonging
to the baths, apples, pears and peaches, are never subject to the blight
from the frosty air so common in the neighbourhood; being apparently
protected by the steam which continually rises from the hot water. The
principal stream contains many small fishes of a black colour, very much
in shape like small shrimps; if these be put into cold water they
immediately die. They appear to be continually swimming up the stream,
as if to avoid being carried by it to the confluence of the cold stream
from the Santa Rosa springs with that of the tragadero, where they would
most certainly perish.

The water which flows from the spring called de Santa Rosa, which is
only seventy-two yards from the tragadero, is always at 41° of
Fahrenheit at the mouth of the spring, where it bursts from a rock. The
baths are supplied with water of any temperature, by mixing the hot from
the tragadero with the cold from Santa Rosa; and as there is an outlet
at the bottom as well as at the top of each bath, a constant supply of
fresh water is maintained.


     Historical Sketch of Caxamarca, Huaina Capac, Huascar Inca, and
     Atahualpa....Arrival of Pizarro at Tumpis....At Caxamarca....
     Spanish Embassy....Harangue of Soto....Answer of Atahualpa....Visit
     of Atahualpa to Pizarro....Discourse of Friar Vicente Valverde, to
     Atahualpa....Answer of Atahualpa....Imprisonment of....Offered
     Ransom of....Cause of the Jealousy of Pizarro....Arrivals of
     Treasure....Accusation, for the Trial of Atahualpa....Sentence,
     Baptism, Execution, and Burial of....Interesting Remains
     in Caxamarca.

Caxamarca is a place interesting in the history of Peru; it was here
that the Inca Atahualpa resided when Pizarro landed at Tumpis, now
Tumbes, in the mouth of the Guayaquil river. The residence of Atahualpa
at this place was accidental, as will appear from the following
historical sketch, which I have endeavoured to make as correct as
possible, with the assistance of the works of Garcilaso, Gomara, Zarate,
and others; collated with the oral traditions of the indians of this
province, and particularly the Cacique Astopilco, as well as those of

Huaina Capac having conquered the kingdom of Quito, married
Paccha-chire, daughter of the Quitu, or King of that country; she bore
him a son, who was named Atahualpa, whom some writers have erroneously
called Atabalipa, Atalipa, and Atalpa. His eldest son, by his wife, the
Empress Rava Ocllo, born at Cusco, was called Inte Guri Hualpa; but on
the day of the Apu-ñaca, he was named Huascar, under which name he is
always known as Inca of Peru. Huaina Capac died at Quito, and left to
Atahualpa all that territory which had formerly belonged to the Quitu;
and to Huascar the remaining part of the empire, on condition that
Atahualpa should do homage to his brother Huascar, as legitimate
descendant of the Sun.

The disappointment of Huascar at finding a brother whom he had
considered a bastard thus elevated, made him determine on his
destruction; but he first procured a delay which might allow him to
assemble his troops, and at the same time to probe the intention of
Atahualpa. He therefore sent a messenger to inform him, that by the will
of their father, he and his kingdom were tributary to the Inca of Cusco;
and that, as he intended, so soon as the great feast held on the day on
which the sun passed the zenith of Cusco was over, to extend his
conquests to the southward, he required a certain number of armed men
from Quito, as a tributary quota. Atahualpa perceived the drift of the
subterfuge, and determined to avail himself of this opportunity to
forward his own views, and to acquire to himself the sole sovereignty,
which he perceived was the aim of his brother. He sent a considerable
force, with orders not to enter Cusco, but to remain in the
neighbourhood, and to conduct themselves as men sent to assist Huascar
in his future conquests; but on the day of the great festival, to enter
the city, and when all were employed in the religious rites of the day,
to possess themselves of the Inca, and to bring him as his prisoner.
Atahualpa, with another army, proceeded to Caxamarca, to await the
result of the expedition sent to Cusco; they succeeded in taking
Huascar; and the imperial insignia, a red tassel, which the Inca always
wore on solemn occasions, hanging on his forehead, was sent to
Atahualpa, who was now considered as Inca of Peru.

At this time the Spaniards had landed in Peru, at Tumbes, and after
possessing themselves, not without great opposition on the part of the
natives, of that place, Pizarro began his march towards the south.
Atahualpa was at Caxamarca, and his brother Huascar prisoner at
Andamarca, about forty leagues from Pachacamac. Atahualpa immediately
sent his brother Titu Atanchi as his ambassador to Pizarro, with most
magnificent presents, including two golden bracelets worn only by the
Incas, to welcome the arrival of the Viracochas, to solicit their
protection, and to invite them to visit him at Caxamarca. Huascar at the
same time, although a prisoner, found means to send his ambassadors to
Pizarro, informing him of the situation in which he was placed by
Atahualpa, and craving his protection.

Pizarro now found himself the arbiter of the fate of two monarchs, both
soliciting his friendship and protection, and each alleging his own
right to the empire of Peru; but Pizarro determined that it should not
belong to either of them, and the only thing that engrossed his
attention was the safest and easiest means of possessing himself of the
treasures of both. He therefore determined to go first to Caxamarca,
judging that the reigning Inca would be in possession of the greater
wealth, and Hernando Pizarro was afterwards sent to Pachacamac.

Francisco Pizarro pushed forward to Caxamarca, where he arrived with a
hundred and sixty soldiers. At this time Atahualpa was at the baths, and
Pizarro sent to him as his ambassadors his brother Hernando Pizarro and
Hernando de Soto, and as interpreter an indian named Felipe, a native
of the Puná island, in the Guayaquil river; these were accompanied by
two hundred noble indians, appointed by the Curaca of Caxamarca to
attend on them; Atahualpa being informed of the approach of the two
Spaniards, ordered one of his generals to form his troops and do them
the honors due to the children of the Sun. On their arrival at the
palace they were immediately presented to Atahualpa, who embraced them,
and said, "welcome, great Viracochas, to these my regions!" and having
two seats covered with gold brought in, he ordered them to sit down.
Atahualpa then, speaking to his courtiers, said, "behold the
countenance, the figure, and the dress of our god, the same which
appeared to my antecessor Inca Viracocha, and whose arrival was also
predicted by my father, Huaina Capac." A species of wine was brought,
and the Inca taking one of the golden goblets, the other was given to
Herando Pizarro, to whom the Inca bowed, and drank a small quantity,
giving the goblet to his brother Titu Atanchi, who drank the remainder;
two more were then brought, and the Inca taking one, sent the other to
Soto, to whom he bowed, and drank a little of the beverage, and gave the
goblet to his other brother, Choquehuaman. Different kinds of fruit
were then presented to the ambassadors, of which they partook with

Hernando de Soto rose, bowed to Atahualpa, resumed his seat, and
delivered his embassy, stating, that "in this world there were two most
potent princes, the one was the high Pontiff of Rome, Vicar-general to,
and representative of God on earth, who governed his church and taught
his divine law. The other was Charles V. Emperor of the Romans and King
of Spain. These two monarchs," said Soto, "being informed of the blind
idolatry of your highness and all your subjects, have sent our Governor
and Captain-general Don Francisco Pizarro, his companions, and some
priests, the ministers of God, to teach your highness and your vassals
the divine truths of our holy religion, and to establish with your
highness everlasting relationship, concord and peace."

To this harangue, interpreted by Felipe, the Inca answered to the
following effect:--"Divine men, I am most heartily glad that you and
your companions have arrived at these regions during the days of my
life, for your arrival has fulfilled the vaticination of my forefathers,
but my soul is sorrowful, because others must also be now fulfilled;
notwithstanding, Viracochas, I welcome ye as the missioners of our God,
and hope that the changes prophesied by my father, Huaina Capac, and now
about to take place, will lead to the good of myself and my people; it
was on this account that neither I nor my captains have opposed your
progress, as the natives of Puná and Tumpis did, because we believe you
to be the children of our great God Viracocha, and messengers of the
eternal all-creating Pachacamac--in obedience to our laws, and to the
orders and injunctions of my father, we have received ye, and will serve
and worship ye; but have pity on me and on my people, whose affliction
or death would be more distressing to me than my own."

Pizarro and Soto begged leave to retire to their own camp at Caxamarca,
and Atahualpa embraced them, and said, that he should soon follow them,
to enjoy the company of the children of his God, Viracocha, the
messengers of the great Pachacamac. When the two Spaniards had mounted
their horses, presents of gold were carried to them by several noble
indians, who begged of their divinities to receive those humble marks of
their respect and adoration. Pizarro and Soto then repaired to Caxamarca
with their rich presents, astonished at the enormous quantities of gold
which they had seen at the palace of Atahualpa.

On the following day, Pizarro placed his cavalry, composed of sixty
men, on each side of the square of Caxamarca, behind some high walls: in
the centre of the square he had built a small breastwork, behind which
he placed his two field-pieces, and behind these he stationed his
infantry, a hundred men, and thus awaited the arrival of the Inca.

Atahualpa made his appearance on a throne of gold, carried on the
shoulders of his courtiers and favourites, with a guard of eight
thousand of his soldiers in front, eight thousand on each side, and
eight thousand more in the rear, besides an immense number of nobles and
attendants. The troops were commanded by Rumiñavi, who advanced in
front, and acted as herald. Friar Vicente Valverde stepped forward a
short distance in front of the Spanish infantry, holding a cross of palm
leaves in his right hand, and waited the arrival of Atahualpa, who was
surprized to see a figure so different from the strangers whom he had
seen the preceding day; and being informed by Felipe, the interpreter,
that Valverde was the captain of words, and the guide to the supreme
Pachacamac, and his messenger, Atahualpa approached, when Valverde began
his most extraordinary harangue, requesting Felipe to translate it to
the Inca as he proceeded to deliver it.

"Know, most famous and most powerful Inca, that it is necessary and
requisite that thou and thine be taught the true Catholic faith, and
that ye now hear and believe what follows.

"First, that God, trinity in unity, created the heavens and the earth,
and all things in and on them; that he will reward the good with life
everlasting, and the bad with interminable punishment. This God created
man out of the dust of this earth, and gave him a soul, which is the
likeness of God himself; so that every man has a body and a soul.

"The first man was called Adam, whose children we all are. This Adam
sinned against the commandment of his Creator, and in him all men that
have been born, and that shall be born, sinned also; excepting Jesus
Christ, who is the Son of God, and the Virgin Mary, who came to redeem
us from the bondage of sin, and at last died on a cross that we might
live. The cross was like unto this which I hold in my hand and show to
thee, that thou with all Christians may adore and reverence it.

"Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and after living again on earth the
space of forty days, he went up into heaven, and sat himself down on
the right hand of his Father; he left on earth his Apostles, who left
their successors to teach the true religion, and guide all men to

"Saint Peter was appointed the prince of the Apostles and the vicar of
Christ, and after him his successors the Pontiffs of Rome, whom the
Christians call Popes, who have the authority of Christ on earth, and
who always have and do preach to, and teach all men the word of God.

"Whereas the Pope who is now living on this earth, knowing that the
people of these countries did not serve the true God, but worshipped
idols and the likenesses of the devil, hath determined to bring them to
the true knowledge of religion, and he hath given the conquest of these
countries to Charles V. Emperor of the Romans, the most powerful King of
Spain, and Monarch of all the earth, to the end that he, having
subjected to himself all these people, their kings and lords, and
destroyed all rebels, may reign and govern all these nations alone, and
bring them to the knowledge of God and to obey his church. Our most
powerful King, although employed in the government of his great kingdoms
and provinces, accepted the gift of the Pope, for the sake of the health
of these people, and has sent his captains and soldiers to execute his
will, as they have done in former times, in the conquest of the great
islands and countries of Mexico, having overcome them with his powerful
arms, and brought them to the true religion of Jesus Christ, which he
was ordered by God to oblige them to embrace.

"Wherefore the great Emperor Charles V. appointed as his lieutenant and
ambassador Don Francisco Pizarro, who is here present, that these the
kingdoms of your highness may receive the like benefits; as also to form
a perpetual confederation, alliance, and friendship, between his majesty
and your highness, in such manner, that your highness and your kingdoms
may become tributary to him, that is, by paying tribute ye may become
his subjects; also that you may surrender to him every part of your
territory, and renounce the administration and government of it, in the
same manner as other kings and lords have done. This is the first
condition: the second is, that peace and friendship being established,
and you subjected either by will or by force, shall truly obey the Pope,
and receive and believe the faith of our God, Jesus Christ, and despise
and totally abjure the abominable superstition of your idols; you will
then soon observe how holy our religion is, and how false your own,
which was invented by the devil. All this, oh King! if you believe, you
must freely surrender yourself, because, to you and yours, it is of
great importance; and if you object to it, know that you will be
persecuted with a war of destruction: all your idols shall be thrown
down upon the ground, and we will force you with the sword to abandon
your false religion, whether ye will or not; and you _shall_ receive our
Catholic faith, and you _shall_ pay tribute to our king. Should you
obstinately resist this, believe me, that God will permit, as he
formerly did when Pharaoh and his host perished in the Red Sea, that you
and all your indians perish by the edge of our swords."

Felipe, the interpreter of this discourse, was a native of the Puná,
where the Quichua language generally spoken in Peru was not understood;
and what little he knew of it he had learnt of some Peruvians, who at
different times had visited his native island. The Spanish that he spoke
he had acquired during the time he had lived among the soldiers whom he
served; thus it cannot be expected that he gave to Atahualpa a faithful
translation of this absurd harangue, equally filled with
incomprehensible matter, furious bombast, and unjust threats; indeed
many mistakes are recorded, such as one God, trinity in unity, which he
translated one God, and three, four Gods; that God made dust of man on
the earth, which they could not possibly understand; and many other like
passages were rendered equally ridiculous. The impossibility of
translating the words trinity, unity, Jesus Christ, Virgin Mary, Roman
Pontiff, Emperor of the Romans, &c. is quite obvious, for they could
bear no translation at all, and a description of their meaning was as
much above the powers of Felipe, and perhaps of Valverde himself to
explain, as the comprehension of Atahualpa to understand, who now for
the first time heard that such things did exist.

When Atahualpa had heard the conclusion of this rodomontade fulminated
by Father Valverde, he sighed, and said, "ah! atay"--ah! how hard; and
after a short pause, he addressed himself thus to Valverde: "I should
feel happy, although every other request were denied me, if one were but
granted: procure a better interpreter, that I may be enabled to
understand what you have said; and that you may be better informed of
what I wish to say. I make this request, because I am certain that this
meeting ought to produce other things than what this fellow has repeated
to me. From what I have heard, it appears that you have come to destroy
the race of the Incas, and put to the sword all the indians who do not
understand you. If you are the ministers of vengeance of Pachacamac, and
come to destroy me and mine, fulfil his orders--none of us fear death,
and the vaticination of my father brings us to meet you unarmed.

"Your interpreter has informed me of five great men, whom I wish to
know, God, trinity in unity, four gods; Adam, on whom all men threw
their sins; Jesus Christ, the only man that did not assist in loading
Adam; Pope, Roman Pontiff; and Carlos Quinto, King of all the world; but
he tells me, that I am to give my country and my people, and pay tribute
to Carlos, and not to any of the other four. I am also told, that I must
abjure my religion, and believe in Jesus Christ, who died. If this be
true, I cannot forget the great Pachacamac, who made our God, the sun,
immortal, unless I learn who has told you what I have heard from your

This answer was translated by Felipe in short sentences, as Atahualpa
spoke them; who perceiving the ignorance of Felipe, endeavoured by this
method to prevent a misconstruction of his words. On hearing the last
question, Valverde gave his breviary to Atahualpa, and told him through
Felipe, that that book informed him of all that he wanted to know
respecting the true God. The Inca folded over the leaves, examined the
book, placed it against his ear and listened, then said, "it is false,
it cannot and does not speak," when he let it fall. At this, Valverde
cried out, "to arms, Christians! these infidel dogs have insulted the
minister of your Redeemer, the word of God is thrown under
foot--revenge! revenge!"

The soldiers immediately rushed on their unsuspecting victims; Pizarro
flew to Atahualpa, well aware that the preservation of his life was of
the utmost importance; but upwards of twenty thousand indians fell,
before the fury of the Spanish soldiery could be restrained, or their
more than barbarous thirst for blood was glutted. During this scene of
horror, the afflicted Atahualpa exhorted his people to resign themselves
to the will of Pachacamac, which he himself was willing to do, and not
to lift up their hands against the Viracochas; thus, he exclaimed, will
the vaticination of my forefathers be fulfilled.

What a contrast! a minister of the meek, the blessed Jesus, the Saviour
of the Gentiles, calling on an unfeeling soldiery to satiate their
blood-thirsty cruelty in murdering those very people whom his divine
master said that he came to redeem! while a king and a father beholds
the carnage of his people, and his children, and bows his head to the
believed decree of his God, and the prophecy of his forefathers! Here
the Christian calls aloud, "crucify him! crucify him!" while the pious
Gentile seems to say, "forgive them, Father, for they know not what they

Pizarro and a soldier, called Miguel Astete, arrived at the same moment
close to the throne of Atahualpa, when Pizarro caught hold of the robes
of the Inca, and dragged him to the ground; Astete plucked the red
tassel from his forehead, and kept it till the year 1557, when he
delivered it to the Inca Sayritupac. After the slaughter, the Spanish
soldiers proceeded to plunder, and while Pizarro was attentive to secure
the Inca, part of his troops proceeded to the baths, where Atahualpa
resided, and possessed themselves of all the gold and silver which they
could find: the weight of gold taken at the baths, and accounted for,
amounted to fifteen thousand ounces.

Atahualpa was directly removed to a room in his own palace at Caxamarca,
and loaded with irons. Pizarro immediately sent his brother Hernando to
visit Huascar in his prison, and to endeavour to secure the treasure
that he might be possessed of; but whether the indians belonging to
Atahualpa, who had heard of the situation of their Inca, suspected that
Pizarro intended to put Atahualpa to death, and place Huascar on the
throne; or whether Hernando Pizarro endeavoured to deprive the guard of
their prisoner, is uncertain; but some misunderstanding having taken
place, an indian struck Huascar with his axe, of which wound he
immediately died.

Atahualpa having observed that the Spaniards were more covetous of gold
than of any thing which his kingdom produced, proposed to Pizarro a
ransom for himself; standing on his feet, he raised his hand, and
placing it on the wall, he said, "to this mark will I fill this room
with vessels of gold, if you will free me from these chains and from
this prison." To this Pizarro agreed, and messengers were sent to Quito,
Cusco, and different parts of the country, for the purpose of collecting
the gold and sending it to Caxamarca. Some of the Spanish officers went
with the messengers of Atahualpa, and when they returned they described
the number of indians which the country contained, and the universal
obedience to the Inca in such terms, that they fancied a general rising
would take place, and instead of gold, they would bring their arms and
put all the Spaniards to death; that Atahualpa had deceived them, and
was a traitor, and as such ought to be punished. Pizarro opposed this
for some time, till an accident occurred which touched his pride, and
made Atahualpa personally odious to him. Some of the Spanish officers
had written the word God on the hand of the Inca, and when he shewed it
to any one, the person would point upwards; at length he shewed it to
Pizarro, who could neither read nor write, and was therefore unable to
make any sign of the meaning of the word. Atahualpa was surprised, and
Pizarro was abashed; his feelings were wounded, and he began to hate the
man who had discovered him to be more ignorant than his inferiors.
Atahualpa began to forebode his doom, and became dejected; his own
servants were not permitted to wait on him; their places were supplied
with indians who had attached themselves to the Spanish camp; some of
whom were unacquainted with the Quichua language, had never been the
vassals of Atahualpa, and all of them were inclined to insult him.

The indians began to arrive from different parts, bringing with them the
gold which they had been assured would ransom their captive monarch;
but that which by them was destined to save his life was changed by his
cruel masters into the cause of his death. From the number of indians
who arrived daily, the Spaniards began to fear a revolution in favour of
their prisoner: they had already received an enormous quantity of gold;
Huascar was dead, and Pizarro presumed, that by securing to himself the
possession of the country, he should consequently become master of the
treasures which it contained. He therefore determined to bring Atahualpa
to trial; for which purpose, he constituted himself president of the
court, and nominated the other members. The following is a copy of the
charges exhibited against the unfortunate Atahualpa, on the baseness of
which all comment is unnecessary--the mere reading must draw from every
sympathizing heart detestation of the inhuman proposer and promoter.

That Huaina Capac having had several wives, and Huascar Inca, being the
first-born of his Empress Rava Ocllo, was the legitimate heir to the
empire, and Atahualpa not the son of Huaina Capac, but the bastard of
some indian of Quito. That Atahualpa did not inherit the empire
according to the will of his father, but was an usurper and a tyrant;
and that Huascar was the lawful Inca, according to the will of his
father and the right of inheritance. That Huascar had been murdered by
order of Atahualpa, after the arrival of the Spaniards. That Atahualpa
was an idolater, and obliged his vassals to sacrifice human beings to
his idols. That Atahualpa had waged unjust wars, and thereby murdered
many indians. That Atahualpa had kept many concubines. That Atahualpa
had recovered, spent, and lavished in excesses the tributes of the
empire, after the Spaniards had taken possession of it, giving to his
relations and friends treasure belonging to the public funds. That
Atahualpa had, during his imprisonment, advised his captains and indians
to rebel against the Spaniards, and put them to death, for which purpose
he had mustered a considerable force of armed indians.

After this shameful libel had been read to the court by Sancho de
Cuellar, Pizarro stated, that all those who should now attempt to defend
the life of Atahualpa were traitors to the crown of Castile and to the
Emperor, their master, and might be justly accused of opposing the
increase of his kingdom and revenue. That the death of the tyrant
Atahualpa would secure to Castile an empire, and to all present their
lives and fortunes. That if any one opposed his death, it should be
reported to his Majesty, that he might reward his faithful servants, and
punish those who endeavoured to deprive him of his right. After this
diabolical harangue, it is almost unnecessary to say, that the
unfortunate Atahualpa was sentenced to death.

Atahualpa was immediately informed of his fate, and told, that if he
were baptized, he would be put to an honourable death, such as was
inflicted on noblemen in all civilized countries; but if he refused to
receive this sacrament, he would be burnt to death: hearing this, he
desired Friar Vicente Valverde to baptize him: the friar complied with
the request, and called him Juan Atahualpa. He was then led out to the
place of execution, in front of his own palace, where he was tied to a
pole, and strangled; and his body received Christian burial on the spot
where he was murdered, notwithstanding his last request--that he might
be carried to Quito, and buried in the tomb of his forefathers.

Pizarro attended the execution of his prisoner, afterwards wore mourning
for him, and ordered his exequies to be performed with all possible
pomp. It may perhaps be satisfactory to some of my readers to mention
here, that Pizarro was afterwards murdered by his own countrymen at
Lima; and Father Valverde, by the Indians of Quispicancha. According to
Zarate, the treasure which had been brought for the ransom of Atahualpa,
and which fell into the hands of Pizarro, amounted to four hundred and
ninety-eight thousand ounces of fine silver, and one million five
hundred and ninety-one ounces of gold.

The places in Caxamarca worthy the notice of a visitor, as having been
connected with the fate of Atahualpa, are a large room, part of the old
palace, and now the residence of the Cacique Astopilco, where this
ill-fated monarch was kept a prisoner for the space of three months, or
from the first day of his meeting Pizarro to the day on which he was
murdered by order of that general; in this room also is the mark which
he made on the wall, promising to fill it to that height with silver and
gold as a ransom. In the chapel belonging to the common gaol, which was
formerly part of the palace, the altar stands on the stone on which
Atahualpa was placed by the Spaniards and strangled, and under which he
was buried. Near the fountain in the plasa are still visible the
foundation stones of the small battery erected by Pizarro, in the front
of which Valverde delivered his famous harangue to the Inca, and whence
he commanded the Spanish soldiers to massacre the indians. About a
league from the city are the baths where Atahualpa was living when
Pizarro arrived; the one on the right hand is called the bath of the
Inca. Near to the baths there is also a farm house belonging (1812) to
Doña Mercedes Arce, where there are many ruins of what appears to have
been a granary or store belonging to the Inca; here are many
excavations, in some of which there are marks on the stones of one
thousand, two thousand, &c.--this has induced some people to search for
treasure, but none has ever yet been found. At the distance of two
leagues from Caxamarca is a stone called _inga rirpo_, resting stone of
the Inca; it is similar to the one described by M. Humboldt, which he
saw at the _Paramo de Asuay_, which is called inga _chungana_, Inca's
resting place. The inga rirpo, near to Caxamarca, is a large block of
freestone, eleven feet long, two feet eight inches high above the
ground, and thirteen inches thick; it has two grooves cut across it near
to the centre, four inches deep, and five inches wide; here are also the
remains of a circular enclosure surrounding it eight yards in diameter;
it stands on the _Camino del Inca_, the military road on which the Incas
travelled from Cusco to Quito. The site of this resting stone commands
a most beautiful prospect of the valley of Caxamarca. The tradition of
the indians is, that the Inca used to be brought here to enjoy the
prospect, and that the two grooves in the stone were made, that the
cross ledges of his throne on which he was carried might rest secure in


     Province of Caxamarca....Manufactures, Mines....Village de Jesus
     ....Hawking....Farm of Lagunilla....Inga Tambo....Village of San
     Marcos....Feast....Wedding....Village of Ichocan....Mine of
     Gualgayoc....Return to the Coast....Village of Chocope....Of San
     Pedro....Of Las Lagemas....Of Monsefu....Town of Lambayeque....
     Inhabitants, Buildings, New Altar....Manufactures, Soap, Cordovans,
     Cotton Goods, Sweetmeats....Fruits, Grain, Pulse....Vegetables....
     Market...._Algarroba_, Carob Tree....Village of Eten....Of Morrope
     ...._Simarones_....Desert of Sechura....Town of Sechura....City of
     Piura....Inhabitants, Buildings....Mules....Manufactures....Climate
     ....Effect on Syphilis....Commerce....Port of Paita....Excellent
     Situation for an Astronomical Observatory.

The province of Caxamarca is intersected by ramifications of the
Cordillera; and having several low valleys, it consequently contains the
various climates or temperatures, from extreme heat to intense cold:
thus all kinds of fruit and grain peculiar to different climates are
cultivated in this province: it abounds, also, in all kinds of cattle
and poultry; and many obrages, manufactories of cloth, baizes, blankets,
and tocuyos have been established here.

The most extensive manufactories for woollen cloths are Polloc and
Sondor, belonging (1812) to Don Tomas Bueno; and that for blankets, at
Yana-cancha, belonging, at the same date, to Don Miguel Sarachaga. The
blankets are very tastefully embroidered by the Indians, with loose
yarn, before they undergo the operation of fulling, so that the colours
have the appearance of being stamped on them.

Many silver and gold mines exist in this province; but since the
discovery of the rich ores of Gualgayoc, in the neighbouring province of
Chota, the mines of Caxamarca have been abandoned. On the shores of the
river called de las Crisnejas, which falls into the Marañon, are several
washing places, _lavaderos_, of gold. On the north side of the province,
where it joins that of Jaen, some bark trees are found, the produce of
which is little inferior to the famous cinchona of Loxa.

During my stay at Caxamarca I visited several of the towns and villages;
that called de Jesus, five leagues from the city, is an indian village,
pleasantly situated in a small valley bounded by high mountains, at the
foot of which on the north side runs the Caxamarca river; on the side of
this river several water mills have been erected for grinding wheat, an
abundance of which is cultivated in the neighbourhood. While at this
place I several times visited my friend Don Tomas Arce, for the purpose
of accompanying him to take partridges with falcons; with two of these
birds and a springer we have often returned, after a few hours' sport,
with five or six brace of partridges of the large red legged kind, but
of a very delicate flavour. We frequently set out in the evening and
slept at some farm house on the hills, and in the morning took each of
us a falcon on our hard gloves and rode to the stubble fields; when the
dog sprang the game, we threw up our falcons, and followed them to the
place where they fell with their prey in their talons; this we could
easily discover by the sound of the bells fastened to the legs of the
falcon. We generally gave to our birds the brains of the partridges
which they had killed, then took them on our arms, and mounted to search
for more game. As the country abounds in _venados_, deer, Don Tomas had
trained a falcon to pursue them; he stuffed the skin of one of these
animals, in the eye pits of which he accustomed the bird to search for
its food; he sometimes placed the stuffed skin on the shoulders of a
boy, who ran away with it, when the falcon was allowed to follow him in
quest of its food. In this easy manner the falcon was trained to catch
deer, and it afforded us a great deal of amusement by flying after the
animal and perching on its head; this gave us time to come up and secure
the brute with a laso, or to kill it.

I had been convinced, before I visited this province, that the character
of the South American indians was far different from what it had been
reported to be by all the Spanish writers, excepting the virtuous Las
Casas: otherwise, I should have been astonished at what I saw at this
village, where the indians have had but little intercourse with the
Spaniards, compared with those of whom Ulloa and Condamine so
contemptuously speak. Many festivals are observed at this village by the
indians; and although the Spanish language is little used, and the
Quichua alone is spoken, two, three, or more Spanish plays are performed
by them at each festival, amounting to, at least, twenty in each year.
This fondness for theatrical performances, which the indians evince--the
difficulty they labour under to learn their parts, in a language not
their own--beside the expences incidental to the representations, must
certainly prove that the aspersions of historians are unmerited.

Near to this village is a farm, called la Lagunilla, on which are the
remains of an indian town, most curiously built; many of the houses are
yet entire; they are all built of stone, and surround a small rock or
mountain, which is situated in a valley: the bottom tier or range of
rooms have walls of an amazing thickness, in which I have measured
stones twelve feet long and seven feet high, forming the whole side of a
room, with one or more large stones laid across, which serve as a roof.
Above these houses another tier was built in the same manner, on the
back of which are the entrances or doorways, and a second row had their
backs to the mountain. The roofs of the second tier in front had been
covered with stone, and probably formed a promenade; a second tier of
rooms thus rested on the roofs of the first tier, which were on a level
with the second front tier. In this manner one double tier of dwelling
rooms was built above another to the height of seven tiers. On the top
are many ruins, apparently of a palace or fortress.

When I first visited this place, I imagined that the rooms were
excavations in the rock; but I was very soon convinced that the whole
had been built, and I was astonished at contemplating such immense
labour, the real purpose of which is now unknown. The rooms are seldom
more than about twelve feet square and seven feet high, with a high
door-way in front, narrower at the top than at the bottom; the stone
has been wrought for the fronts into irregular sized squares, which are
cemented together. Some of the thick walls are formed of two casings of
stone, and the interstice is filled up with small stones and pebbles,
held together with well tempered reddish clay, which at present forms so
solid a mass, that it is almost equal to stone. The cement used to hold
the stones together, was, doubtless, tempered clay; but so little was
used, that some have imagined that the stones were merely placed one
upon another; in this surmise, however, they were evidently mistaken.

The whole of this building would have contained at least five thousand
families; but we are not certain that it was ever applied to that
purpose. Some traditions call it one of the palaces, or houses of
reception, for the Incas when they travelled; but this is by no means
probable, for it does not stand within a league of the great road of the
Incas, and being only five leagues from Caxamarca, it is not likely that
such an edifice would have been built for such a purpose. Others state,
that it was the general granary for this part of the country in the time
of the Incas; but this is also subject to the same objections; for, as I
have already mentioned, the remains of one exist on the farm belonging
to Doña Mercedes Arce, near to Caxamarca; and the ruins of all those
granaries which I have seen at different places are a kind of cisterns,
walled round either with adobes or rough hewn stones. It appears to me
as far more probable, that this was the residence of the Chimu of
Chicama, when he resided in the interior of his territory, before it
became subject to the Inca Pachacutec. The top of the mountain appears
to have been covered with buildings of a superior kind to the rest; for
some of the foundations may be traced, enclosing rooms and courts more
extensive than are to be found in any other part of this mass of
buildings. There are four principal roads leading from the bottom to the
top, corresponding with the four cardinal points; and from each of these
roads or streets the inhabitants could walk on the tops of their houses
to the next, and probably round the whole by bridges laid across the
intersecting roads; so that seven promenades were thus formed, besides
the six circular streets. The proprietor of this estate, Don Tomas
Bueno, fancied that it was the remains of an ancient temple, and
supposed that a great treasure was somewhere hidden; but I never could
persuade him to cut an adit through it in search of the huaca. Here are
no remains of delicate sculpture, although a few arabesques may be seen
on some of the stones; nor is there any appearance of elegant
architecture, for which the ancient Greeks and Romans were so famous.
However, the immense ingenuity of the builders in conveying and placing
such huge masses of stone in such a situation, as well as the extracting
them from the quarries without machinery, and shaping them without iron
tools, must astound the contemplating beholder of these ruins, and make
him blush at hearing the builders called barbarians. Such epithets are
equally applicable to the Egyptians, on viewing their rude ancient
monuments; but we feel conscious that these people were in possession of
the arts and sciences when our forefathers in Europe were in a state of
barbarity; we consider, too, that from their plantations the first
scions were brought to Greece and Italy, and that these exotics were
afterwards transplanted into our own country.

Near to these ruins is a small lake, _laguna_, from which the estate
derives its name; it is of an oval figure, the transverse axis being
nine hundred yards, and the conjugate six hundred and fifty. One side of
the lake rests on the foot of the mountains, which separate the farm
from the valley of Caxamarca, on the opposite side of which mountains
the river runs. An excavation or tunnel is cut through one of these
mountains, through which the water of the lake is discharged into the
river, when it rises nearly to a level with the surrounding land, and
thus a flooding of it is prevented. This lake was probably the quarry
whence the stone was taken for the building just described, and the
passage was probably opened at the same time by the indians, to prevent
the water from deluging the low lands, which bespeaks that attention to
economy so evident in the establishments of the ancient Peruvians.

The farm house here, with all the stables and other buildings, are of
stone, brought from the _Tambo del Inca_, as the ruins are called: all
the yards are paved with the same, and they have a very neat and clean
appearance; however, I could not help wishing that the stones had
remained undisturbed in their former interesting situation; but many
have also been carried, for the same purposes, to different places.

I visited the town of San Marcos, eight leagues from Caxamarca; it is
most delightfully situated in a very fruitful valley, enjoying all the
benefits of a tropical climate, and affording a rich variety of fruits:
the apples, peaches, and other European fruits, are found in great
perfection, as well as oranges, lemons, paltas, bananas, plantains, &c.
My visit to this town happened at the time of the annual festival; on
this account I was entertained with bull fights, indian dancers, and the
representation of theatrical pieces; the town was full of visitors from
the neighbouring country, and every countenance bore a smile of
satisfaction, while mirth and pleasure appeared to reign in every

I was present in the parish church, which is a large neat brick and
stone building, very much ornamented within, at the celebration of the
wedding of a son and daughter of two Caciques, the boy being eleven
years old, and the girl thirteen. When they left the church, after the
ceremony was over, they ran in different directions, the boy to play
with his comrades, and the girl to join hers, as if they had merely been
at church as spectators, and not the parties concerned. I afterwards
asked the cura how it happened, that two such thoughtless children
should be married? He answered me, "_por rason de estado_," giving me to
understand, that as they were both of noble origin, their parents had
married them at that age to prevent them marrying with their inferiors.
The principal benefit derived from preserving the nobility of the
families is, their children being admissible into the colleges, and to
the three learned bodies, divinity, law, and physic.

Two leagues from San Marcos stands the village of Ichocan, on the top of
an eminence, consequently its climate is very cold; the cura here was an
indian, and from his corpulency might be known, according to an adage in
Peru, that he was a Cacique; for when a person is very jolly, it is
generally said, that he is as fat as a Cacique, _tan gordo como un
Cacique_. This cura was for some time the vicar of the province, and was
looked upon as an oracle in Latinity and Theology. He was a very
cheerful companion, possessed an extensive library of Latin, Greek,
English, and French books, which he had studied; and was more acquainted
with general science than any other person I met with in this part of

The produce of the parish of Ichocan is confined almost entirely to
wheat, but it is considered the best, and fetches the highest price of
any in the whole district; it sells on an average for from three to
three and a half dollars the _fanega_, which is nearly three bushels. I
afterwards visited several other villages; but a description of them
would only be tedious and uninteresting. The natives of this province
are noted for industry and hospitality; the population of indians at the
time of the conquest was very extensive, forming upwards of five hundred
settlements; but they are now reduced to forty-six.

The capital of the province is so situated, that it is likely to become
an important commercial town; it is now the great market for this
province, as well as for those of Chota, Chachapoyas, and Guallubamba.
Eighteen leagues from Caxamarca is the celebrated silver mine called
Gualgayoc, which, from the slovenly manner in which it has been wrought,
produces but little good ore at present (1812); although ten years ago
it was considered superior to the celebrated mine at Pasco: quantities
of ore were extracted from the two shafts called _la mina del rey_, and
_la del purgatorio_, which yielded a hundred and forty marks per caxon
of fifty quintals.

I left Caxamarca and returned to Truxillo, and thence proceeded along
the coast to the northward. My first stage of eleven leagues was to
Chocope, a neat village containing about forty houses, chiefly inhabited
by white families; it stands on a part of the valley of Chicama. In the
year 1746 this village was totally ruined by rain, which continued for
thirty-four successive nights. The sky was clear during the day from
sunrise to sunset, at which time it began to rain; and as such a
phenomenon was totally unexpected, and the houses constructed of
materials unable to resist it, the whole of the village was destroyed.
In 1748 it rained in the same manner for eleven nights; but since that
period there has been no repetition of so destructive an occurrence, nor
is there any record of a similar one before that time on this or any
other part of the Peruvian coast, from 18° to 4° of latitude. It is also
extraordinary, that this rain did not extend six leagues either to the
north or to the south.

My next stage of thirteen leagues brought me to San Pedro, after passing
a small village called Payjan. San Pedro is composed of about a hundred
and fifty houses, of _baxareque_, canes cased with clay: it is a parish
belonging to the order of Augustin friars, who have a small convent
here. The population is composed principally of indians, whose chief
occupation is the cultivation of the lands in the valley of the same
name, which is watered by the river Pacasmayo, and produces most
abundant crops of wheat; it was formerly considered to be the granary of
Lima; but after the earthquake in 1687 the crops entirely failed for
almost twenty years; since which period the land has again resumed its
usual fertility. This circumstance has been already mentioned when
speaking of Lima and la Barranca. At this time the Peruvians began to
send their vessels to Chile for wheat, which commerce has been
constantly kept up ever since, and to which Chile is indebted for many
comforts among the lower classes, and for many rich capitals among the
higher. The indians of San Pedro are particularly cleanly in their
persons and houses; but I had been told that their chicha was mascada,
chewed; and although the natives assured me that they had of both kinds,
I was fearful of being deceived--I did not wish to have a second-hand or
rather a second-mouthed beverage, so I drank water. The indians appeared
here to be perfectly comfortable and happy; and as their allotments of
land produced them a reasonable competency, they seemed to be a people
almost independent of their conquerors.

The next stage brought me to las Lagunas, a distance of nine leagues,
having forded on the road the river Xequetepeque, about half a league
below the village of the same name. Las Lagunas, the lakes, is a low
swampy country, formed by the overflowings of the river Saña; the small
lakes which are formed are filled with wild ducks, some of which are of
a most beautiful plumage, and very delicate eating. Here are only a few
huts, partly for the accommodation of travellers, and partly the
residence of fishermen, who catch large quantities of very fine lisas,
and dry them for sale; these are so very delicate when grilled, that
travellers look forward to their arrival at Lagunas to eat them. Five
leagues from this place is the village of Monsefu, which is a remarkably
handsome place; the houses are very neatly built, with wide corridors in
front, and whitewashed; several small streams of water cross the
principal street; these are employed in irrigating the gardens and the
orchards, which are attached to almost all the houses, and which produce
most excellent grapes, quinces, pomegranates and other fruits, both
European and tropical, particularly _cambures_, which are very small
bananas, and are equal in flavour to the most delicate ripe pears. After
dining here on _gualdrapas_, goat's flesh, taken from the upper part of
the neck, slightly salted and dried, and which is very similar to
venison, we proceeded to Lambayeque, travelling through a wood of
_algarrobas_, carob trees, for more than three leagues.

Lambayeque is the capital of the province, and the residence of the
Subdelegado; it has always attracted the attention of travellers, as
being the most populous and the greatest trading town between Lima and
Guayaquil. It is situated about two leagues from the sea, and four from
its sea-port, called Pacasmayo, where the river of this name enters the
Pacific, partly by which river and partly by the river Lambayeque the
town and the surrounding country are watered.

The town of Lambayeque contains upwards of eight thousand inhabitants,
Spanish, creoles, indians, negroes, and mixed breeds, or castes. Some of
the houses are large and commodious; the parish church is of stone; it
is a handsome edifice, and contains many costly ornaments. Attached to
it are four chapels of ease, called _ramadas_; these are so many
parishes of indians, each having a cura, independent of the cura of the
_matris_, or parish church, of the white inhabitants. I was at this town
in 1811, when the first mass was celebrated at the new altar, built at
the expence of Dr. Delgado, and dedicated to _Nuestra Señora del
Carmen_; at this time a most sumptuous feast was held during a whole
week, attended with bull fights, mains of cocks, and horse racing during
the day; with balls, _tertulias_, chit-chat parties, and gambling, at
night; and the whole of the inhabitants seemed entirely devoted to mirth
and pleasure.

The principal manufactures here are soap, cordovans of goats' skins,
cotton cloths, and sweetmeats. From the extensive flocks of goats which
are fed in the algarroba wood which surrounds this town, the tallow is
procured for the soap manufactories, and the alkali is obtained from the
_lico_, salsola, which is found in abundance in this province, as well
as in that of Saña, and the valley of Chicama. The soap is very hard,
and is cut into cakes or small bars, four of which, and sometimes six,
only weigh a pound; the average price is from twenty to twenty-five
dollars the quintal. Its quality is far inferior to that of English
soap, owing particularly to its hardness, and the quantities of
impurities which it contains; notwithstanding which, it is preferred to
any other soap--such is the obstinacy implanted by the habit of using

The skins of the goats are tanned with the bark of the huarango, and
sometimes with that of the algarroba, and the cordovans are of an
excellent quality. These articles have a very extensive sale, which
extends to the whole coast of Peru and many of the provinces in the
interior, as well as to the province of Guayaquil, and to different
parts of the kingdom of Quito.

Quantities of tocuyo, counterpanes, table cloths, napkins and other
articles of cotton, some of which are very fine, are manufactured here,
as well as cotton canvass, or sail cloth; notwithstanding the extent of
these works, all the yarn is spun with the distaff and spindle, so that
all the females of the lower classes find constant employment. The
tocuyos made here are not considered so good, and consequently are not
in such demand as those of Conchucos, but an extensive trade is carried
on in the other articles. Here is an extensive mill for cleaning the
cotton from the seeds, similar to that at Casma, and some large
remittances of cotton have been made from this place to Europe.

The manufacture of sweetmeats consists chiefly of marmalade and jelly,
made from quinces, guavas, and limes. It is packed in chip boxes, each
holding about two pounds, which sell at half a dollar each; they are
sent to Lima, Guayaquil, and other places along the coast. Hats of palm
and _junco_, fine rushes, are made here, and carried to the same markets
as the other manufactures.

Oranges, limes, lemons, grapes, guavas, pacays, melons, paltas,
huanabanas, chirimoyas, anonas, plantains, bananas, pomegranates,
granadialls, tumbos, quinces, pine-apples, and many other fruits grow
here and in the neighbourhood in great abundance, and they are of an
excellent quality; apples, pears, and other European fruits do not
thrive. Wheat, maize, beans, lentils, garbansos, and other pulse, also
yucas, batatas or sweet potatoes, yams, and other esculents, as well as
potatoes and all kinds of culinary vegetables, arrive at great
perfection; hence the market is abundantly supplied with them, as well
as with good beef, fish and poultry; mutton is scarce and not very good,
but the young kid is superior to lamb.

The _algarroba_, carob tree, grows in the vicinity of Lambayeque in
great abundance, and is of such utility, that a law exists to prevent
the owners from cutting them down: they grow to the size of our largest
oaks; the wood is very hard, the leaf small, and the branches bear an
abundance of clusters of pods, about four inches long and three-quarters
of an inch broad, containing five or six black seeds, like small beans.
When ripe the pod is of a brown colour, and has a sweet taste; the
cattle are very fond of it, and become very fat with eating it; the
mules that feed on the carob pods, after a journey to Lima, a hundred
and forty leagues, return apparently fat; but the greatest profit
derived from this valuable tree is from the number of goats which are
annually fed on the pods. These animals reach the lower branches of the
trees themselves, and they are afterwards assisted in procuring their
food by the goatherds, who climb the trees, and beat down the leaves and
pods with long canes. At certain times of the year, when the pods become
scarce, the goats will follow their goatherds any where, without the
need of a driver, as if conscious that their existence depended on the
assistance of their keepers. Some of the goats will become so plump,
that it is not uncommon for one goat to yield a quintal, one hundred
pounds weight, of tallow and fat; for the whole of the fat is separated
from the flesh, this latter being considered of very little value,
excepting that part which covers the bones of the neck, which is eaten
as a delicacy, and is really equal to venison. A considerable share of
superstition belongs to the goatherds, who are indians. They believe
that some men have the power, by witchcraft, to convey the fat of one
flock of goats to another, if care be not taken to prevent them from so
doing; for the prevention of this mischief they have different amulets,
which they tie round the necks or horns of the old goats, especially
those which are called the Captains of the flocks. These charms consist
of shells, beans, and a kind of nutmeg brought from the province of Jaen
de Bracamoros. I was several times entertained by the tales told by the
indians; they would assert, that a flock of fat goats had been placed
under the care of an unskilful goatherd, and that in one night a wizard,
_hichisero_, had deprived them of all their fat, and conveyed it to
another flock, to the astonishment, of particularly one party, who in
the morning found his fat flock reduced to skin and bone, bleating their
lamentations for the loss which they had sustained.

From the pods of the algarroba the indians make chicha, by merely
infusing them in water, straining it, and allowing it to ferment: at the
expiration of three or four days it is very palatable, and if proper
attention were paid to it, I believe that a very delicate wine would be
procured. Small cakes called _arepas_ are sometimes made by the indians
from the pods reduced to powder; they are certainly not unpalatable,
though very coarse.

Five leagues from Lambeyeque is a village called Chiclayo, which is the
neatest and most social place along the whole coast; it contains several
respectable inhabitants, its situation in the valley of Lambayeque is
delightful; the productions and the market are good. It has a small
convent of Franciscans, to which order the curacy belongs.

The trade of Lambayeque, owing to its productions and the industry of
the inhabitants, is very extensive; the neighbouring provinces depend on
its manufactories, and it will undoubtedly become the great mart for the
inland provinces for European goods. Some of the shops and stores are
well stocked with European manufactures, of which the sale is very
extensive; and as its commerce extends to countries of such different
climates, all kinds of useful foreign articles are in considerable
demand. The town of Eten stands on a sandy plain, and is entirely
inhabited by indians; these are the only people who speak the Chimu
dialect which is the original language of the coast of Peru, and so
different from the Quichua, that I could not understand a single word,
nor trace any analogy between them, and beyond the limits of their town
their language is unintelligible. It may very reasonably be expected
that these people possess the true character of the indians; if they do,
it is a very worthy one; they are temperate, industrious and kind; they
do not allow any person except indians to reside among them, and a
traveller is only suffered to remain three days in the town; but the
Alcaldes always take care that he be provided with whatever he may
require. Cotton cloths to a large extent are manufactured here, and the
natives wear nothing that is not made by their own hands; hence many of
them are possessed of considerable wealth, for the sale of their own
goods is very extensive. They differ in their dress from the generality
of the indians; the men wear white jackets and breeches, these having a
slip of red cloth at the knees, in which the button holes are wrought;
the females wear a kind of long black or blue tunic, without sleeves,
girt round the waist; both sexes wear straw hats, and very seldom put on

When I left Lambayeque I was obliged to prepare myself with a guide, and
a spare mule, for water and provisions, as well for ourselves as for the
animals, because we had now to traverse the desert of Sechura, the
largest on the Peruvian coast. We left Lambayeque, and halted the first
night at a small village called Morope, four leagues distant from that
place. The road between these towns is often frequented by robbers, who
are generally runaway slaves, _simarones_, who lurk among the low
brushwood on the road sides, and attack the passengers; they seldom
molest a person if they observe that he is armed, but they plunder the
indians and mountaineers, _serranos_, of their money and goods, and
murders are more frequently committed here than in any part of Peru. A
short time before I passed this way, the police officers and the militia
had apprehended five of these simarones; to effect this they set the
brushwood on fire in several places, and in a short time the whole was
in flames, so that the robbers were actually burnt out of their hiding

Morope contains about ninety houses or huts, ranchos, built of cane
covered with clay, and a thousand inhabitants, all indians. The parish
church is a large neat building, extremely clean, and tastefully
ornamented within. We here filled our calabashes with water, and my
indian guide purchased some maize for the mules; as the chicha here is
mascada, I preferred putting water into my two small calabashes, which I
carried in my saddle bags, _alforjas_.

We left Morope at four o'clock in the afternoon, and arrived before it
was dark at the _Medanos_; these are hills of sand in the form of a
crescent, the convex side being always opposed to the wind, for as it
shifts, the sand is blown up the one side and falls down on the other;
thus these hills are continually changing their size and situation,
flitting from one place to another, to the imminent danger of a
traveller, should his guide be ignorant of the road, for all traces
disappear, by the sand continually drifting along with the wind. If a
guide have any reason to suspect that he is out of the track, he will
alight, take up a handful of the sand and smell to it, because the dung
and urine of the mules that traverse the desert communicate an odour to
the sand along the road, which in other parts it does not possess. About
midnight we met a troop of laden mules, and halted to converse with the
muleteers; we drank some of their chicha, and I invited them to partake
of ours; I had brought some brandy, _aguardiente_, and had no chicha,
but they did not appear to relish it less than they would have done
their countrymen's liquor, for they emptied my bottle. I drank some of
theirs, and ate some sweet cakes, which they called _alfajor_; they were
very good. At parting I told them I was glad I had met them, because it
was a proof that we were not bewildered: that could not happen, said my
guide, for the Cross is our director, pointing to the constellation
behind us in the heavens; and it is not midnight yet, said he, for the
cross leans to yesterday; the two stars at the top and the foot of this
beautiful constellation were not erect in the south.

After travelling about two leagues more, we met a traveller with his
guide, who saluted us with _buen viage_, a good journey to you; morning
is coming, the cross bends to the sea, and I must arrive early at
Morope. This was an excuse for not halting; and we continued our route.
When the first rays of morning began to appear, the air became suddenly
chill, and I put on my poncho; my guide did the same, and said to me,
"the light drives the frosty air from the mountains, _serros_, before
it; it is always cold in the morning in the desert, but this refreshes
us before the sun comes to burn us in the rest of our journey." Whether
this chilly sensation felt at sunrise be merely the result of the
absence of the sun, for it is then the longest period since it set; or
whether it be partly apprehension at beholding the sun again without
feeling the heat which it afterwards communicates, I cannot determine;
but I have universally experienced the effect in tropical climates.
During the whole of this day, we saw nothing save sand and sky; and
although I was accustomed to travel on the coasts of this country, I now
experienced an indescribable dulness and languor; at length, before
night closed, the two steeples of the church at Sechura became visible;
but they had more the appearance of a vessel at sea than of church
steeples. At nine o'clock on the following morning we arrived at the
town of Sechura; I went to the house of the alcalde, and immediately
laid myself down and slept very soundly, being excessively fatigued by a
journey of forty leagues over the most dreary country I had ever

The town of Sechura contains about two hundred and fifty houses, and two
thousand inhabitants, all of whom are indians, equally industrious and
temperate as those of Eten; the men are principally muleteers and
fishermen, the women employ themselves in spinning and weaving cotton.
The church in this town is a surprising edifice; it has two very high
steeples, and a handsome cupola built of brick; it is roofed with cane,
which is covered with clay, and the whole evinces enormous labour, both
in procuring the materials of which it is built, as well as in the
erection of the edifice; it is, indeed, one of those monuments of
industry and labour which must ever attract the attention of travellers.
This is the first town in the jurisdiction of Piura, and all passengers
must present to the alcalde their passports, without which they cannot
obtain either mules or a guide.

I left Sechura immediately after I awoke, and had taken some
refreshment, feeling anxious to arrive at Piura, it being the first town
founded by the Spaniards in South America. After travelling over ten
leagues, all of which is a sandy plain, I arrived at Piura, and
immediately went to the house of a gentleman for whom I had letters; and
although it was near midnight I received a hearty welcome from all the
family, who left their beds to see the stranger.

Although Piura is always accounted the first Spanish settlement in South
America, it is not exactly the same place which Pizarro founded in 1531;
that town stood on the plain of Targasola, at a short distance from the
site of the present city, and from whence it was removed on account of
the insalubrity of the climate. The present city, which is the capital
of the province, was founded by Don Francisco Pizarro, who also built
here the first Christian church in Peru. It contains at present a parish
church, a convent of San Francisco and one of La Merced, and a hospital
under the management of the Bethlemite Friars. The houses are built
either of canes covered with clay, or of sun-dried bricks; and very few
have an upper story. The streets are not paved, and consequently, like
those of Truxillo, they are almost ankle deep in sand and dirt. The
enormous quantity of bugs in the houses is quite a nuisance. The
inhabitants of Piura amount to about nine thousand; they are Spaniards,
white creoles, indians, negroes, and mixed breeds.

Piura is noted for the finest breed of mules in Peru; many are taken to
Truxillo, Lima and other places, both on the coast and in the interior,
for sale; some of them fetch the amazing high price of two hundred and
fifty dollars each. The breed of goats is also very extensive in this
district; in the capital large quantities of soap and leather,
_cordovanes_, are prepared and carried for sale to Guayaquil, Quito,
Cuenca, Panama, and Lima. Some cotton goods are manufactured here, but
not to the same extent as at Lambayeque. The principal occupation of the
men is to attend to their mules, for the services of which there is
great demand, because all the goods landed at Piura are carried by mules
to Lima, a distance of three hundred and eighty leagues, besides which
their own productions are thus transported to that and other places. The
manufacture of cordage from the _maguey_ employs many persons in the
interior of the province, and considerable quantities of this cordage
is consumed by the merchants in Peru in cording bales of merchandize and
other similar purposes; but it has never yet been applied to naval
equipments, except in the canoes and balsas.

As part of this province is mountainous, it contains a variety of
climates; but that of the capital is hot and dry to such a degree, that
if a sheet of paper be placed on the ground in the evening, it may be
taken up at any hour of the night or morning, and written on without any
inconvenience, for it will be found perfectly dry. Many persons
afflicted with syphilis resort to Piura for the purpose of being cured,
which is effected by merely residing here, without the aid of any
medicine. It is believed that the water which is usually drunk
contributes more to the re-establishment of their health than the
climate; for, in its course, it runs over very extensive beds of
sarsaparilla, and the fallen trees of _palo santo_, the guiaco trees;
and as the bed of the river is completely dry during the summer months,
the inhabitants are obliged to dig wells in the bed of the river, at
which time the water being more strongly impregnated with the virtues of
these two vegetables, it is considered more efficacious in removing that
disease. Some patients are buried to the neck in the sand for one or
two hours, and drink copiously of the water, by which means a most
profuse perspiration is produced, and their cure is very much
facilitated. The poor people here make use of pieces of dry palo santo
as a substitute for candles; they merely light the end of the stick, and
a flame of a reddish colour is produced, which continues to burn till
the whole stick is consumed, communicating an agreeable scent to the

Piura is not well situated for mercantile business; it commands none of
the interior provinces, and its own population can never render it a
place of importance. Fourteen leagues from Piura is the sea-port of
Paita, and to the goods landed here from Panama, destined to be carried
to different parts of Peru, the inhabitants of Piura owe their principal

Paita is a very commodious and well frequented port, in latitude 5° 5´
S.; the anchorage is good, and the landing is excellent. The town of
Paita was destroyed in 1741 by Anson; in the church of the Merced the
friars shew an image of the Virgin Mary, which had its throat cut by one
of the heretics who accompanied Anson, the blood yet remaining on her
neck, and the wound unhealed. The present town is composed of about two
hundred houses; the inhabitants are principally indians, many of them
are employed in a seafaring life, and they are considered to be good
sailors. The country around Paita is a complete barren sandy desert, not
a drop of water nor a green leaf is any where to be seen, and the heat
is remarkably oppressive. The water used here is brought from the river
Colan, four leagues to the northward of Paita, in large calabashes, or
earthen jars, on balsas or rafts, and it is consequently sold at a very
high price to the ships in need of it, as well as to the inhabitants.
Here is a Custom House, with the necessary revenue officers and a
Governor. On the south side of the bay is a small fort, with four long
brass cannons of eighteen pound calibre.

Owing to the constant clearness of the sky at Paita, perhaps no place in
the world is better suited for an astronomical observatory; the stars
are always visible at night, owing to the total absence of clouds;
besides which the atmosphere is at all times of nearly the same density;
no mists, dews or fogs, ever pervade it; it is surrounded by the Pacific
Ocean on one side, and extensive sandy plains on the other; and, owing
to the brilliancy with which the celestial bodies shine here, it is
become proverbial to say, "as bright as the moon at Paita."

I embarked at Paita in a small brig belonging to an indian, who was the
captain, and after a tedious coasting voyage of fifty-one days arrived
at Callao.


     Leave Lima for Guayaquil...._Amortajado_....Puná....Arrival of the
     Spaniards, and Conquest of....Village of....Inhabitant....Passage
     up the River Guayaquil...._Punta de Arena_....Guayaquil....
     Foundation and Description of....Buildings....Inhabitants....
     Amusements....Market....Fruit....Climate....Insects and Reptiles
     ....Dock Yard....Project of Sawing Mills....Balsa, Description of
     ....Navigation of....Canoes....Merchants of Guayaquil.

On my arrival at Lima, his Excellency the Count Ruis de Castilla
solicited me as an attendant to accompany him to Quito, the King having
appointed him the President, Captain-general, &c. I immediately embraced
the proposals, and in June, 1808, we embarked at Callao for Guayaquil,
where his Excellency being detained by an indisposition, I enjoyed a
month's leisure to visit different parts of the province.

At the entrance of the river Guayaquil is an extraordinary rock, called
_el amortajado_, the shrouded corpse, from the resemblance which it
bears to a body shrouded in the Franciscan habit; the head, the body,
the arms folded on the breast, and the rising of the feet, as the whole
seems to lie on its back, are very correctly seen at the distance of
from two to five miles.

Having arrived at the island of the Puná, we anchored for the purpose of
waiting for the next tide, having had a pilot, _practico_, to bring us
hither. The island stretches S.W. and N.E. about eight leagues, and is
about four leagues broad in its widest part. In 1530 Don Francisco
Pizarro landed here, at which time it was governed by a chief or
Cacique; Pizarro was tempted to visit this island by the accounts he had
received from the Indians at Tumpis, who were at war with those of the
Puná, that these latter were in possession of immense quantities of
gold. On the arrival of Pizarro, the natives opposed his landing; but
having effected it, a sharp engagement ensued, in which a considerable
number of Indians were slain; three Spanish soldiers also were killed,
and several more were wounded, among whom was Don Hernando Pizarro. At
the time of the first landing of the Spaniards on this island, in 1530,
it was inhabited by upwards of twenty thousand Indians; but from the
persecution which they suffered for having bravely opposed their
invaders--when a census was taken in 1734, only ninety-six remained; and
since that period those few have all retired to Machala.

Near to the anchorage is a small village, inhabited chiefly by mulattos;
there is a Spanish church, and a house, called _del rey_, which, when
vessels unload, serves as a custom-house. On the arrival of a person who
is unacquainted with the beauties of a tropical climate, or who has been
accustomed to the dreary scenery of the coast of Peru, he is almost
enchanted with the luxuriant prospect presented to his view. The whole
of the surrounding country is covered with woods, with here and there a
few small houses, starting, as it were, from the green foliage on the
margin of the river, which has here the appearance of an extensive lake.
The houses are built of canes, and have an upper story, but are without
a ground floor. They are constructed by placing four or more logs of
timber in the ground, and at the height of ten feet a floor of large
split canes is laid, supported by a frame-work of mangroves; a roof of
palm or other leaves is then formed, which descends to within five feet
of the ground-floor; a rude varanda of canes encloses the whole
building, which, in the larger houses, is divided by canes into two or
three apartments; but in the smaller houses they have only one room.
The ascent is by a ladder, sometimes merely the trunk of a tree with
steps cut in it. The houses in this village rise gradually behind each
other, without any order or regularity, interspersed with some large and
beautiful tamarind trees, equal in size to our largest oaks: beneath
these the pompous banana waves its huge leaves, and droops with the
weight of its golden fruit; while above towers the majestic cocoa palm,
laden with its numerous branches of nuts, hanging beneath a cupola of
feather-like foliage.

The inhabitants of Puná leave their houses during part of the year, and
retire to other places, where they cultivate maize, pumpkins, tobacco,
&c.; after which they return to sell such produce as they are possessed
of, to the merchants who come to purchase it. They also employ
themselves in cutting mangroves, which are sent to Lima and other parts
of Peru, and in fishing. Owing to a want of water in the island, for
irrigation, there being no rivers, and from the scarcity of rain during
the last ten years, the plantations of cocoa have failed; and, although
formerly upwards of twelve hundred quintals were collected here
annually, not one, at present, is harvested. Owing to the same cause,
all cultivation has ceased on the island, and the inhabitants are
obliged to dig wells to supply themselves with good water in summer;
for, although there is a small spring near to the village, for want of
proper attention the water is undrinkable. It is only used for washing,
which operation is performed on the margin; and by throwing near to it
the soapy water, the spring is rendered useless, except for the purpose
to which it is applied.

After waiting at the Puná for the following tide, we weighed, and stood
up the river: we sometimes passed so near to the mangroves which grow on
the different islands, and even in the water (the trees being supported
by their almost innumerable roots, which cross each other in all
directions), that it appeared as if the branches would become entangled
with the ropes of the ship. On the roots, as well as on the branches of
the mangroves, many beautiful white storks were perched, which
contributed very much to heighten the novelty and beauty of the scene.
Navigation in its primitive state was here presented to us on our
passage:--the unwieldy and creeping balsa lagged behind us, and the next
abrupt turn in the channel hid it from our view, the high trees, of
some small island usurping its place in the prospect; while the light
canoe skimmed along on the surface of the water, as if in mockery of our
ship, which might justly boast its superiority over the balsa.

About seven leagues from the Puná there is a small battery, or rather a
breast-work, formed of the trunks of the _palo de balsa_ and the
_ceibo_, mounting six guns. The projection of a small promontory, called
sandy point, _punta de arena_, commands the channel for about two miles,
and this point of defence might easily be made the protecting place of
the city, even against large vessels; while boats and balsas might go up
to the city by another channel of the river, formed by an island
opposite to punta de arena, without any molestation from this battery.
It was late in the evening when we came to an anchor off the city, and I
never beheld a more brilliant view than the one before us. The long
range of houses by the river side presented a double row of lights, one
from the shops below, and another from the upper stories, where the
inhabitants reside: in a few places three rows appeared, some of the
houses having a low story between the shops and the dwelling rooms. At
the extremity of this line of lights the houses in the old city, _cuidad
vieja_, rose one above another, while the many balsas at anchor, or
passing along the river, with fires on board, formed altogether a very
dazzling but pleasing prospect.

The first town, called Guayaquil, was founded in 1533 in the bay of
Charapotó, by Don Francisco Pizarro; and by the date of the title
granted by Charles V. it was the second town founded in Peru; however
the first was entirely destroyed by the Indians. In 1537, Francisco de
Orrellana built another town on the west side of the river, which was
afterwards removed to the site where cuidad vieja now stands; and,
lastly, in 1793, to its present situation. Its name is taken from that
of its original chief or Cacique, Guayas. The city is divided into two
distinct wards, by a wooden bridge eight hundred yards long; this bridge
crosses several estuaries, and some low ground that is flooded by the
river. The new town, or that part called Guayaquil, extends half a
league along the side of the river, on a plain, having the dock yard at
the southern extremity on the same level; and cuidad vieja, or the old
city, at the northern extremity; one part of which is built on the
acclivity of the hill, and the other on the top of it, where the convent
of Santo Domingo now stands. The principal street, called the Malecon,
runs along the side of the river; about the centre of it stands the
custom-house; at the back of this street another runs the whole length
of the city, which, with the intersecting streets, forms the chief part
of Guayaquil.

This city is the capital of the province, and the residence of the
Governor; it has a municipal authority invested in two alcaldes, and
other officers; the custom-house, _aduana_, has an accomptant,
treasurer, and inferior officers. The military department is subject to
the Viceroy of Peru; the civil to the Audience of Quito, and the
ecclesiastical to the bishop of Cuenca.

Here are two parish churches, one in the new town, the other in the old;
both dedicated to Santiago, the patron of the city; also a convent of
Franciscans, one of Augstinians, and one of Dominicans; the hospital is
under the care of the order of San Juan de Dios. The matris as well as
the other churches are built principally of wood, and have tiled roofs.
A custom prevails at the churches here on the days of particular
festivals, which I never observed in any other part of the colonies. Men
go up the belfries or steeples, with drums and trumpets, and accompany
the tune rung on the bells by striking them, as the Chinese do their
gongs, with hammers or stones, making a strange, but not altogether
disagreeable kind of music; it is certainly ridiculous, however, to hear
marches and dance tunes played in a church steeple, for the purpose of
calling the people to prayers.

The greater part of the houses in the principal streets have an upper
story, where the inhabitants reside, the ground floor being occupied as
shops and warehouses. The upper stories have long balconies about four
or five feet wide, with canvass curtains, which are very useful, because
they form an agreeable shade against the scorching rays of the sun; and
when a little breeze springs up, one end of the roller is passed between
the ballustrades of the varanda, and the other end projects outward, so
that the breeze is thus caught, and a current of air is guided into the
apartments of the house, which at any time is very desirable; There are
no buildings in Guayaquil that particularly attract the attention of a
traveller, either by their size or beauty; but however the generality of
the houses are large, commodious, and have a very good appearance,
particularly those along the Malecon, which face the river; as they are
all built of wood, the risk of being burnt is very great. In the years
1692, 1707, and 1764 the city was nearly reduced to ashes; besides
which conflagrations it has suffered eleven other partial ones, which
destroyed many houses and much property. Notwithstanding the danger to
which the city is exposed, the dreadful examples which it has
experienced, and the easy means by which water may be procured in any
part of the town, for the prevention of general conflagrations, there is
not one engine for the extinction of fire, nor any regular body of

An indispensable part of the furniture of a house is the _hamaca_,
hammock; and I have frequently seen five or six in one room; they are
made of pita, agave thread, or a kind of straw, dyed of various colours;
they are so woven or matted, that they extend to a great width, and hold
two, three, or four persons. They are stretched across the rooms, and
along the sides and ends, and the inhabitants prefer them to any other
seat: indeed, they possess peculiar advantages, for, by being put in
motion, the current of air which is thus produced is refreshing; and the
motion prevents the possibility of the person being bitten by the
mosquitos, as the least draft or motion in the air obliges these
blood-suckers to seek for safety in some quiet corner.

The population of Guayaquil amounts to about twenty thousand souls; the
inhabitants are composed of all the different classes which are found in
the various towns of South America, but there is an excess of mulattos.
A phenomenon presents itself here which greatly surprises all
foreigners; the complexion of some of the white natives is extremely
delicate, the lily and the rose are blended as enchantingly as on the
cheek of any European beauty, accompanied also with blue eyes and light
coloured hair; yet the climate is extremely hot, and the town is
surrounded with low swampy grounds. The ladies are not only remarkably
fair, but they have also very delicate regularly formed features; they
are tall genteel figures, have an elegant gait, walk well, and dance
gracefully; they are also very lively and witty in their conversation,
and on the whole the female society of Guayaquil exceeds that of any
other town in South America that I visited;--their private characters
being as free from levity as their public demeanour is from prudery. The
men are more enterprising in their commercial concerns, and the lower
classes are more industrious than the people generally are in the other
colonies; indeed every thing here bears the marks of exertion and

The favourite amusements are bull fights, excursions on the water in
_balsas_, and dancing; of the latter all ranks appear passionately fond,
and in the evening the harp, the guitar, or the violin may be heard in
almost every street, and, contrary to what might be expected in a
country lying between the tropics, the reel, the waltz, and the country
dance are preferred to any other.

The market of Guayaquil is but indifferently supplied with flesh meat,
although the horned cattle is well fed on the _savanas_ and
_gamalotales_. Before the beef comes to market it is deprived of all its
fat, and cut into shreds about an inch thick, called _tasajo_; the fat
is melted and sold as lard for culinary purposes, but this however might
be easily remedied if the inhabitants would come to a resolution not to
buy the beef in such a mangled state. Very fine ribs of beef, called
chalonas, are salted and dried in the province of Monte Christe, and
brought to this market; they are very fat, and of an excellent flavour.
The quantity of salt used in curing them being small, the meat is not
too salt to be roasted. Mutton is a very scarce commodity, and seldom to
be had. Veal and lamb are unknown. Pork is tolerably good, and in
abundance. The tame poultry is good, but generally dear; and although
the woods abound with game, and the rivers and creeks contain plenty of
water fowl, none of these are scarcely ever brought to market. The
supply of fish is tolerably abundant, but generally speaking it is not
good; the exceptions are the _lisa_, a kind of mullet, the _vieja_, old
wife, _ciego_, or blind fish, (about nine inches long, with only the
spinal bone) and a species of anchovies or sardinas. Oysters are very
plentiful, and the rock oysters though large are good, while those found
among the mangroves are very muddy.

The bread made here is generally of an inferior quality, although the
flour is good, both that procured from Chile, and that from the
provinces of Quito and Cuenca. Rice, _garbansas_, a species of pea,
brought from Lambayeque, beans, quinua, lentils, and other pulse are
cheap; European vegetables are scarce, the yuca, camote, pumpkins, and
other gourds, are very plentiful, but the natives prefer the plantain to
any vegetable, using it baked, boiled or fried; green, half ripe, or
ripe, at every meal; and many foreigners after residing here a short
time become equally partial to it. The Guayaquileños are often ridiculed
by strangers on account of their predilection for plantains; they are
reported as having imitations of rolls made of wood on their tables,
and their real plantains under the napkins. Some of the butter of this
province is well tasted, but the greater part used, as well as the
cheese, is brought from the _sierra_, mountains.

The fruit market at Guayaquil is most abundant; here are enormous
melons, and water melons, which may be cut and tasted before they are
purchased; several varieties of the pine apple, and cashew nuts, which
resemble a small kidney growing at the end of an apple; thus, unlike
other fruit, the seed grows on the exterior of the apex; the very
astringent taste of this nut is destroyed by roasting it. The _anona_,
or _cabesa de negro_, is similar to the chirimoya, but it is neither so
large nor so delicate as that fruit: _badeas_ are very large and highly
flavoured: the _jobos_ are a fruit in size and shape like a large
damson, of a yellow colour, very juicy, with an agreeable acidity; when
green they make excellent tarts: the _mameis_ are an egg-shaped fruit,
with a fibrous rind, covering a pulpy substance, of a delicately sweet
taste; each contains one or two large rough kidney-shaped seeds:
_marañones_, a fruit somewhat like a lemon; they have a smooth yellow
skin, striped with red; the pulp is very acid but agreeable, and is
sucked on account of its being very fibrous; in size and shape the seed
is like the cashew nut, but it is united to the fruit where this joins
the branch; the seed is more delicate than an almond, and it is used by
the confectioner as well as the fruit: _nisperos_, an egg shaped fruit
about four inches long; the rind is brown and rough; the pulp in some is
white, in others reddish, very sweet, and somewhat resembling the taste
of a delicious pear; each contains three long hard seeds--this fruit is
in season during the whole year: _zapotes_, a round fruit about five or
six inches in diameter, having a soft, downy, yellowish rind; the pulp
in some is a very deep yellow, in others it is white, in others almost
black, but the yellow kind is considered the best; they are very sweet,
but fibrous; in the centre is a large kernel, to which all the fibres
appear strongly attached. Oranges, limes, lemons, paltas, lucumas,
palillos, tamarinds, guavas, coconuts, and other intertropical fruits
are also in very great abundance.

What may be termed a separate fruit market is the astonishing quantities
of plantains which are sold, because they constitute the principal
support of the lower classes, and are always to be found at the tables
of the higher. Large canoes and balsas, carrying five or six hundred
bunches of this fruit, arrive every day from different parts at the
city, and if the supply happen to be scanty for two or three days, the
arrival of canoes or balsas is hailed as a Godsend. Besides the quantity
of plantains consumed by the inhabitants, the country ships give rations
of them to their crews, instead of bread; and the natives feed their
poultry and pigs on the ripe ones. What adds greatly to the curiosity of
the market altogether, is the originality of the sight; it is
principally held on board the numberless canoes and balsas which arrive
from the country, and which remain close to the river side till they
have delivered their cargoes.

The winter season, which commences here in the month of December, and
continues till the latter end of April, is very disagreeable, owing to
the heat, the constant want of a refreshing wind, the unceasing rains,
the frequent thunder storms, and the abundance of troublesome insects,
all of which seem to combine to incommode the human species; the
natives, however, appear to withstand the joint attack with wonderful
composure. During the remaining eight months of the year, which is
called the summer, the climate is not oppressive; a breeze from the
south-west, called the _chandui_, because it comes over a mountain of
this name, generally sets in about noon, and continues to blow till
five or six o'clock the following morning. The natives may be seen about
noon looking out for the breeze, and on the first appearance of it the
rollers of the blinds are placed between the ballustrades of the
varandas to catch it: along the Malecon, when it is observed to ripple
the water in the river, a general salutation often takes place, and
"yonder comes the chandui," may be heard on every side. During the
summer all kinds of provisions and fruit are abundant, and of a better
quality, and the city is then very healthy; but during the winter
intermittent fevers, dysenteries, and diseases of the eyes, are very
common, and often prove fatal.

Strangers at Guayaquil are much annoyed by the troublesome insects, as
well as the most poisonous reptiles, which abound there. During the
rainy months the mosquitos appear in such swarms, that it is impossible
to avoid them; and, besides the bite, the continued humming noise which
they make prevents a person, unaccustomed to such music, from sleeping,
although his bed may be furnished with curtains to protect him against
their bite. Another small insect, called _jejen_, is extremely
troublesome: it is so diminutive, that it can pass the bed-curtains,
unless they be made of some close fine material; and its bite causes a
greater degree of irritation than that of the mosquito. Ants creep about
the houses in such prodigious numbers, that it is almost impossible to
prevent them from mixing with the victuals, particularly sweetmeats; and
it is no uncommon thing, when you take off the crust of a tart, or open
ajar of preserves, to find that the whole has been consumed by these
insects, and the despoilers in complete possession of the cup or jar. I
have frequently seen a cold fowl brought to the table, and on carving it
the ants would sally forth in droves, and run all over the table; even
the beds are invaded by them, and that person would smart for it who
should unwarily lay himself down, without the necessary precaution of
well examining the premises.

Another very small insect, called the _comejen_, although not
troublesome in the same manner as the foregoing, is more so in other
respects. Its destructive qualities are so active, that in the space of
one night it will penetrate the hardest wood, or any other similar
substance. I have been assured, that in the same space of time, it has
been known to perforate a bale of paper, passing quite through
twenty-four reams. This insect builds its nest under the eaves of the
houses, of a glutinous clay, similar to that used by the swallows in the
fabrication of their nests; but the comejen continues his for several
yards in length. The greatest care is necessary to prevent their
entering a store or any such place, where their depredations would cause
a considerable decrease in the value of the contents. The natives
sometimes daub their nests with tar, which destroys the whole swarm; for
if disturbed, they will divide into different Societies, and each will
separately search for a convenient place in which to form a new one.

In the archives of Quito, there is a curious royal decree of Carlos III.
respecting this insect. A number of cases of gun-flints had been sent to
Panama from Spain, for the purpose of being forwarded to Lima; but their
non-arrival at this place caused the Viceroy to repeat his request to
the court for the supply; this produced an investigation--the flints
were traced to Panama, and the governor was ordered to account for them.
In his answer to the minister, he stated, that the comejen had destroyed
the cases in the royal magazine. The minister being ignorant of what the
comejen was, an order was issued under the royal seal, commanding the
governor of Panama to apprehend the comejen--to form a summary process
on the crimes which he had committed, then to send the prisoner and
documents, with the necessary guard, in custody to Spain, that he might
be dealt with according to the extent of his criminality!

The _nigua_, called _piqui_ in Lima and other parts of Peru, is a
diminutive insect, in appearance like a small flea. They generally
introduce themselves under the cuticle of the feet, which causes a
slight itching: when they have thus established their residence, they
deposit a great number of eggs, the whole increasing to the size of a
pea; if not carefully taken out they continue to breed, and, corroding
the neighbouring parts, they produce malignant ulcers, which sometimes
terminate in gangrene. The greatest care is necessary in taking out
these diminutive but disagreeable insects; no part should be left
behind, and the whole of the bag which contains the ovii should be
extracted; when they have been suffered to remain several days they
occasion great pain. Negroes are most troubled with them, on account of
their going barefoot, and of their inattention to cleanliness.

The reptiles that frequent the houses in Guayaquil are the _alacran_,
which in shape resembles a lobster: the body is about an inch long, and
the tail, which has nine joints, is of the same length; the end of the
tail is armed with a small hooked instrument, with which the animal can
inflict a sting so poisonous, that it causes violent pain in the part
affected; considerable degree of fever, excessive thirst, hardness of
the tongue, and sometimes delirium ensues; but all the effects generally
cease within twenty-four hours. The remedy usually applied is
cauterizing the part with a lighted segar.

The _ciento pies_ are from three to six inches long; they have thirty
articulations or joints, and sixty feet; they are covered with small
scales of a brownish hue, and have organs suited for biting, both at the
head and at the tail, either of which cause violent pain, and a
considerable degree of fever. The remedy used by the natives is the same
as for the bite of the alacran.

Many _salamanquecas_, small chameleons, run about the houses, at which
the natives are very much alarmed, fancying that their scratch is
mortal; and certainly it must be fancy, for there is no record of any
person having been scratched by them. On account of the insects and
reptiles, and during the rainy season, when a few snakes introduce
themselves into the houses, all the inhabitants smoke segars, being
persuaded that the smoke of tobacco drives them away; so that even the
females and the children become habituated to the use of this herb,
which in Guayaquil is cheap, and of a good quality.

The most important part of Guayaquil is the dock yard; it produces
employment for a great number of mechanics, promotes labour, and
consequently independence in a considerable portion of the inhabitants.
It also promotes the circulation of money in the neighbourhood, by
encouraging the consumption of wood, which is brought from the
surrounding country; and the effect caused by giving, through the medium
of labour, the greatest possible value to the natural produce of the
country is no where so visible as in this city, heightened undoubtedly
by the contrast to be met with in the other colonial districts. Here the
working mechanic is sure of employment; he can calculate with certainty
on his earnings, and by being indispensably necessary he acquires a
personal independence, totally unknown where labour is scarce, or
population excessive.

Some of the vessels built here have been very much admired by foreigners
capable of appreciating their architectural merits; and particularly
schooners of a hundred and fifty or two hundred tons burthen. The
largest ship ever built in this dock yard was the San Salvador, of seven
hundred tons; but vessels of from three to five hundred tons are very
common. The master ship builder is a mulatto, a native of Guayaquil, as
well as the masters caulker and rigger. Excepting the wood, all the
other materials are procured from Europe; thus the most extensive market
for iron, sheet copper, and all kinds of naval stores, is furnished at

Very great economical improvements might undoubtedly be made in this
yard, and particularly, in the timber. A foreign carpenter would be much
surprised to see a man take a solid log of wood, and chalk out a curved
plank for the bow or stern of a boat, and cut it with an axe, forming
but one plank out of each log, and this by no means so durable as a
straight plank would be when curved by artificial means: this is
observable in the durability of the wood in the different parts of their
boats. The introduction of sawing mills here would be of the greatest
importance, as well as at Talcahuano, in Chile, and would amply repay
the speculator who should establish them. The rise and fall of the tide
would furnish, at very little expence, the necessary power for the
machinery. The sum paid for the sawing of a single plank, twelve inches
broad and sixteen or eighteen feet long, is six reals, or three-quarters
of a dollar: this will convey an idea of the importance of such an
establishment as the one just mentioned. At present (1824) the
objections that would formerly have been started during the domination
of the Spaniards necessarily disappear, not so much perhaps from an
increase of knowledge as from an increase of work, and a diminution of
workmen; this being the unavoidable result of the war in Peru, and that
the consequence of the flattering prospect which the emancipation of the
colonies now presents. Many other improvements which are generally
adopted in the English arsenals would be found of vast importance in the
ship yard at Guayaquil; which, from its situation, must ever remain the
principal station for ship building on the shores of the Pacific.

The balsa is one of the most early specimens of the art of
ship-building, if simplicity of construction can warrant the assertion
in general terms; it certainly, however, was the only large vehicle in
possession of the natives when the Spaniards arrived in this part of the
New World. Of the conveniency of this rude vessel, both Asara and Acosta
speak, when Orellana transferred the city of Guayaquil from the bay of
Charapota, near to where the town of Monte Christi now stands, to the
western shores of the river, because it served to transport his
soldiers, auxiliaries, and stores, when the indians burnt that town in

The balsa is formed by laying together five, seven, or more large trunks
of the _palo de balsa_ or _ceibo_, which is so porous and light, that a
man can carry a log thirty feet long and 12 inches in diameter; pieces
of cedar, about six inches square, or large canes, are next laid
crossway upon these, and the whole are tied together with the tough
pliant stems of a creeping plant, called _bejuco_; split canes are
afterwards laid along these rafters, to form what may be termed the deck
of the balsa. Instead of a mast, the sail is hoisted on two poles, or
sheers, of mangrove wood, inclining a little forward, being supported by
two backstays. The sail is a large square lugsail, with halyards and
braces. For propelling the balsa along during a calm, the natives use a
long paddle, broad at the lower extremity; they let this fall
perpendicularly at the stern of the balsa, and then drag the end
forwards, by which means the broad end of the paddle sweeps through the
water as it rises, and impels the balsa forward, though very slowly.
The rudder is formed of one of these paddles lashed astern, and is
managed by one or two men; besides which they have several boards, each
three or four yards long and two feet broad, called _guaras_; these they
insert between the main or central logs, and allow them to dip more or
less into the water: these boards serve for a keel, and prevent the
balsa from upsetting or making much lee-way. By raising or lowering
these boards in different parts of the balsa, the natives can perform on
their raft all the manoeuvres of a regularly built and well rigged
vessel, an invention which I believe is not generally known, and the
utility of which might be very great in cases of shipwreck, where the
seamen have to betake themselves to rafts, without being acquainted with
so easy a method of steering them, and of preventing them from

All the balsas have a small shed built on them, which serves the
purposes of a cabin; they are formed of canes, and the roof is covered
with palm leaves, or those called _vijao_, which are similar in shape to
those of the banana, but not so liable to break or split. Some of the
large balsas have a comfortable house built on them, composed of four,
five, or more rooms; the sides and roof being lined with chintz, with
mats on the floors; and are most comfortable conveyances for passengers
or parties of pleasure.

The balsas are used in the river for loading and unloading the vessels,
for carrying the produce of the country from one part to another; also
as stages for careening ships, and for heaving them down, besides many
other similar purposes: with them also the natives perform voyages to
Paita, Sechura, Pacasmayo, and even Huanchaco; beating up against the
wind and current a distance of four degrees of latitude, having on board
five or six hundred quintals of goods as a cargo, besides a crew of
indians and their provisions.

The canoes of Guayaquil are, although unornamented, very handsomely
constructed; they are generally made of cedar, _huachapeli_, or _ceibo_:
some of them are upwards of twenty feet long, and three feet wide. A
large canoe built upon with two or three rows of planks is called a
_chata_, and is used for bringing down the cocoa and other productions
from the plantations; where, owing to the narrowness of the creeks, and
the many turns and windings, the balsas are useless: these also have a
lugsail and a jib.

Many persons have been surprised at not finding the Guayaquil merchants
possessed of very large capitals: this may be attributed to various
causes; the repeated fires have destroyed considerable stocks of
merchandize, and as there are no insurance companies, the whole loss has
fallen on the individual proprietors. The merchants are also generally
supplied with European manufactures from the Lima and Panama markets,
which increases the price of the commodity; and the decrease in the
consumption is necessarily in the inverse ratio of the price. Goods
manufactured in the neighbouring provinces are commonly brought to
market by the manufacturers themselves, from whom the inhabitants
purchase them at high prices. The produce of the province is generally
purchased by commission from Peru and Mexico, so that the merchants of
Guayaquil are in some degree, only brokers. Small speculations and
activity will insure to any one most excellent profits, and hence the
considerable number of persons in this city who enjoy a comfortable
independence; and probably this is another objection to the amassing of
large fortunes by commerce.


     Productions of the Province of Guayaquil, Cocoa....cultivation....
     Harvest....Tobacco....Timber....Salt....Cattle....Minor Articles of
     Trade...._Turbines_ found at Santa Elena....Large Bones, &c....
     Animals, _Perico_, _Ligero_....Monkeys...._Iguanas_....Toucanes....
     _Trompeteros_....Snakes....Curiquinqui, Snake-eater...._Huaco_,
     Antidote for the Bite of Snakes...._Lagartos_, Alligators,
     Description of....Methods of Killing....Fishermen....Mineral

The following account of the productions of the province of Guayaquil is
partly from my own observation, and partly from statements given to me
by some very respectable natives, on whose veracity I could rely.

The most important production of this rich part of South America, as an
article of exportation, is the cocoa, the utility and delicacy of which,
as an article of food, needs no other encomium than that Linnæus calls
it _Theobroma_, the beverage of the Gods. The _cacao_, so called by the
Indians, and which name it still retains in America, is cultivated here
to a very great extent, and considerable profit; but, like many other
articles, it requires greater care to render it abundantly productive
than what it usually receives. It is sometimes sown in nurseries, on a
good soil, where it can be irrigated and shaded from the sun till the
plants are about two feet high; at which time they are fit for
transplanting; but it is more frequently sown where the plants are to
remain. For this purpose the ground is first prepared by clearing away
the wood, which is allowed to dry and is then burnt, excepting some
lofty trees, which are left to form a shade over the cacao trees; for
this, unlike other fruit trees, must be protected against the rays of
the sun during every period of its existence. The ground is then divided
into compartments, by cutting trenches for the purpose of draining it
during the rainy seasons. The cacao beans, fresh from the ripe pod, are
laid on the ground in pairs, fourteen or fifteen feet asunder; these are
very slightly covered with earth, and a folded leaf of plantain laid
over them to preserve the moisture, or prevent the heavy rains from
destroying the young plants. If the two beans germinate, the weaker
plant is cut down, when both have grown to that height which allows the
planter an opportunity of judging of their strength. At the time that
the cacao is planted, bananas, or plantains, are also sown, ranges of
the young plants being placed between those of the cacao, for the
purpose of procuring a shade for the shrubs; and it is calculated that
on an average the crop of plantains will defray the whole expence of the

Until the cacao tree has grown to the height of four feet it is pruned
to the stem, and then allowed to throw out three or four branches, at
equal distances, from which the leaves are stripped, to prevent them
from drooping; all suckers are also removed, and the tree grows to the
height of eighteen or twenty feet.

When the cacao tree begins to bear, which is commonly the third year
after planting, then as well as before that period, it is assaulted by
several enemies of the caterpillar species; one of this tribe is four
inches long, and one in circumference round the body; it is belted
alternately with black and pale yellow stripes; these and all others are
carefully sought for and killed. When the tree begins to bear fruit, the
cavias, monkeys, squirrels, and the parrots, commit the greatest
depredations, and nothing but fire-arms will drive them away; they skip
and fly from tree to tree, and do more damage by breaking the branches,
than if they were allowed to remain and feed quietly on the fruit; some
of the monkey tribes are so impudent, that they will perch themselves on
the branches, break off the ends or the fruit, and throw them at the
person who attempts to disturb them.

The flower of the cacao is white; it is attached by a short stem to the
larger branches, or to the trunk of the tree; the pod which contains the
beans is shaped like a melon, about three inches long; when ripe it is
of a yellow colour; from twenty to thirty beans are closely imbedded in
five rows in each pod, in a soft, moist, downy substance, beautifully
white, and of a very agreeable subacid taste.

The two principal harvests of the cacao are in June and December, but
many of the planters prefer gathering the pods during the whole year,
whenever they are in a state of maturity. When the pods are gathered
from the trees, they are carried in large baskets to a place properly
prepared by cleaning it, and laid on plantain leaves spread for this
purpose; those who are appointed to separate the beans from the pods,
take a small knife-shaped instrument, of bone or hard wood, and make two
or more incisions through the rind, and then throw them to others, who
shake out the beans. These are allowed to remain covered with plantain
leaves, for three or four days, but not more, when they are spread out
to dry; and when they are perfectly so, they are carried to some place
prepared to receive them, where the greatest care is necessary to
preserve them from becoming wet, or from fermenting, which is the case
if they be not completely dry when housed. A small stove would often
save a cacao grower many thousand dollars, particularly in the December
harvest, when the rains prevail.

The cacao plantations generally abound with snakes; for the cutting down
of the brushwood, and the subsequent care requisite to prevent it from
growing and injuring the plants, allow the rays of the sun to penetrate
in many places, and these dangerous reptiles resort to them for the
purpose of basking in the sun, of which they appear very fond. At night
the enormous quantity of fire-flies, _lucernas_, which fly about in all
directions, is truly beautiful, and their united light is sometimes so
great, as to allow a person to see his way along a narrow path.

On an average the quantity of cacao harvested in the province of
Guayaquil is six hundred thousand _fanegas_, of three bushels each; it
sometimes sells at seven dollars the fanega. The cacao of Guayaquil is
of an inferior quality, the bean is large compared to that of Carraccas,
and three times the size of the best cacao, which is that of Soconusco;
it is much drier than either of these, and consequently much lighter,
and has a more bitter taste; however, the demand for it was never below
the quantity produced, and ships from Callao to Spain generally dropped
down to Guayaquil to take in cargoes of it; besides the annual supply to
Peru, Chile, and Mexico. The cacao produced in the lieutenancy of
Machala is considered the best; but I have not the least doubt, that if
due attention were paid to the cultivation and harvesting, such as is
bestowed in England on vegetables of minor importance, the cacao of
Guayaquil would both increase in quantity and improve in quality. No
soil or climate can be better suited to its growth than those of this
province, for it requires heat in this, and moisture in that. At present
(1824) the political changes have opened a fair field to the investment
of British capital, and the exertions of British industry in this rich
and fertile province; in which I hope to see both employed and
prospering, not only in commercial intercourse, but in mechanical and
agricultural improvements.

Very large plantations of tobacco are cultivated in this province,
particularly in the department of Daule and Puerto Viejo; it is packed
in the leaf, and supplies the interior provinces, Peru and Chile; its
quality is mild and good, and although it is a royal monopoly, the King
paying only one and a half real, three-sixteenths of a dollar, per
pound, it employs many of the natives, and pays them moderately well.

Timber is another article of commerce, large quantities being carried to
Peru, besides the great consumption of it here in the dock yard: the
kinds of timber used in ship-building are _roble_, a kind of oak,
_guachapeli_, _balsamo_, cedar, _maria_, _huarango_, and _piñuela_; in
addition to which varieties, there are, for other purposes, saffron,
laurel, negro, _caoba_, a kind of mahogany, ebony, _cascol_, _guayacan_,
_colorado_, _guayabo_, _mangle_, _canelo_, and others of minor

Salt is another branch of commerce of considerable consequence; it is
produced at the Punta de Santa Elena, and carried to Quito, Cuenca,
Loxa, as well as to every part of the provinces subject to these
capitals; and it is a source of great wealth to this province.

The trade in horned cattle, mules, and horses, of which there is an
excess in the savanas of Guayaquil, is extensive; they are driven into
the interior, where they find a good market, and amply repay the
breeder. The province of Guayaquil also produces many articles of less
moment, but all contributing to enrich its inhabitants; some of these
are bees wax, honey, small quantities of excellent coffee, rice,
_ajonjoli_, cotton, bark for tanning, _vainilla_, coconuts, copal gum,
sarsaparilla, sassafras, anime balsam, cassiafistula, caraña gum, and
_cascol_, a kind of black sealing wax; large quantities of _pita_,
thread, are spun also from the agave Americana, and many thousands of
hats are made annually by the indians in the department of Xipixapa, of
a fine white rush, some of which sell for upwards of twenty dollars

The small shell-fish found on the rocks near to Santa Elena are worthy
of notice, as I believe them to be the true Turbines. They are about the
size of a hazel nut, shaped like a snail, and by different operations
the beautiful purple dye is obtained from them. Some prick the fish with
a needle or cactus thorn, and then press it down into the shell till a
small quantity of milky juice appears, into which a portion of cotton is
dipped; it is put into an earthen jar or cup, and the fish is placed
again on the rock: others take the fish out of the shell, and lay it on
their hands; they press it with a knife from the head towards the tail
or the slender part, which becomes filled with the liquid, and is cut
off, and cotton is applied to absorb the moisture, otherwise thread is
passed through it. When the cotton is soaked in the liquor, and a
sufficient quantity is obtained, it is mixed with as much dry cotton as
it will conveniently make damp, the cotton being well carded or teased;
it is afterwards dried and spun; when thread is used it is only drawn
through the liquor and dried. The colour is at first a pale yellow, it
subsequently changes to a greenish hue, and in the course of a few hours
it acquires the beautiful purple tinge so much admired by the ancients,
and which no future washing or exposure to the air can alter. The thread
dyed by the liquid procured from this small fish is often sold in
Guayaquil, and is called _caracolillo_, from _caracol_, a snail.

At the Punta de Santa Elena, enormous remains of unknown animals have
been discovered, which M. de Humboldt says were cetaceous; and Ulloa,
agreeing with the popular opinion here, calls them the remains of
giants, because the indians are in possession of a tradition, that men
of a colossal stature once landed at this point. I saw a grinder in the
possession of Don Jose Merino, at Guayaquil, which weighed five pounds
three ounces, and the enamel was spotted like the female tortoise shell.

The jaguar is an inhabitant, and may be justly stiled the lord of the
forest; it is called by the natives _tigre_, tiger, and is in size and
fierceness almost equal to the oriental tiger; the fur is short, thick,
and glossy, the colour is a bright yellow, marked along the spine with a
chain of occelated or eye-shaped spots, like black rings, having a black
spot in the centre of each; along the sides are four chains of rings,
but these are rather oval than round, each of them generally containing
two spots; however along the sides the rings are not so regular as along
the back, indeed the rings often appear to be formed of three or four
oblong spots, including two in the centre; the belly is white, with
transverse black stripes. The face and sides of the neck are very
thickly studded with black spots. The fur of the tail is not glossy; on
the upper part the pattern is a zig-zag, and not spotted like the body.

The jaguar preys on the cattle in the savanas, lurking about and
securing a bullock or young horse; after making a hearty meal he retires
to a considerable distance, and never returns to the same place within a
month, being suspicious perhaps of being detected and punished. Pressed
by hunger, he has been known to attack human beings, and even to loiter
about at night, waiting for an opportunity to seize on any one who may
leave the house; having once tasted human flesh, he becomes either more
daring, or averse to other food; but when it is known that a tiger has
destroyed any person, the cause is made a common one, and all the people
in the neighbourhood join and pursue the enemy till they kill it.

In the woods there is found a species of sloth, called by the natives
_perico ligero_, nimble peter; it is also called ahi, probably from the
pitiful noise which it makes. I have seen it several times, but the
following description of it was given to me by Dr. Hurtado, of

"The snout short, forehead high, eyes black, almost covered with long
black eyelashes, no incisors in the under jaw, four legs, ill formed,
thighs ill-shaped and clumsy, hind legs short and thick, the toes
united, having three long curved claws on the hind and fore feet,
twenty-eight ribs, three stomachs, very short intestines, only one
aperture for the emission of excrements, like birds; very short tail,
and the whole length of the body between four and five feet."

This animal in appearance is the very picture of misery; it is covered
with long shaggy hair resembling dried grass; its motion is very slow,
and at each step it howls most hideously, and scarcely walks ten yards
in as many hours. It feeds on leaves and the buds of trees, and when it
has once gained the top of a tree it will remain there as long as a leaf
is to be procured, and even for some time afterwards, crying and
howling, till hunger obliges it to search for food; it then forms itself
into a round lump and drops from the tree upon the ground, as if devoid
of life. The indians sometimes kill and eat it, and if fat they relish
the flesh, which they say is very savoury; but I never had an
opportunity of tasting it.

Many deer, _venados_, similar to those of Peru, some cavias, and four
varieties of the monkey, are also found in the woods; of these, two
species when erect stand four feet high; the one is completely black,
with very long arms, hence called _brasilargo_, and is excellent eating;
the other has a black back and brown belly, and is called _mongon_; the
other two kinds are when erect about eighteen inches high; the one is of
a yellow brown colour, and the other is black with a white face: all the
four species have long tails. Many _iguanas_ are met with in different
parts of the province; the body is about a foot long, with a row of
points along the back like the fins of a fish, the head has a crest
like that of the dunghill cock; the mouth is similar to the beak of a
parrot, the bite of which is very severe, as it divides almost every
thing that comes between its jaws; the legs are short, and the toes are
partly connected by a membrane, like the feet of some water-fowl; the
tail is very slender and as long as the body, having very much the
appearance of a snake; by whipping with it when vexed it can inflict a
very severe wound; its colour is green and yellow, and the natives often
say, that if it had wings it would be the devil himself. They are
oviparous, and the female lays from twenty to thirty eggs at one time:
these are white, and covered with a membrane instead of a shell, and are
most delicate eating. The flesh of the animal too is whiter and more
savoury than that of the barn door fowl. They are chiefly found on the
branches of trees, and when pursued on the ground will betake themselves
to their burrows or to the water.

Among the feathered tribe there are many beautiful parrots, parroquets,
and papagayos; the toucan, called here _dios te dé_, is common in the
woods, particularly in the neighbourhood of the banana plantations, on
the ripe fruit of which it feeds; the back, wings, and tail, are black,
the breast a beautiful bright yellow, and the beak, which is as long as
the body of the bird, is yellow on the upper side, and the rest brown;
the tongue is long, slender and serrated; on the whole the appearance of
the bird is very awkward, owing to the immense size of the beak.

Here are many wild turkeys, some of which are delicate eating;
_huacharacas_, a species of pheasant, and _poujis_, equally or more
delicate; the latter are as large as our turkeys; the male is black,
with a high crest of beautiful black and white feathers on its head; the
hen is brown, spotted with black, having a crest or topping like the
male, which it spreads in the form of a fan when vexed, and then allows
it to fall backward on the neck.

The _trompetero_ is a native of this province, and is often
domesticated, as well as the toucan, poujis, and several different kinds
of parrots; the trompetero is about the size of a barn door fowl, and
entirely black, excepting a few long yellow feathers on the neck; it
becomes very tame, and will follow the people to whom it belongs, making
a noise somewhat like the sound of a trumpet, which, according to the
general opinion, proceeds from the anus; the sound however is so varied
and modulated, that it sometimes appears to proceed from one part and
sometimes from another. On the arrival of a stranger it will immediately
parade the room, and receive him with a musical welcome.

Here are also several varieties of pigeons and other small birds,
particularly humming birds; these beautiful flutterers fly in all
directions, sipping the honey from the flowers, especially those of the
plantain and the banana, which are their favourites, and in which they
are often completely hidden while feeding on their nectareous sweets.
The small birds are more worthy of admiration for the brilliancy of
their plumage than for the sweetness of their notes; indeed very few of
them ever sing; and the continued chattering of the parrots is very
disagreeable. The most useful bird here is the gallinaso, it may be
called the public scavenger, and it is protected by the municipal law,
which imposes a fine of five dollars on any person who kills one of

Numerous snakes infest the whole of the province of Guayaquil, and
individuals are often bitten by them; but the natives are possessed of
remedies, and against the poison of some, of specific antidotes. They
make the patient drink a considerable quantity of olive oil, scarify
round the wound, and apply pieces of calcined stag's horn; but the
safest remedy known among the natives is the leaves of a creeper called
_huaco_, which growls in the woods. The leaves are bruised to the
consistency of paste, which is made into small cakes, each about the
size of half a crown, and then dried in the shade. When a person is
bitten, he puts one of these small cakes in his mouth, and chews it till
the bitter taste is gone, at the same time swallowing his saliva; he is
then bathed, the chewed herb is taken from his mouth and bound over the
wound, and he recovers. The visible effects are a copious perspiration.
When at Esmeraldas I was bitten in the hand by a coral snake, the bite
of which is considered mortal if not immediately cured; the pain which I
felt was a violent burning near the wound; it gradually spread over the
part affected, accompanied with a peculiar sensation, which appeared as
if a large weight were hanging to my hand, and which prevented me from
raising it. A native who was with me having observed what had happened,
immediately gave me a cake of the huaco herb, ordered me to chew it, and
began to press my hand, squeezing the wound; in about five minutes the
pain abated, and the bitter taste of the herb was gone. I bathed in the
river, and laid myself down in a canoe, where I was covered with a
poncho and taken to my home, which was about four miles from the spot
where the accident happened. During the time that I remained in the
canoe I perspired most profusely, and after retiring to my bed, more so;
the pain in my hand was very much allayed, but I felt a general numbness
and great debility, accompanied with nausea; I drank a large glass of
almond milk, _orchata_, and slept about an hour; on waking I found
myself feverish, my tongue parched and hard, and for four days I was
very ill. A poultice of boiled pumpkin was continually kept on my hand,
and the wound began to suppurate on the fourth day, when my health was
gradually restored. All this time I was very apprehensive of danger,
although the natives assured me that as twenty-four hours had elapsed
since the bite, I was perfectly safe. For more than a fortnight I felt
the effects of the poisonous fangs of the reptile, which the natives had
killed almost immediately after it had wounded me, and brought it to my
house. I never saw the huaco herb growing, but I have seen it when
brought from the woods; the leaves are about two and a half inches long
and half an inch broad; the upper surface is of a dark green, with
purple veins running along it, of a glossy appearance and solid texture;
the under side is of an obscure purple hue; the leaves grow singly, two
being placed opposite to each other on the stem, which is slender, hard,
and ribbed, and of a bluish colour. I never saw the flower, and the
natives when I asked them concerning it, told me that it never did
flower, at least that they had never observed any flowers on the plant.

Fortunately, a bird at Guayaquil called _quiriquinqui_, at Esmeraldas
and on the coast of Choco, _huaco_, and at Quito, _beteado de oro_, is a
great enemy to the snakes, and other venomous reptiles and insects, on
which it feeds. It is a species of vulture, about the size of a hen, and
is easily domesticated; its colour is a bright brown, variegated with
stains of pale yellow. It flies about the woods, or runs along the
savanas in quest of its food, and attacks the snakes, opposing its wing
to them as a shield; when the animal is somewhat exhausted by striking
at the bird, it seizes the reptile near the head, and biting it rises on
its wings, and afterwards alights, and observes if it be dead; if not,
it again bites it, and sometimes soaring aloft with it lets it fall, and
immediately drops down after it; when dead the bird devours it. The
natives affirm, that to this bird they owe the discovery of the herb
which they call huaco; they observed that the bird, after fighting with
a snake, would sometimes search for the herb and eat it; hence they
supposed it to be an antidote for the poison, which experience has
proved to be correct.

The poisonous snakes found here are the _bejuco_, about two feet long,
very slender, and of a brown colour, having the appearance of a small
cane; the _cascabel_, one of the varieties of the rattle snake; it is
sometimes five feet long, and spotted with white and yellow; the coral,
of a very beautiful appearance, owing to its bright colours, which are a
deep red, bright yellow, and black, in alternate belts; the head is very
flat, and although the animal is small, seldom exceeding two feet in
length, its bite is considered of the most poisonous kind, and if not
directly cured generally proves mortal in a few hours; the effects are
an immediate swelling, and afterwards an exudation of blood from every
part of the body, accompanied with the most agonizing pain, till death
relieves the wretch from the anguish he endures. Don Pedro Figueroa, to
whose attention I owed my cure, assured me, that he once saw the corpse
of a negro who died of the bite of the coral snake, and that it had
become completely white. The _exis_ is so called on account of the marks
along the back, from the head to the extremity of the tail; its length
is from three to four feet, head flat, colour dark brown, with white
marks like XX along the back. This snake is most active and poisonous,
and is much dreaded. The _sierpe volante_ is very dangerous; it is about
eighteen inches long, very slender, of a dark brown colour, and can
spring to a great distance to inflict its poisonous wound; hence the
natives call it the flying serpent. Here are several kinds of harmless
snakes, which the natives never kill, as they are great enemies of the
poisonous ones; I once saw one of these, called the _sobre cama_,
devouring an exis larger than itself.

The river of Guayaquil and the creeks that empty themselves into it,
abound with alligators, _lagartos_, or _caimanes_, so much so, that on
the banks where they lie basking in the sun they appear like logs of
wood thrown up by the tide, and are so unapprehensive of danger, that a
canoe or boat may pass very near to them without their being disturbed;
when basking in this manner they keep their enormous mouths open, and
owing to the colour of the fleshy substance on the inside of the lower
jaw, as well as to a musky scent which accompanies their breath, great
numbers of flies are allured to enter the mouth, the upper jaw of
which, when a sufficient number are collected, suddenly falls down, and
the deluded insects are swallowed.

The alligator is an oviparous animal; the female deposits her eggs in
the sand, laying in the course of one or two days from eighty to a
hundred; they are much larger than those of a goose, and much thicker;
they are covered with a very tenacious white membrane, and are often
eaten by the indians, who when they take them first open a small hole in
the larger end, and place the egg in the sand with the hole downward; by
this means a peculiarly disagreeable musky taste is destroyed; they
afterwards cook them in the same manner as other eggs. I have tasted
them, and found nothing disagreeable, except their being very tough.
After depositing her eggs the female covers them with sand, and then
rolls herself over them, and continues rolling to the water side, as if
to prevent the spot being found where she has left her deposit; but the
vigilant gallinasos are generally on the alert at this season, and when
they have found the nest, destroy the whole of them. The people who live
near the sides of the river train their dogs to search for the eggs, as
well as to destroy them; and thus thousands are annually broken.

When instinct informs the alligator that the time of ovation is
completed, both the male and female go to the nest, and if undisturbed
the female immediately uncovers the eggs, and carefully breaks them; the
young brood begin to run about, and the watchful gallinasos prey upon
them, while the male alligator, who appears to have come for no other
purpose, devours all that he possibly can; those that can mount on the
neck and back of the female are safe, unless they happen to fall off, or
cannot swim, in which cases she devours them. Thus nature has prepared a
destruction for these dangerous animals, which would otherwise be as
numerous as flies, and become the absolute proprietors of the
surrounding country; even at present, notwithstanding the comparatively
few that escape, their number is almost incredible.

I have frequently seen the lagartos eighteen or twenty feet long. They
feed principally on fish, which they catch in the rivers, and are known
sometimes to go in a company of ten or twelve to the mouths of the small
rivers and creeks, where two or three ascend while the tide is high,
leaving the rest at the mouth; when the tide has fallen, one party
besets the mouth of the creek, while the other swims down the stream,
flapping their tails, and driving the fish into the very jaws of their
devourers, which catch them, and lift their heads out of the water to
swallow them.

When these voracious creatures cannot procure a sufficient quantity of
fish to satisfy their hunger, they betake themselves to the savanas,
where they destroy the calves and foals, lurking about during the day,
and seizing their prey when asleep at night, which they drag to the
water side, and there devour it. The cattle and the dogs appear sensible
of their danger when they go to the rivers to drink, and will howl and
bark until they have attracted the attention of the lagartos at one
place, and then drop back and run to another, where they drink in a
hurry, and immediately leave the water side; otherwise, as has been the
case, an alligator would seize on them by the nose, drag them under the
water, and drown and eat them.

When the lagarto has once tasted the flesh of animals it will almost
abandon the fish, and reside principally ashore. I crossed the large
plain of Babaoyo, where I saw a living one, buried, except the head, in
the clay, beside the remains of several dead ones. On inquiring how they
came there, the _montubios_, a name given here to the peasantry, told
me, that when the rains fall in the mountains the great part of this
savana is inundated, at which time the lagartos prowl about in search of
the cattle remaining on the small islands that are then formed; and when
the waters retire they are left embedded in the clay, till the ensuing
rains set them at liberty; they feed on flies in the way already
described, and can exist in this manner for six or seven months. When
found in this state the natives always kill them; sometimes by piercing
them with lances between the fore leg and the body, the only visible
part in which they are vulnerable; if they be not prepared with a lance,
they collect wood, and kindle a fire as near to the mouth of the lagarto
as they dare venture, and burn him to death.

These animals will sometimes seize human beings when bathing, and even
take children from the shores; after having succeeded once or twice they
will venture to take men or women from the balsas, if they can surprize
them when asleep; but they are remarkably timid, and any noise will
drive them from their purpose. They have also been known to swim
alongside a small canoe, and to suddenly place one of their paws on the
edge and upset it, when they immediately seize the unwary victim.
Whenever it is known that a _cebado_, one that has devoured either a
human being or cattle, is in the neighbourhood, all the people join in
the common cause to destroy it; this they often effect by means of a
noose of strong hide rope, baited with some animal food; when the
lagarto seizes the bait its upper jaw becomes entangled with the rope,
and the people immediately attack it with their lances, and generally
kill it.

The natives sometimes divert themselves in catching the lagartos alive;
they employ two methods, equally terrific and dangerous to a spectator,
at first sight; both of these were exhibited to Count Ruis, when we were
at Babaoyo, on our way to Quito. A man takes in his right hand a
truncheon, called a tolete; this is of hard wood, about two feet long,
having a ball formed at each end, into which are fastened two iron
harpoons, and to the middle of this truncheon a platted thong is
fastened. The man takes this in his hand, plunges into the river, and
holds it horizontally on the surface of the water, grasping a dead fowl
with the same hand, and swimming with the other: he places himself in a
right line with the lagarto, which is almost sure to dart at the fowl;
when this happens the truncheon is placed in a vertical position, and
at the moment that the jaw of the lagarto is thrown up the tolete is
thrust into the mouth, so that when the jaw falls down again the two
harpoons become fixed, and the animal is dragged to the shore by the
cord fastened to the tolete. When on shore the appearance of the lagarto
is really most horrible; his enormous jaw propped up by the tolete,
shewing his large sharp teeth; his eyes projecting almost out of his
head; the pale red colour of the fleshy substance on his under jaw, as
well as that of the roof of the mouth; the impenetrable armour of scales
which covers the body, with the huge paws and tail, all contribute to
render the spectacle appalling; and although one is perfectly aware that
in its present state it is harmless, yet it is almost impossible to look
on it without feeling what fear is. The natives now surround the lagarto
and bait it like a bull; holding before it any thing that is red, at
which it runs, when the man jumps on one side and avoids being struck by
it, while the animal continues to run forward in a straight line, till
checked by the thong which is fastened to the tolete. When tired of
teazing the poor brute, they kill it by thrusting a lance down its
throat, or under the fore leg into its body; unless by accident it be
thrown on its back, when it may be pierced in any part of the belly,
which is soft and easily penetrated.

The other method is, by taking a fowl in one hand, and a sharp strong
knife in the other; the man swims till he is directly opposite to the
alligator, and at the moment when it springs at the fowl the man dives
under the water, leaving: the fowl on the surface; he then holds up the
knife to the belly of the animal, and cuts it open, when the alligator
immediately rolls over on its back, and is carried away by the stream.
Much has been said about the surprizing agility of some of the Spanish
bull fighters, and I have often beheld feats that have astonished me;
but this diversion at Babaoyo, for so the natives consider it, evinced
more bravery and agility than I had ever before witnessed. The teeth of
the alligator are often taken from the jaws, and _yesqueros_, small
tinder boxes, which are generally carried in the pocket for the purpose
of lighting segars, are made from them; they are beautifully white and
equal to the finest ivory; some are four inches long, and I have seen
them most delicately carved, and mounted with gold or silver.

In fishing, the natives also evince extraordinary dexterity, both in the
river and on the sea shores. In the river I have seen them stand up in
small canoes, five or six feet long, and hold a net fastened to a
triangular frame, having a long pole affixed to it; they will dip the
net into the river, inclining the body backwards to preserve a perfect
balance on the canoe, sweep the net along the stream, and draw it to the
surface, raising the body gradually to an erect posture, so that the
equipoise is never lost; this indeed is a wonderful effort, because any
slight tremulous motion would upset the slender foundation on which they
stand. From similar canoes they will also throw the casting net,
_ataraya_, already described. At sea the natives, chiefly indians, mount
astride on logs of balsa wood, and take their large nets with them,
which they let drop; after which they fasten the cord of the two
extremities to the logs and paddle to the shore, dragging the net after
them, maintaining so exact a balance, that although the log is round
they very seldom fall off.

In the sea along the coast of the department la Manta, very large cuttle
fish abound, some of which are twelve feet long and seven feet broad; it
was owing to the accidents which happened by their enveloping and
killing the divers that the pearl fishery on this coast was abandoned,
although some very valuable pearls have been found. This lucrative
occupation, however, if attended with such precautions as science may
suggest, will probably be reassumed; and the expectations of the natives
may be realized, that Providence has made a reserve and hidden treasures
from the Spaniards, that the country may not be unworthy of notice when
they lose it.

The only mineral production in the province of Guayaquil of which any
mention is made, is emeralds, in the district of la Manta; but they have
not been sought for since the conquest; tradition states, that before
that period the indians possessed many of these gems, but it is probable
they obtained them from the neighbouring province de las Esmeraldas,
where I have seen several.

After the foregoing description of Guayaquil and its productions, it is
almost unnecessary to say any thing respecting its importance as a place
of commerce. It is likewise the principal, and till very lately (1824)
was the only port to the provinces of Quito, Cuenca, Paste, and Papayan,
all of which are extensive, well peopled, and comparatively rich
districts. The only thing wanting here is an increase of capital,
activity, and inhabitants; for the climate and the soil are calculated
to produce whatever is found between the tropics; and there is no doubt
but that this will at a future date become one of the most flourishing
countries in the new world.


     Journey from Guayaquil to Quito....Babaoyo....Road to Chimbo....
     _Cuesta de San Antonio_....Arrival at Huaranda....Triumphal Arch
     and Harangue....Description of Huaranda and Province of Chimbo....
     Chimboraso....Accident at la Ensillada....Road to San Juan....
     _Obrage_ of Indians....Arrival at Riobamba....Description of....
     Remains of Old Riobamba......Visit to an old Cacique......Province
     of Riobamba......Road to Ambato....Description of....Produce....
     Arrival at Tacunga....Description of....Earthquakes at....Ruins of
     Callo....Provincial Produce....Arrival at Chisinchi, Ensillada, and

The health of the count being re-established, we left Guayaquil under a
discharge of nineteen guns, some pieces of cannon having been placed in
front of the custom-house for this purpose. We remained two days at the
Bodegas de Babaoyo, a small village, where there is a custom-house for
the collection of the duties which are paid on goods, on entering or
leaving the province of Guayaquil.

The roads across the savana, notwithstanding the absence of rain for
three months, were in some places very bad, although a number of Indians
had been sent by the Corregidor of Huaranda to repair them; they were
mended by putting the trunks of trees in the deep, muddy places, and
laying the branches and leaves of trees on the top. A considerable
number of cattle were grazing on the open plains, some of which were
very fat. At noon we halted at a farm-house, where a splendid dinner was
provided for us by the cura of San Miguel de Chimbo, who had come here
to meet us. After dinner we proceeded on our journey to a small
farm-house, where every convenient accommodation had been prepared for
us, and we remained here during the night. On the following day we
arrived at the village of San Miguel, situated in a deep ravine,
commanding a beautiful prospect of the mountains, which gradually rose
above each other, till their heads were lost in the clouds. On our
arrival at this village we were met by about forty indian boys,
_cholos_, fantastically dressed; and the little fellows danced along the
sides of the street as we passed to the house prepared for our

On the following day, July 22d, a dreary prospect presented itself; this
was the ascent of the cuesta de San Antonio; we began to ascend at nine
o'clock in the morning, and at every step new difficulties and greater
dangers presented themselves; in some places the road ran along a narrow
ridge, with a precipice on each side; in others we had to travel along
_ladcras_, or narrow skirts of the mountain beaten down by travellers
into a path, with a deep valley on one side, and a perpendicular rock on
the other--a fall on one side threatening inevitable death, and on the
other broken arms or legs against the rough sides of the rock. In other
parts there was a narrow gully formed by the heavy rains and the transit
of mules, the perpendicular sides rising ten or fifteen feet above our
heads. To these may be added, that the whole of the road for six leagues
is composed of abrupt acclivities or rapid descents, while the track in
which the mules tread was composed of deep furrows, called _camellones_,
filled with mud; some of them were more than two feet deep, so that the
belly of the mule and the feet of the rider were dragged over the ridges
that divide the furrows: these indeed serve as steps, and in some degree
may be accounted a security; but if a mule should happen to fall, or
even to stumble, the danger of being thrown headlong down a precipice is
rather frightful. In some places there are two roads; the one by which
the mules descend has no camellones, or furrows, down which the mules
seem to prefer sliding to stepping down the others. When at the top,
these sagacious animals halt for a short time, shake themselves, and
snort, as if conscious of the hazard of the undertaking; they then draw
their hind feet forward, place their fore legs in a slanting position,
and approach very gradually to the beginning of the descent, when with
uncommon velocity they slide on their haunches to the bottom. Their
dexterity in the crooked places is truly astonishing; for by a motion of
the body they incline themselves first to one side then to the other,
keeping the most perfect equilibrium, which is the only means of saving
them and their riders from being hurled headlong forward, or dashed to
pieces by a fall. During all this time the rider has only to sit still,
to lay the reins on the mule's neck, and trust to its sagacity and the
recommendation given by its master; for many mules are kept in this
neighbourhood, and are highly esteemed for their dexterity in sliding
down this part of the road; fortunately for us, being in company with
the Captain-general of the kingdom, all the best mules were collected
for our use.

At two o'clock in the afternoon we were cheered with _se ha acabado la
cuesta_, we are at the end of the mountain road. This place is called
_parcara_, a gate or entrance; it also signifies a fortified place; such
this probably was before the conquest, and such it was made in 1811 by
the Quiteños, to prevent the entrance of the Peruvian troops. We all
alighted, and shook some of the dirt from our clothes, after which we
were politely received by Don Gaspar Morales, the Corregidor of
Huaranda, the two alcaldes, several officers, and other gentlemen of the
province; but what proved far more welcome, was a relay of horses.


_Engraved for Stevenson's Narrative of South America._]

After our saddles had been placed on our new steeds we mounted, and
proceeded in regular procession, two indians, with silver trumpets,
going before. At the distance of a league from the town we were met by
the brawny vicar, mounted on the finest mule I ever beheld; indeed, such
an animal was quite necessary, when it is considered what an unwieldy
mass it had to carry: the circumstance made several of us smile, and we
could scarcely refrain from laughter when the corregidor presented him
to his excellency, saying, "the vicar of Huaranda, Don Juan Antonio
Maria de la Magdalena Jaramillo, Pacheco, y Tavera." Heaven help us,
said I, to an officer who stood near me, how I pity the parson's mule.

We had not proceeded far when a troop of militia cavalry met us; these
tatterdemalions would certainly have borne away the prize had they been
put in competition with the infantry of Sir John Falstaff; and could I
have chosen for myself, hang me if I would have entered Huaranda in
their company.

The next that made their appearance were the indian dancers, singing
their _cachuas_ in _Quichua_, welcoming the arrival of the governor with
the most discordant yellings, and such extravagant expressions as beggar
all description. At the entrance of the town there was a triumphal arch!
This was composed of canes, decorated with curtains of all colours and
descriptions of stuffs; ribbons for streamers, and flags made of pocket
handkerchiefs; silver plates, dishes, spoons, and forks were hung round
it. When his excellency had arrived close to it, a curtain was withdrawn
in the upper story, and an indian in the uniform of an officer, his
coarse black hair stiffened with tallow and flour, still incapable of
being turned into a curl, but standing upright in every direction,
advanced to the front, made a most profound bow, and then stepped back;
after this he looked up, and exclaimed, "_angil bello, daja el papel_,"
"beautiful angel, give me the paper," but in such a broken dialect, that
nothing, save an acquaintance with the Spanish language, can afford any
idea. Several white muslin handkerchiefs, which were tied in festoons
above his head in imitation of clouds, opened, and down fell, or rather
was lowered with a rope, an indian angel, his head as thickly cased in
tallow and flour as that of his invocater; he delivered a folded paper,
and was again dragged up into the muslin clouds, while the delighted
multitude expressed their approbation with shouts of joy. The orator
re-advanced, and read his harangue with all the rhetoric and graceful
attitudes of a Bombasto. His address was succeeded by the throwing up of
innumerable rockets, amid the sound of trumpets and other music
stationed on one side of the arch; this was followed by our arrival at
the house of the Corregidor, where a most sumptuous dinner was on the

Huaranda is the residence of the Corregidor, or governor of the province
of Chimbo, and may be considered the capital of that province. The town
is large but poor, the inhabitants being chiefly occupied as carriers.
Their wealth consists in their droves of mules, which during the summer,
when the road is open, are employed in conveying merchandize between
Quito and Guayaquil. The climate at this place is remarkably cold, owing
to its elevation above the sea and the vicinity of Chimboraso, which is
seen from the town, and has the appearance of a huge white cloud
piercing the blue vault of heaven.

The province of Chimbo has an extensive breed of mules in the valleys;
barley, potatoes, and maize are cultivated by the indians in various
parts, and some sugar cane in the bottoms of the ravines. At a place
called Tomabela is a spring of salt water, which is so completely
saturated that it forms large crusts on the stones against which the
water dashes, and along the sides of the small stream; the indians also
put the water into troughs, and stir it with a wooden spatula; the salt
then crystallizes on the sides of the trough, and is taken out; this
salt is packed in small baskets and sent to different parts of the
kingdom, as well as to Peru; it is a specific for the _cotos_,
bronchocele, by merely eating food seasoned with it. This valuable
production is delicately white, easily pulverised, and very slightly

Having taken some refreshment at Huaranda, we proceeded on the following
morning to the Pajonal, at the foot of the majestic Chimboraso, the
giant of the Andes. The day was beautifully clear, and the view of this
lofty mountain highly interesting; we had seen it at the mouth of the
Guayaquil river, as well as at that city, a distance of forty leagues,
where we were almost suffocated with heat; but now we felt almost
perished with cold: the kingdom of lofty palms and shady plantains was
in four days exchanged for a region where vegetation is reduced to its
lowest ebb--the dwarf pined mosses.

A _tambo_, resting house, stands on the plain at the foot of Chimboraso;
this had been prepared for our reception; and to contribute in a degree
to make it more warm, or rather to keep out some of the cold, the inside
had been neatly covered with long dry grass, called _pajon_, which grows
on this plain. Owing to an accident, the grass caught fire in one of the
rooms, at two o'clock in the morning; we immediately ran from our beds,
or rather ran with our beds, for we dragged them with us, not a little
pleased, in this dilemma, that we had all of us retired to rest without
undressing; notwithstanding this we were dreadfully pinched by the
frosty air blowing from Chimboraso on one side, or Carguairaso on the
other. After the first blaze of the pajon had subsided, the indians
entered the house, and dragged out a few things which had been placed
inside, but fortunately the principal part of our luggage had been left
on the outside. We waited till morning, sitting on our mattresses, and
wrapped up in our ponchos and blankets, as near the fire as we dared to

In the morning we proceeded on our journey, winding round the foot of
Chimboraso, till the valley of San Juan opened on our right; we
descended along a very rugged steep path, and at twelve o'clock arrived
at the _obrage_ of San Juan, belonging to Don Martin Chiriboga, where we
remained till the following morning. I here beheld the South American
indian reduced to the most abject state of servitude and bondage,
compared to which the slave belonging to the plantations on the coast of
Peru, is free indeed.

These unfortunate beings, robbed of their country, are merely allowed to
exist in it; because the plunderers would only possess a barren waste
without their labour: the fertility of the soil would be useless without
beings to harvest the crops and manufacture the produce; the gold and
the silver must sleep in the mountains if no human beings were employed
to extract it. Alas! these beings are the degraded original proprietors,
on whom the curse of conquest has fallen with all its concomitant
hardships and penury. A miserable pittance of fourteen dollars a year is
the wages of a man who works in this cloth manufactory; and ten that of
him who tends a flock of sheep; and for this miserable pay they are
subject to the whip and to other corporal punishments: their home is a
hut, composed of rude stones placed one upon another, and thatched with
the long grass from the foot of Chimboraso: here, hunger, misery, and
wretchedness seem to have fixed their abode, at the sight of which pity
would wring tears from the heart of oppression; but pity has no part in
the composition of the oppressors of the Children of the Sun!

Some of the cloth made at this obrage was the finest I had ever seen
manufactured in America, but this was by a transgression of the colonial
laws, which had established the precise quality of colonial
manufactures. Happy at leaving behind that misery which I could only
compassionate, we left San Juan in the morning, and arrived at two
o'clock in the afternoon at Riobamba, where some very neatly painted
triumphal arches had been erected.

Riobamba is the capital of the province of the same name; the old town
was founded in 1533, by the Adelantado Sebastian Benalcasar; it
contained twenty thousand inhabitants, two parish churches, four
convents, two nunneries, and a hospital; but it was completely destroyed
by an earthquake in 1797, when with very few exceptions the whole
population perished, besides a much larger number in different parts of
the province, and perhaps no remains of these terrible convulsions of
nature are more awful than those at Riobamba. Some of the ruins of the
old town may be seen on the acclivities of the mountains on each side
the valley, where the new town now stands, separated from each other at
least a league and a half; and I was shewn some ruins on each side of
the valley which the inhabitants assured me had formed part of one
edifice, particularly the two steeples which had belonged to the
Franciscan church; these were on one side, and a portion of the body of
the church on the other.

The face of the country was entirely changed, so much so, that after the
shock the surviving inhabitants, and those of the neighbouring
provinces, could not tell where their houses formerly stood, or where
their friends had formerly lived; mountains rose where cultivated
valleys had existed; the rivers disappeared or changed their course, and
plains usurped the situation of the mountains and ravines. The face of
the country was so completely altered, that no one knows the site of the
largest farm in the province, belonging to Zamora.

The new town is built on a sandy plain, much below the level of the
surrounding elevated plains, which are called _paramos_; its climate is
very agreeable, and calculated to produce all kinds of European fruits,
but at present only a few trees are to be seen in the orchards or
gardens. I spent the evening that we remained at Riobamba with an old
Indian Cacique, the only person whom I ever saw who could knot and
interpret the meaning of the knots of the quipus. He boasted of being a
descendant of the _huasta puncay_, the ancient lord of the surrounding
country. He had an account of the peopling of that part of the territory
of Maynas, to the eastward of the Cordilleras; first by a colony of
puncay indians, who had become too numerous for the country which they
inhabited; and secondly by part of the tribe, after they had been routed
by Benalcasar, on the plain of Trocajas, where they opposed the entrance
of the Spaniards. He also had a tradition that, a short time before the
arrival of the Spaniards, a colony of monkeys crossed the mountains from
the westward, and infested the country, till they were all destroyed by
the indians; and that on the arrival of the first Spaniards, the natives
considered them as a migration of destructive animals, and determined to
prevent their entrance; but on being defeated, many left the country
and joined the colony in Maynas. My kind host assured me, that the
province of Riobamba contained extremely rich mines of gold and silver,
and that from undoubted tradition this province sent more silver and
gold for the purpose of ransoming Atahualpa than any other in the

The province produces annually about four thousand quintals of sheep's
wool, which is manufactured into different kinds of cloth; its other
productions are wheat, maize, barley, potatoes, arracachas, and European
culinary vegetables. The capital is so situated, that it is not likely
ever to become a place of commercial notoriety.

Our next stage brought us to the town of Ambato, the road we travelled
being very irregular and disagreeable, owing as well to the coldness of
the climate as to the difficult ascents and descents; but the view of
our resting place cheered us. As soon as we descended into the valley of
Ambato, we found a triumphal arch, covered with ripe strawberries; these
had been plucked with their stalks, and then fastened to cords of maguey
fibres; large bunches were hanging down from the top, and in different
parts festoons and other ornaments were tastefully displayed, and the
fragrance was peculiarly delightful. Here the Corregidor and other
gentlemen received us, and accompanied us to the town; part of the road
being confined with hedges of _tunas_, rosemary bushes, magueys, and
rose trees, with other vegetables belonging to the old and the new
world: the natives of such distant parts of the globe were here blended,
and were thriving in the most luxuriant manner. Before we arrived at the
town we passed under two other arches covered with strawberries, and for
more than a league the indian boys and girls danced along with us;
stopping till we had passed the arches, which they immediately pulled
down and stripped of their fruit, and then followed us running and
singing, with long wreaths of strawberries hanging about them.

The town of Ambato is very pleasantly situated on one side of a river;
the churches and houses are generally neat and all new, for the old town
was completely demolished by the earthquake in 1797. Ambato is the
capital of the province of the same name, which for the greater part
enjoys a very mild climate and a most fertile soil. The crops of wheat,
maize, barley, quinua, and other pulse are extremely abundant, and of an
excellent quality. Many exquisite fruits are grown here, such as
apples, pears, peaches, apricots, and strawberries; these are produced
in great abundance; indeed many of the plains are covered with the
plants, and any person who wishes to purchase some, pays to the
proprietor of the ground, medio real, one-sixteenth of a dollar, and
either goes himself, or sends a person to gather them for him during a
whole day. Sugar cane thrives extremely well here, although it is four
years before it is ripe: remarkably fine sugar is made from it, superior
to any other that can be procured in this neighbourhood; but the
quantity is small.

Cochineal, called here pilcay, is found in abundance in the leaves of
the cactus, and is collected by the natives for the purpose of dyeing.
The name given by the Spaniards to this valuable insect is _cochinilla_,
signifying a little pig; because it bears a resemblance to one, in the
same manner as in some parts of England it is supposed that the
woodlouse resembles a hog, and is hence called an "old sow." The cactus
on which the cochinilla feeds is not so prickly as the tuna, which in
the West Indies is called the prickly pear; the leaves are very green,
as well as the rind of the fruit, but the inside is of a most beautiful
red colour, similar to that of the cochinilla; it is very palatable, and
when eaten communicates its own colour to the urine. Little attention
is paid here to the cultivation of the cactus, or nopal, as it is called
in Mexico, or to the insect itself, consequently the quality of the dye
is not of the first rate; but were both properly attended to, there is
no doubt but the pilcay of Ambato would equal the cochinilla of Oaxaca.
Instead of killing the insect after taking it from the cactus, by
placing it in an earthen jar, and exposing it to a heat sufficiently
strong to destroy its vitality, and then preserving it in bags, as the
Mexican indians do, it is ground or bruised to the consistency of paste,
and often adulterated with a composition made of the juice of the fruit,
and flour; indeed the Mexican indians do the same, and they can imitate
the animal so perfectly, that it is difficult to discover the
counterfeit. The best method to detect it is, as an extensive dealer
informed me in Mexico, to put a quantity of cochinilla into warm water,
and let it remain twenty-four hours, then to stir it about, and strain
the liquor through a hair sieve sufficiently fine to prevent the passage
of the insect; allow the liquid to repose, and if any sediment be
deposited, the cochinilla contains a portion of counterfeit matter, the
quantity of which may be discovered by drying the sediment, and
comparing the weight to that of the cochinilla placed in infusion.

Among the delicacies found at Ambato is excellent bread, equal to any in
the world, and several kinds of cakes, particularly one called
_allullas_, of which many are made and sent to Quito, Guayaquil, and
other places. All the necessary articles of food are reasonably cheap
and very good, owing to which, and to its agreeable climate, many
persons choose to make this their place of residence.

In the year 1698 the town was destroyed by an eruption of Cotopaxi,
accompanied by one of Carguairaso, which ejected torrents of a hot muddy
matter in such quantities as to inundate several of the neighbouring
valleys. On the south side of the present town there still remains a
monument of this dreadful visitation; a large chasm is seen in the rock
five feet wide, and more than a league in length.

On leaving Ambato, a short stage of five leagues brought us to
Llactacunga, or as it is commonly called Tacunga. On our entrance we
were shocked at the sight of heaps of ruins, caused by the earthquake in
1797; the churches and convents were quite demolished, and their remains
exist in the condition in which that frightful convulsion left them.
Tacunga is the capital of the province of the same name, and the
residence of the Corregidor; the plain on which it stands is evidently
of volcanic origin, or has been covered with volcanic productions thrown
from the neighbouring mountains. The town contains about three thousand
inhabitants; it has a parish church, and the remains of the convents of
San Francisco, Santo Domingo, San Augustin, and la Merced; of a college
of Jesuits, and a nunnery of barefooted Carmelite nuns; these after the
earthquake were removed to Quito. The churches and houses are built of
pumice stone, so light that it will float in water; it may be procured
in almost any part of the neighbourhood. Tacunga was completely ruined
by earthquakes, probably by shocks caused by the subterraneous
operations of the volcano of Cotopaxi, which is very near to the town;
these happened in 1698, when only one church out of nine, and four
houses out of seven hundred, were left standing; in the years 1743 and
1757 it was entirely demolished.

In the earthquake of 1743, a Jesuit, Father Vallejo, was in the church
when the roof fell in; he remained under the ruins till the third day,
when he was taken out unhurt; but his mental faculties were so
completely deranged, that he had forgotten his own name, nor did he
recollect any of his most particular friends, and although a priest,
when his breviary was presented to him he could not read it, but
appeared quite childish; he afterwards resided in the college of Quito,
but his memory had so entirely abandoned him, that he never could
recollect any thing that had occurred to him before the earthquake, not
even his studies, and he was afterwards taught to read and to celebrate
a votive mass. This extraordinary instance of the effects produced by
fright is so well authenticated in Quito, that the fact appears to be

On the same plain on which Tacunga stands are the remains of an indian
building, called the Inca's palace of Callo; but nothing except the
foundation can be traced. It appears to have consisted of a large court
and three extensive halls, forming three sides of an enclosure. It was
built of hard black stones, unlike to any now found in the
neighbourhood; owing to which, and to the similitude which the wrought
stone (having one convex surface) bears to that used in Peru, little
doubt exists of its having been built after the conquest of this country
by Huaina Capac.

Excepting in some few valleys the climate of this province is cold; its
productions are wheat, barley, maize, and potatoes. Here is but little
fruit beside wild cherries, called _capulis_, which grow in great
abundance, and when ripe constitute the principal food of the indians,
to which we may add a few apples and some peaches. Nitre is found in
several parts of the province, and a considerable quantity is
manufactured. Some of the estates in this district are very large, and
abound in horned cattle, from which good butter and cheese are procured.

We left Tacunga on the morning after our arrival, and remained at a farm
called Chisinchi, and the next day we arrived at a farm house, called la
Ensillada, belonging to the Marquis of Villa Orellana, where all the
authorities and persons of distinction of Quito were assembled to
compliment their President and Captain-general on his arrival. I shall
not give an account of the ceremonies observed on the following day,
because they in a great measure resembled those practised in Lima, on
the arrival of a Viceroy.

It will be observed, that the towns we passed through on our route from
Guayaquil to Quito are generally the capitals of the provinces or
districts; there are other roads, but the different Corregidors or
Governors wished to honour their President by receiving him at their
respective houses; indeed, care has been taken to establish the capitals
on the road, for the accommodation both of travellers and of the
Governors themselves.

The principal population of these provinces is composed of tributary
indians and mestisos, some few Spaniards, and white creoles. The natives
appear very industrious and hospitable; but I had not a good opportunity
of judging; however, this is the character which I have heard of them
from others.


     Quito, Foundation and Situation....Plasa Mayor....President's
     Palace, Bishop's Palace and Cathedral....Parishes....Convents and
     Public Buildings....Jesuit's College....Convent of San Francisco
     ....San Diego....Santa Prisca....Santa Clara....University....
     College of San Luis....of San Fernando....Houses....Government....
     Nobility....Population....White Creoles....Occupation of and
     Education....Character of....Mestisos, Persons, Character,
     Employment....Indians....Persons, Character, Employment....Dress of
     Creoles....Of Mestisos....Of Indians....Diversions, Bull-fight and
     Masquerade....Dancing....Music....Religious Procession....Market,
     Meat, Fruit and Vegetables....Spirituous Liquors....Ices,
     Confectionary....Cheese....Trade and Commerce.

Quito was founded in the year 1534 by Sebastian Benalcasar, with the
dedicatory title of San Francisco; and in 1541 was created a city by the
Emperor Carlos V. It stands in a ravine; the mountain Pichincha being on
the west side, and a range of hills called Chimbacalle on the east; to
the south is the plain of Turupampa or Turubamba, between which and the
city is the small mountain el Panecillo, and to the north the plain of
Añaquito, generally named the Egido. The streets, which run north and
south, are on a pretty level plain, but those which cross them rise
towards the skirts of Pichincha, and descend on the east side of the
city towards the small river of Machangara, which flows between the town
and the hills of Chimbacalle.

Near the centre of the city is the plasa mayor, or principal square,
besides which are those of San Francisco, Santo Domingo, and the
Butchery, _Carniceria_. On the west side of the plasa mayor is the
palace of the President, a gloomy looking building, having an upper
story; it stands on an elevation of nine feet above the plasa, having a
terrace or area, with a stone wall in front, and two flights of steps to
ascend it. The palace contains the halls belonging to the royal
audience, the treasury, and the gaol, together with the apartments
occupied by the President, the offices of the secretaries, and the
archives. On the east side, opposite to the palace, is the corporation
house in the centre, having a very neat stone front, with private houses
on each side; it also has upper stories with balconies. On the north
side of the square is the Bishop's palace, with a stone arched entrance,
and some private houses, under the balconies of which is a capacious
piazza. On the opposite side appears the cathedral, a very plain
building, with a steeple at one corner; indeed, this edifice is mean,
compared to other temples in the city, and contains nothing worthy of
particular attention except some paintings, executed by natives of the
city, and an effigy of Saint Peter, the workmanship of Caspicara, an
indian of this place. In the centre of the square there is a handsome
brass fountain.

Quito contains six parish churches: el Sagrario, belonging to the
cathedral, Santa Barbara, San Blas, San Sebastian, San Roque, San
Marcos, and Santa Prisca. Of these the Sagrario is a handsome stone
edifice, containing some good sculpture and paintings, executed by
natives. Here are also two convents of Dominican Friars, three of
Franciscan, two of Agustinian, and two Mercedarian; the college of the
ex-Jesuits, two nunneries of Carmelites, one of la Concepcion, one of
Santa Clara, and one of Santa Catalina, besides a house of recluse
females, called el Beaterio. There is an hospital under the care of the
Bethlemite Friars, and part of the Jesuits' college has been given to
those of the order of San Camilo. Each of these religious houses has a
church, and some of them one or more chapels attached to them; besides
which there are other public chapels, for most of the nobility have
private ones, _oratorios_, in their houses, and there are others
belonging to the colleges, the gaols, the penitentiary, the _hospicio_,
and other public places.

Among the conventual buildings worthy of notice is the ex-Jesuits'
college. The front of the church is of stone, of most exquisite
workmanship; the Corinthian pillars on each side the central door are
entwined with wreaths of roses and lilies, so delicately executed, that
a person can introduce his hand between the wreath and the pillar; and
in many places pass it along the semi-circumference of the pillar before
the wreath comes in contact with it; these six pillars are thirteen feet
high, and each one is cut out of a single block of white freestone, of
which material the whole of the front is built. In two small niches are
placed the busts of St. Peter and St. Paul; underneath that of Peter are
the emblems of what he was before he became an Apostle; a small bark and
a net, the meshes and folds of which are detached from the principal
stone, on which several fishes are cut, one of which is quite detached
both from the net and the stone, is loose, and may be moved by
introducing a finger between the meshes of the net. Above the bust in
alto relievo there is a chair, mitre, crosier, and two keys. On the
opposite side, under the bust of Paul, in alto relievo, there is a wolf,
which having torn the skin from a lamb, except from the head, stands
with his fore feet on the mangled body, and holds one part of the skin
in his mouth, his head being raised and his ears pricked up, as if in
the attitude of listening; the whole of this emblematic representation
is most delicately touched, and evinces the chisel of a master. Above
the bust is a vase, standing on several books. The front also contains
in niches a statue of the Virgin Mary, and four of St. Ignacio Loyola,
the founder of the order; St. Francisco de Borja, St. Juan Francisco
Regis, and St. Francisco Xavier, the Apostle of the Indies; also two
busts, one of St. Luis Gonzaga, the other of St. Stanislaus Kotska, all
of whom belonged to the order. The whole of this beautifully delicate
piece of architecture was executed by indians, under the direction of
Father Sanches, a native of Quito; a work which will become more
estimable as it becomes more known to the lovers of the fine arts.

The interior of the church is from a model of that of Jesus, at Rome; it
has a grave solemn appearance; the pillars are square, supporting an
unornamented groined roof, having a small cupola in the centre. The
interior of this temple was richly ornamented before the expulsion of
the order, but it has been despoiled of its most costly contents; among
these was a custodium, which is at present in the royal chapel of the
Escurial. One side of it was composed of diamonds set in highly polished
silver, the other of emeralds set in gold; although the whole only
measured two feet eight inches in height, it was valued at eight hundred
and seventy thousand dollars; on the bottom was MS. London, 1721. Of
this jewel there is a drawing and description in the sacristy of the

One of the entrances to the college is through a beautiful stone doorway
of most exquisite workmanship, of the Doric order. The library contains
upwards of twenty thousand volumes, among which are many very ancient
works. The books are placed in different compartments, having emblematic
designs over them, indicative of the science on which they treat; the
whole appearance is that of an amphitheatre, the books being placed so
as to form three ranges or stories. There is a gallery along the top of
the first and second, with a balustrade in front of each, and on the
tops of these there are desks to lay the books on, for the convenience
of reading, and inkstands for the purpose of making any extracts. One
great peculiarity respecting the room is, that although rats and mice
abound in every other part of the building, they have not entered this;
probably on account of some ingredient put into the mortar with which it
is plastered. In the refectory there is a good painting of the Marriage
at Canaan, but nearly all the most valuable pictures have been taken
away; a list of them only being left in the library. All the walls of
the building are of brick, of a very good quality; the door and window
frames are of freestone, as well as all the pillars and arches in the

Part of this building has been given, with the church, to the Agonisante
Friars; part was converted into halls for the University, and the
remainder into barracks for the soldiers. In these premises the first
martyrs to South American Emancipation were sacrificed, on the 2d of
August, 1811.

The convent of San Francisco is the largest I ever saw; the outer walls
are of brick, but all the cloisters are of stone; it stands at the foot
of the mountain Pichincha, and partly on some arches which cross a chasm
in the rock. One of the cloisters has a range of cells cut in the rock,
the roofs of which are level with the ground. The front of the church
stands on a terrace, twelve feet above the level of the plasa, from
which an elegant flight of stone steps leads to the door of the church;
the lower half of this flight having a projecting circular front, and
the upper being the reverse, in the middle is formed a large circular
area or landing place. The terrace is paved with flat stones of
different shapes and figures, but they are placed with such exquisite
art, that the interstices between them are scarcely perceptible. The
façade of the church is of the Tuscan order; it is massy yet neat, and
is crowned with two handsome tower steeples. The interior of the church
is very magnificent; the body is in the figure of a cross, and over the
intersection is a handsome round tower or cupola. The high altar is
richly ornamented, and the presbitery being elevated five feet above the
floor of the church has a magnificent appearance; all religious duties
are performed here with the greatest solemnity. The choir above the
principal entrance is supported by an elliptical arch, which crosses the
central aisle of the church, besides two groined arches, which cross the
two laterel aisles. The roof is supported by a double row of slender
circular pillars, and is of beautiful panel work. In the choir
considerable labour has been bestowed in carving the stalls and the
reading desk. Here are two good organs, the one Italian, the other built
in Quito, by a native. In the church and sacristy are many beautiful
paintings and pieces of sculpture, by native artists, particularly an
effigy of San Francisco, painted by Miguel de Santiago; a Saint John,
and a Magdalen, by the same, and a full-length _Ecce Homo_, by

Adjoining the church are two chapels that open on the terrace, the one
is dedicated to San Buenaventura, the other was built at the expence of
an indian called Cantuña, dedicated to Nuestra Señora de los Dolores; in
this there is an image of the Virgin Mary, most exquisitely finished;
the name of the sculptor is unknown, but it is believed to have been
Caspicara, an indian of Quito.

Although the churches and convents of Santo Domingo, San Augustin, and
la Merced, are elegantly built of stone and brickwork, and contain many
things worthy of notice, I shall not enter into a minute description of
them. The reclusion convent of San Diego, belonging to the Franciscans,
is with regard to its situation (being in a ravine in the suburbs of the
city) nearly hidden among the trees and rocks, and most romantically
retired; the strictest attention was paid to its building, and it
resembles in every point a sequestered hermitage, which renders it
worthy the notice of a stranger. It is perhaps the most perfect house
for religious retirement and contemplation in the new world. The
surrounding scenery of mountains traversing above the clouds; the
pleasing verdure of their skirts, while everlasting snows crown their
hoary heads; a meandering stream seen first to burst from the breast of
its rocky parent, and then to glide down the ravine in search of its
level, now and then interrupted in its course by abrupt turnings,
clusters of trees, or heaps of stones; it seems to say, man, thy course
is like mine, obstacles may intervene, and may appear for a while to
retard thy pilgrimage to the grave; but thy stay on earth is short, thy
life like my current, on the acclivity of this mountain, is continually
rushing towards the last goal.

In this small convent the duties of a monastic life are strictly and
most religiously observed; the pale friars clad in grey sackcloth, their
sandals on their half bare feet, their habitual silence, all conspire to
confirm an opinion of the sanctity of the place, where men seem but to
live in preparation for another life. I have often paced these cloisters
on an evening, listening to the distant notes of the organ in the
church, and the solemn chaunt of the friars, with such reverential awe,
as I never experienced in any other place, but which, to be known, must
be practised--must be felt.

In one of the principal streets there is a beautiful stone arch,
opposite to the Carmelite church, under which is an altar dedicated to
the Virgin Mary, where mass is celebrated every Saturday. This building,
which has the appearance of a triumphal arch, is called de la Reyna de
los Angeles.

In the suburbs, on the north side of the city, is a small chapel, called
de la Vera Crus, and here was interred the body of Blasco Nuñes Vela, a
Knight of Santiago, who was the first person to whom the title of
Viceroy was granted. His conduct in Lima was so rigorous and
overbearing, that the royal audience deposed him, and embarked him at
Callao for Panama; but he persuaded the captain of the vessel to land
him at Tumbes, from whence he proceeded to Quito, and being pursued by
Gonsalo Pizarro to the plain of Añaquito, adjoining the city, a battle
was fought in 1546, in which the Viceroy was slain, and his body was
conveyed to this chapel, where his remains were interred.

Quito is the residence of the provincial prelates of the four orders of
San Francisco, Santo Domingo, San Augstin, and la Merced, all the
convents in the Presidency being subject to them.

The church belonging to the nunnery of Santa Clara is remarkable for its
elliptical dome, the transverse axis being forty-one feet, the conjugate
twenty-six, and the spring of the arch nine feet two inches; it is built
of stone, and the inner surface is entirely plain. Seen from the floor
of the church, the dome or ceiling, which is thirty-six feet high,
appears almost flat; this beautiful piece of architecture was entirely
executed by indians in the year 1767.

Quito has always been a place of celebrity for its great number of
students; it was called the monster with two heads, because it had two
Universities. That of San Gregorio Magno, under the superintendence of
the Jesuits, was founded in 1586, by Felipe II., and enriched in 1621
with all the privileges granted to the celebrated university of
Salamanca, in Spain. The other, that of Santo Tomas de Aquino, is under
the superintendence of the order of Dominicans; but after the expulsion
of the Jesuits the two were united by a royal charter of Carlos III.,
under the latter dedicatory title. The two colleges of San Buenaventura,
of the Franciscan order, and San Fulgencio, of the Augstin order, had
the privilege of conferring the degree of Doctor, but owing to several
irregularities, such as presenting the degree to favourites, or for
money, they have been deprived of this privilege.

The meetings of the University are held in the college of the
ex-Jesuits; and here, unlike to the university of San Marcos, at Lima,
and many in Europe, all the professors have both to lecture and to
teach, their places not being titled sinecures.

The professorships are two for theology, two for canons, two for
jurisprudence, and one for arts. There is one also for medicine, but no
professor. After a course of lectures the chair becomes vacant, and is
obtained by opposition and public disputation. All those who hold the
degree of doctor in the faculty of the vacant chair have an elective
vote, as well as all the professors in the triennial election of the
Rector of the University; but these elections are referred to the
President of the Government, who, as vice patron, has the privilege to
reject or confirm them.

The degree of bachelor is granted to all those who undergo a public
examination, after studying arts one year; and that of master to those
who finish the course, and are approved in their examination. The
degree of doctor in the different faculties is obtained by a private
examination of the faculty, consisting of the rector of the university,
and four examiners in the faculty. The different degrees and faculties
are distinguished by the different colours of the badges, in the same
manner as in the university of Lima.

The college of San Luis was endowed with the title of _Colegio mayor_,
by Felipe V., being the only one holding this title in South America; it
is also a royal college, and an ecclesiastical seminary. The habit is a
light brown _opa_, or gown, and a crimson _beca_, or shoulder band,
similar to those of Santo Toribio, at Lima; also a black cap, having
four pointed mitre shaped corners; the royal arms, in silver, are worn
on the breast on the left side, fastened to the beca. The college of San
Fernando has the title of a royal college; the habit is a black opa, and
a white beca, bearing the royal arms in gold, and a square cardinal's
cap. The former is under the immediate direction of a secular clergyman,
as rector, with a vice-rector and assistants; the latter under that of
the Dominicans, but both are under the patronage of the president of the
government. The college of San Luis has produced several eminent
literary characters, and several archbishops and bishops: Mexia, who in
the late cortes of Spain was called the American Cicero, was educated in
this college.

The houses belonging to the principal inhabitants have generally an
upper story, but those belonging to the lower classes have only the
ground floor; they are for the most part built of adobes or stone, and
are tiled. The families of the higher classes reside in the upper story,
the lower being destined to the servants, and serve also as coach
houses, store-rooms, and other like purposes. The use of _estrados_, one
part of the floor raised above the rest, is as common here as at
Conception, and the females appear to be uneasy when seated on a chair.
The furniture, owing to a want of cabinet makers, is a mixture of
antique and modern pieces, just as they can be procured; yet some of the
houses, particularly that of the Count de San Jose, is most elegantly

A fashion prevails here of having a magnificent bed at one end of the
estrado; some are of crimson velvet, lined with satin, trimmed with
broad gold lace, and a deep gold fringe, with a cover of gold and silver
embroidery, on velvet; the sheets and pillow covers are trimmed with
fine Brussels lace, or equally fine lace made in Quito. Some of these
beds have a handsome painting beyond them, or in some cases a
transparency, which, when the curtains are withdrawn, has a very good

The government of Quito and its province is vested in a president, a
royal audience, composed of a regent, four judges, _oidores_, and a
fiscal; this tribunal was first established in 1563; it was abolished in
1718, and re-established in 1739. The President enjoys all the
privileges of a Viceroy, except in the military department, in which he
is subject to the Viceroy of Santa Fé de Bogota. The corporation,
_cavildo_, is composed of two _Alcaldes ordinarios_, eight regidores,
and other officers, as at Lima. The Indians are subject to an _alcalde_,
mayor, who is an indian, elected by the city corporation; they have also
an advocate paid by the King, who is called the Protector of the
Indians. The royal treasury has an accomptant, a treasurer, a fiscal,
and minor officers. The _aduana_, custom-house, has an accomptant,
treasurer, and minor officers. Besides these are the tribunals of the
crusade, of the effects of those who die intestate, of posts, and of

Quito was made a Bishop's see in 1545, and has been the residence of
twenty-two bishops (1810). The chapter, _cavildo ecclesiastico_, is
composed of the dean, archdeacon, chanter, treasurer, doctoral,
penitentiary, magistral, three canons, four prebends, and two

Among the inhabitants of this city there are six marquises, three
counts, and one viscount, besides several families of distinguished
nobility. The family of the present Conde de Puñelrostre, a grandee of
the first class, who is a native of Quito, and the lineal descendants of
San Francisco de Borja, Duke of Gandia, also reside here. Quito is the
birth-place of one archbishop, eight bishops, six venerables, and
several persons of eminent literature, among whom, Don Pedro Maldonado
Sotomayor is worthy of notice. He was a profound mathematician, became
professor of the sciences at Paris, and was elected a fellow of the
Royal Society of London, in which city he died. Among those of note at
present (1810), Dr. Rodrigues and Dr. Arauco and la Señora Doña Mariana
Mateus de Ascasubi are esteemed literary characters. Quito was likewise
the birth-place of the unfortunate Atahualpa, the last Inca of Peru.

The population of this city amounts to about seventy-five thousand
souls, and may be divided into three nearly equal parts: whites,
mestisos, and indians. Here are very few negroes or descendants of that
race, the indians being generally engaged as the household servants, in
which capacity they are called _huasi camas_.

The principal employment of persons of rank is to visit their estates,
on which they generally reside during part of the year, particularly in
harvest time. The white inhabitants of moderately easy circumstances,
are farmers, merchants, or follow a literary career in the church, at
the bar, or are employed by the government. The young men belonging to
these classes are usually brought up at college, either as collegians or
day students, the education of these being gratis. Much judgment, as
well as vivacity, are displayed in the scholastic disputations, and
nothing is wanting but greater liberality in the professors, or rather a
removal of all ecclesiastical restrictions, with a better selection of
books and instruments, to enable the university of Quito to vie with
some of those of the most polished countries in Europe. If the young
men, educated in the colleges do not become such adepts in science as
might be expected, it is their misfortune, not their fault. The female
children of this class are generally educated under the eye of their
mothers, and except needle-work in its different branches, and the
management of household affairs; reading and writing are all they are
taught. For their skill in playing on the guitar and psaltery, of which
they are remarkably fond, they are principally indebted to their own
application, or to the direction of some female friend.

The white inhabitants are generally of a moderate stature, of a lively
countenance, and fair complexion. Like the white natives of Chile they
are narrow across the chest, to which configuration the frequency of
pulmonic affections may perhaps be attributed. In society they are
loquacious, frank, and courteous, particularly the females; in their
houses remarkably hospitable; and to strangers they are kind to an
excess. The only trait in the character of a Quiteño which militates in
any degree against his virtues, is a sort of fickleness or inconstancy;
they are indeed always ready for a change. The assertion of a friend I
found to be very true: "if," said he, "we have a penitential procession
in the morning, all attend in their most penitent attire, and put on
their gravest looks; if in the afternoon we have a bull fight, none are
absent; they will leave the circus in the evening to attend the sermon
of a missionary, and spend the remainder of the night at a dance or
card party." This instability was too visible, and often proved fatal
during the period of the first revolution in this city.

The mestisos are in general well formed, often taller than the ordinary
size, robust, of a ruddy colour, and very agreeable countenance; they
partake of many of the virtues of the whites, but exceed them in their
vices; they are equally void of fixed determination, remarkably fond of
diversions, but surprisingly docile, kind and obliging, considering any
attention paid to them, by any person who ranks above them, as a mark of
real honour. Many of this class are employed as overseers, _mayordomos_,
on the farms and estates belonging to the nobility; others apply
themselves to painting and sculpture, in which some have excelled, and
many of the paintings of Miguel de Santiago have been classed in Italy
among the first productions of the pencil; at present (1810) the artists
in greatest repute are Samaniego, Cortes, and Solis. The mestisos also
apply themselves to mechanical trades, and excel as lapidaries,
jewellers, and silversmiths; but a lack of inventive genius is certainly
visible in all their performances, exact imitation being their principal
study, and in this they most assuredly succeed.

The Indians, both men and women, are of a low stature, well
proportioned, very muscular, and strong; they bear a general resemblance
in their habits and customs to the indians in Peru, but they are under
more subjection to their masters. Those that are employed in the city
are household servants, in which capacity they are very useful, partly
on account of the equanimity of their temper and their blind submission
to their masters, and, if well treated, their attachment is great to the
house in which they live: a moderate recompense insures their constant
services. They are capable of supporting very heavy burthens; a man will
carry on his back during the greater part of the day a large earthen jar
holding from twelve to sixteen gallons of water; this jar rests on the
lower part of the back, while a leather thong fastened on each side the
jar is passed across the forehead of the carrier, who stoops in such a
manner, that the mouth of the jar is in a horizontal position, and the
whole weight rests on a line perpendicular to his right heel, on which
side it entirely presses. The indian has a kind of limping gait; he
trips on his left foot, and then throws himself on the right; owing to
which the right ancle is much thicker than the left, and this foot is
also much larger than the left. I examined an old indian servant
belonging to the palace, whose constant employment for several years had
been to carry water from the fountain in the plasa to the palace, and
found that the whole of the right side of the body was a great deal more
muscular than the left.

The indian women who employ themselves in bringing from the surrounding
villages any produce to the market at Quito, carry their burthens in the
same manner as the men. I have often seen them so covered with a cargo
of brushwood, lucern, green barley, or other light bulky articles, that
the load seemed to move along of itself, the carrier being completely

Many indians in the city become butchers, weavers, shoemakers,
bricklayers, &c.; but they are remarkably slothful and indolent, and
apply themselves more commonly to drunkenness than to any kind of
business. If you wish to employ one of them, he will demand part of the
money beforehand, with the excuse that he wants to purchase materials,
or some other indispensable requisite, but it is immediately spent in
chicha or rum, and it often becomes necessary to apprehend the rascal
(particularly among the shoemakers), and to send him to gaol, before you
can oblige him to fulfil his agreement. Some of the indians are
barbers, and manage the razor with the greatest dexterity; they may
easily be distinguished among the indian tradesmen, because the brass or
silver basin is always peeping from under their cloak.

Many of the mestisos, or descendants of the Spanish creoles and indians,
are very fair; but the lowness of their foreheads, as well as their
being very narrow, betrays their connexion with the indian. The
quarterones, or descendants of a Spaniard and a mestiso, approach much
nearer to the white creole; but in these the size and shape of the
forehead, also a small rising about the middle of the nose, from whence
it forms a curve terminating in a point bending towards the upper lip,
and some dark stains in different parts of the body, particularly one
below the region of the kidneys, which is always the last that
disappears, though often not before the fourth or fifth generation,
bespeak a mixture of the indian race. The mothers of mestisos generally
begin very early to plat the hair of their children, dragging it back
from the forehead and temples in very small plats, for the purpose of
enlarging that feature.

The common dress of the male Spaniards and creoles is similar to ours,
with the addition of a long red, white, or blue cloak. Their riding
costume is very pretty: over a jacket, trowsers, and boots, they wear
the white poncho, and over this a smaller one made of deer skin, having
the hairy side outward. A pair of overalls, made of the hides of two old
goats, are fastened round the waist, tied down the under side of the
thighs, and buttoned round the legs, so that the necks of the hides fall
over the feet; and as the hairy side is outwards, no rain can penetrate,
however long the person may be exposed to it; a large hat is covered
with leather, and to complete the costume, a large silk shawl is tied
round the neck.

The ladies dress almost in the English style, except a few ancient
dames, who wear a large hoop:--when going to church all wear the hoop,
with a black velvet petticoat over it, sewed in small folds, and a broad
piece of English flannel over their heads, generally of a brown colour,
which they can fold over their faces so as to cover them. Jewellery is
much worn by the ladies, of which many have a large stock, principally
consisting of ear-rings, necklaces, rosaries, amulets, and bracelets of
diamonds, emeralds, topazes, or other precious gems, in complete sets,
for a mixture is considered a proof of poverty. On particular occasions,
it is not uncommon for a lady to be adorned with these kind of
ornaments to the amount of twenty or thirty thousand dollars.

The dress of the mestisos is composed of a jacket and small-clothes, the
bottom of the drawers appearing below the knees; no stockings, and only
sometimes shoes; a long Spanish cloak of blue cloth, manufactured in the
country, and a black hat; these are called _llapangos_, a Quichua word
signifying barefooted. The females often wear a large hoop, and a gaudy
petticoat made of English flannel, red, pink, yellow, or pale blue,
ornamented with a profusion of ribbon, lace, fringe, and spangles,
wrought into a kind of arabesque about half a yard deep, near the bottom
of the coat, below which a broad white lace hangs, attached to an under
garment. The bodice is generally of brocade or tissue, or of embroidered
satin, laced very tight round the waist; the bosom and sleeves of this
are ornamented with white lace, ribbons, and spangles; a narrow shawl of
English flannel to correspond with the petticoat is thrown over the
shoulders; the head is uncovered, but ornamented with a fillet, ribbons,
and flowers, and the hair hangs in small tresses down the back. Like the
men the women seldom wear shoes or stockings, and it is considered a
trait in their beauty to have small white feet, and red heels, to
procure which cosmetics and rouge are often called in to lend their
assistance: this practice is very common among a certain description of

The lowest or poorest class of indian men and women wear a very scanty
and coarse apparel; the men have a pair of cotton drawers, hanging below
the knees; a garment somewhat like a wide sack, having an opening to
pass the head through, and two holes for the arms; this kind of tunic is
made of cotton or wool, it reaches almost to the knees, and is girt
round the waist. Sometimes a straw hat is worn, but they have more
frequently nothing but a leather strap round their heads, and never put
on either shoes or stockings. The women have only the species of tunic
called _anaco_, but it is longer than that of the men: over their
shoulders they wear a small kind of shawl, called _ichlla_, and this
constitutes their whole wardrobe, and is generally the only bed which
they possess. Their children immediately after their birth are swaddled
or bandaged in such a manner, from their shoulders to below their feet,
that they are deprived of all motion; the mother also frequently inserts
a wooden hook between the folds of the bandage, and hangs the child to
the wall, to the branch of a tree, or when she is travelling, to the
fore part of the saddle.

Those indians who are in better circumstances clothe themselves in an
elegant manner; the men wear white drawers with lace or fringe at the
knees, they have a shirt and a small black poncho, laid in folds
crossways of the stuff, each about an inch broad, and made very stiff
with gum; when put on the two ends are drawn downwards, a little below
the waist, and the sides are fastened together at the corners: this
vestment is called a capisayo. Round the neck they wear a kind of
ruffle, of lace, about eight or ten inches deep, and hanging over the
shoulders like a tippet. The hat is generally of wool, having a low
crown and very broad skirts. The Caciques, alcaldes, some butchers and
barbers, also wear the long Spanish cloak, breeches over the drawers,
shoes, and large square silver buckles, but never any stockings.

The women of the same class wear a white under-petticoat, called the
anaco, with broad lace at the bottom; over this they have a piece of
cloth, folded in the same manner as the capisayo of the men, except that
the folds are vertical; this is called the _chaupi anaco_, and is merely
fastened round the waist with a broad girdle of various colours, being
left open on the right side, and reaching only halfway down the legs,
the white lace hanging down almost to the ankles. Another piece of black
cloth, named the _lliglla_, folded in the same manner is put over the
shoulders; the two upper corners are brought together in front, and
fastened with two large silver or gold pins, ornamented on the top, and
called _tupus_; the folds being extended the lliglla covers the elbows;
the hair is all collected behind, and made into a thick roll, by winding
a fillet round it from near the head to the very ends of the hair; on
the top of the head they have a large bunch of ribbons, usually red.

The most popular diversion in Quito is bull fighting; it is conducted in
a very different manner from what I witnessed in any other part of
America. No regular bull fighters are employed, but a universal
inclination in the inhabitants to become dexterous fighters seems to
prevail, not only among the men, but even among the women. I have seen
several evince the greatest skill and agility both in the plasa and in
the circus, but the generality of the persons who parade the circus are
masked. This peculiarity of a general masquerade is highly entertaining,
and the natives are as fond of the diversion as they are skilful and
happy in their inventions.

A brief description of an afternoon's sport will convey an idea of one
trait in the character of the inhabitants of Quito, including all the
variety of classes. The moment that permission is obtained from the
President, the sides of the plasa are divided into lots, for the
different families of distinction, public officers, colleges, &c.; on
these are built galleries, supported on poles, and roofed, and some of
them are tastefully ornamented, each having a small private

About two o'clock in the afternoon, at which time the fight generally
begins, all the galleries are crowded, and from three to four thousand
men begin to parade the circus, in expectation of the _entradas_, or
entrance of the masks. Different parties previously agree to assemble at
some point, and enter the circus in procession; this is often done at
the four corners of the plasa, at the same time, and upwards of two
thousand persons frequently enter, accompanied with bands of music,
streamers, and fireworks. They first parade the circus in procession,
and then divide into groups, and wander about from one gallery to
another, saluting their friends and acquaintance, who are often
completely puzzled, not being able to distinguish who the individuals
are who are addressing them. At this time many of the nobility and
grave ecclesiastics disguise themselves, and leave their galleries to
mix in the motley group, and quiz their acquaintances in the galleries.
This part of the diversion generally lasts for more than an hour, and
after the whole is concluded, groups of masks parade the street with
music and flambeaux. The houses of the nobility and principal
inhabitants are open, and refreshments are placed for those groups which
choose to enter; this often produces much mirth, for the object of the
masked is to laugh at the unmasked, and the attempting to discover any
person who is thus covered by force, is considered extremely rude, and a
breach of the privilege of the mask. If attempted in the circus, or the
street, the assault would be immediately punished by the monkeys, who
would flog the aggressor with their long tails, the friars would strike
with their beads, and the muleteers with their whips.

Some of the natives are remarkably skilful in making masks, and a person
may procure, at a few hours' notice, an exact representation of the face
of any individual in the city; whence it very frequently happens, that
people are seen double, one very gravely seated in a gallery, and a fac
simile dancing about the circus, to the annoyance of the original, and
the diversion of the spectators.

When a bull enters the area, many of the _trages_, masks, retire to the
galleries, but many who are fond of the sport remain and enjoy the
amusement without being known to any one; for this purpose the dress
generally chosen is a pair of wide trowsers, and a short shirt, hanging
loose; these are generally of silk. The head and face are covered with a
green silk hood fitting close to the face, having glass or talk eyes; a
hat and gloves complete the dress of a _ranchero_. This is also the garb
generally worn by those persons who leave their galleries for a while to
parade the plasa and afterwards to return.

During the time that a furious bull is scouring the circus, three or
four thousand individuals are employed in it, teazing the poor brute by
hissing, whistling, and shouting. The bull will often gallop along the
sides of the plasa, when the spectators very deliberately stand close to
each other in a line, forming what they call _una muralla de barrigas_,
a wall of bellies; and I have often stood in such a line, when a bull
has passed us at full speed, not unfrequently rubbing his side along the
_wall_; if the line be complete, the animal never stops to attack any
one, but if he find an opening, he pushes in, and causes a dreadful

The _aficionados_, both on foot and on horseback, vex the bull by
holding out to him a cloak, poncho, or umbrella, which, at the moment he
attacks it, the holder throws up and allows the bull to pass; this is
repeated so often that the animal will no longer advance, when some tame
oxen are driven into the circus, with which the baited bull retires, and
another enters the list.

Masquerading is also common during the carnival, and the feast of
innocents; and I have been assured by very old people, that they never
heard of any robbery, or of any other depredations being committed
during these festivals, the whole mind of the people being entirely
engrossed by the sports, and in the study of something new. Many of the
nobility and the principal inhabitants are in possession of antique
dresses, two or three hundred years old; in these they make their
appearance on such occasions; besides which they have a sufficient stock
for the accommodation of their friends.

Dancing is a favourite amusement of the natives, and some of their
dances are very pretty; they are in general imitations of the Spanish
_bolera_. Minuets are quite fashionable among the higher classes, and
country dances, reels, &c. also begin to be adopted. The mestisos are
particularly fond of music, and the small mountain called the
_Panecillo_ is in the summer season frequently the evening resort of
forty or fifty young men, with fifes, guitars, and psalteries, which
they play till midnight. Nothing can exceed the sweetness of some of
their _tristes_, or melancholy airs, during the quiet of the evening,
when numbers of the inhabitants sit in their balconies and listen to the
fleeting sounds as they are wafted along by the evening breeze. After
playing till midnight, the young men frequently parade the streets till
day-break, serenading under the balconies of the principal inhabitants.

One of the religious processions at Quito was so novel to me, and
altogether so strange, that I cannot forbear to describe it. At a small
village, about a league from the city, there is an image of the Virgin
Mary, which the pious inhabitants have been induced to believe protected
them against the destructive fury of the earthquakes that ruined
Riobamba and Tacunga; in consequence of which, they voted two annual
feasts to the image, to be celebrated in the cathedral of the city.
Application was made to the court at Madrid, that the procession might
be solemnized with the assistance of the whole military force; the royal
grant exceeded the humble request, for his Catholic Majesty conferred on
the Virgin of Guapulo the commission of a captain-general of his armies,
with a right to the enjoyment of all the pay and privileges during the
ten days' stay in Quito; consequently, on the day of her approach to the
city, the whole military force line the streets, present their arms, and
the drums beat a march.

The virgin is brought to the city on a stand, enclosed with crimson
velvet curtains, carried on the shoulders of some of the principal
inhabitants, preceded by part of the chapter, and members of the
corporation. The image, being on duty, becomes a captain-general, and
appears in full uniform; on the arms two sleeves are drawn, bearing the
embroidery of her rank; on her head is placed a gold laced cocked hat,
with a red cockade and feather, and in her hand she holds the _baton_,
or insignia of command. The image of the infant Jesus participates in
the honours; a gold laced hat, small gold sword, and red cloak, adorn
the young hero, and in this stile they are carried to the cathedral,
where they are arrayed in their customary robes, but the baton is left
in the hand of the Virgin till she leaves the city. Although loath to
ridicule any thing that may, however distant, be connected with
religion, even the ceremonious part of it, I could never view this in
any other light than an ecclesiastical puppet show, a disgraceful piece
of mummery.

Quito is also famous for many other religious processions, and these
times present a very favourable opportunity for seeing the best works
both of the pencil and the chisel, particularly at the procession of
Corpus Christi, when several altars are erected in the plasa mayor, on
which are displayed all the curiosities that the natives can collect.

The market of Quito is well provided with good beef, mutton, pork, and
poultry, the prices of which are low. The beef is supplied by the
principal landholders, who are bound to kill a stipulated number of fat
oxen daily throughout the year, and to sell the beef at an appointed
price; for this purpose there is a public butchery, where an officer
belonging to the corporation attends to see that the agreement is
properly fulfilled.

The vegetable and fruit markets are remarkably abundant; the climates
are so various in the neighbourhood of the city, (indeed, it may be
said, that they vary at every step we take) that the vegetables and
fruits of Europe grow among those of the tropics. From the valleys and
_yungas_, sides of mountains, are brought camotes, yucas, aracachas,
palemettos, bananas, pine-apples, oranges, lemons, limes, citrons,
paltas, chirimoyas, guavas, granadillas; and from the cooler parts they
bring potatoes, cabbages, beets, apples, pears, guinds, peaches,
apricots, melons, strawberries, as well as various sallads and pot
herbs: maize and other pulse are grown in the different climates, and
many of the vegetables and esculents may be had in perfection during the
whole year. Several kinds of bread are brought to market at certain
hours of the day, for the purpose of serving whilst quite fresh at the
meals of the inhabitants: it is always made into small loaves, or rather
cakes. After twelve o'clock the bread begins to fall in price; and at
five o'clock six cakes may be bought for the same money that three of
the same kind would have cost in the morning: this arises from the
custom of never eating old bread. Many varieties of sweet cakes are also
sold in the market, some of which are particularly delicate.

The spirits usually drunk in Quito are rum and a small quantity of
brandy: from the rum, which is distilled here, many liqueurs are made.
It has probably been observed, that rum is not so noxious to the health
of the Quiteños as it is supposed to be to that of the Peruvians; but,
on the contrary, brandy is here considered by the careful government to
be possessed of deleterious qualities. The truth is, that the distilling
of rum is a royal monopoly in Quito; whereas that of brandy is not so in
Peru: thus, for the purpose of increasing the consumption of rum, which
augments the royal revenue, brandy is one of the _pisco_ or
_aguardiente_, contraband articles. Among the lower classes the use of
chicha made of maize is very common, and its intoxicating qualities are
but too visible among the indians, who are passionately fond of it: for
the purpose of stimulating a species of thirst or forcing the appetite,
they eat very large quantities of capsicum, aji: it is not uncommon,
indeed, for an indian to make a meal of twenty or thirty pods of
capsicum, a little salt, a piece of bread, and two or three quarts of

Quito is famous for the delicate ices and iced beverages which are made
by the inhabitants; a service of ices, when a dinner or supper is given
to a large party, is considered the greatest ornament of the table.
These ices are generally prepared by the nuns, who, for the purpose,
have pewter moulds, made to imitate several kinds of fruit; these are in
two pieces, which are first united with wax and tied together: at a
small aperture at one end the liquor is poured in, a fluid prepared from
the juice of the fruit which the mould is made to imitate; when full,
the hole is closed with wax, and the mould is put into a heap of broken
ice mixed with salt, and allowed to remain till the liquor is congealed;
the two parts of the mould are then separated, and the solid contents
placed on a dish: thus a service of ices is made to consist of perfect
imitations of pine-apples, oranges, melons, figs, and other fruits. When
milk or cream is iced it is poured into a mould formed like a cheese.
These imitations, placed on dishes, and ornamented with leaves, &c. are
with difficulty distinguished from fruit, and when fruit is mixed with
them, I have frequently seen strangers completely deceived.

The natives of Quito are very skilful in cooking some of the produce of
the country; so much so, that I have often been assured by them, that
forty-six different kinds of cakes and dishes are made of maize, or at
least in which maize is the principal ingredient: of potatoes thirty-two
are made in the same manner, without counting many others, in which
maize or potatoes are mixed.

Some of the confectionary is very delicate, particularly dry or candied
sweetmeats. These are often made of the pulp or jelly of different
fruits, in imitation of those fruits, and not larger than hazel nuts:
thus oranges, lemons, and limes are often taken from the trees when
about the size of nuts, and delicately preserved and candied over. The
same kinds of fruit are also taken when ripe, and the rinds preserved;
they are filled with the flowers, after they have been preserved, and
the whole candied over, and put into a dry place, where they may be kept
for a long time. What is justly considered a master piece of
confectionary in Quito is to preserve the rind of a very large citron,
then to fill it with small candied oranges, lemons, limes, figs, &c.,
and afterwards to candy the outside of the citron.

The enormous quantity of cheese consumed in this city almost exceeds
belief, the cost price not being less than from eighty to ninety
thousand dollars a year. The estimate is made as to the price, because
cheese, like many other commodities, is bought by the lump, not by the
weight; and the price seldom varies. I have weighed several cheeses that
cost a dollar each, and found them to weigh on an average seven or
eight pounds when fresh (for in this state the cheese is always brought
to market), so that the quantity consumed annually amounts to about six
hundred and forty thousand pounds weight, or upwards of two hundred and
eighty five tons. This may partly be accounted for from the number of
dishes made with potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, maize, wheat, and many
other kinds of vegetables and pulse mixed with cheese. As the custom of
eating toasted cheese is prevalent, a whole one, weighing from three to
four pounds, is generally placed on the tables of wealthy citizens both
at breakfast and supper; and many of these being land proprietors and
farmers derive the greater part of the profits of their farms from the
cheese which is made on them.

The trade or commerce of Quito may be very properly divided into two
classes--that of home manufactures, and that of foreign. Indeed, it is
thus divided by the tradesmen and merchants, the shops and stores
generally containing only one kind of goods. The home made consist of
cotton and woollen cloths, baizes, sugars, flannels, ponchos, stockings,
laces, dyeing materials, thread, tapes, needles, and other minor
articles. The stock of foreign articles is composed of all kinds of
European manufactured goods, also iron, steel, and some other raw

The European manufactures most in demand are English broad cloths,
kerseymeres, coloured broad flannels, calicoes, plain and printed
dimities, muslins, stockings, velveteens; Irish linens in imitation of
German _platillas_; fine, in imitation of French lawn; all kinds of
hardware and cutlery, and foreign silk velvets, satins, silks, &c. as
well as English ribbons and silks. Like the Lima market, the articles
should be of a good quality, and of the newest fashion--the more this
point is attended to the better the market will be found.


     Visit of the Academicians to Quito in 1736....Inscription left
     by....Climate of Quito....View of Mountains at....Description of
     Chimboraso....Of Cayambe urcu....Of Antisana....Of Cotopaxi....Of
     Pichincha....Of El Altar....Description of the fertility of the
     Valleys....Mines....Ruins of Temples, Palaces, and Fortified
     Places....Account of the Indians....Of Commerce.

In 1736 the academy of sciences at Paris sent M. Luis Godin, M. Peter
Bouguer, M. Charles de la Condamine and others to Quito, in order to
make some astronomical and physical observations. They were accompanied,
by order of the Spanish Court, by Don Jorge Juan, and Don Antonio de
Ulloa. Having finished their operations they left the following
inscription in marble on the wall of the church belonging to the

     Observationibus Ludovici Godin, Petri Bouguer, Caroli Mariæ de la
     Condamine á Regia Parasiensi Scientiarum Academia, inventa sunt
     Quiti latitudo hujusce templiaustralis grad. 0 min. 3 sec. 18.
     longitudo occidentalis ab observatorio Regio grad. 81, min. 22.
     Declinatio acus magneticæ à borea ad orientem, exeunte anno 1736
     grad. 8, min. 45; anno 1742 grad. 8, min. 20. Inclinatio ejusdem
     infra orizontem parte boreali, conchoe anno 1739 grad. 12. Quiti
     1741 grad. 15. Altitudines supra libellam maris geometrice collectæ
     in exapedis Parisiensibus spectabiliorum nive perenni hujus
     provinciæ montium quorum plerique flammas evomuerunt--Cota-cache
     2567, Cayambur 3028, Antisana 3016, Cotopaxi 2952, Tunguragua 2623,
     Sangay etiam nunc ardentis 2678, Chimboraso 3220, Ilinisa 2717,
     Soli Quitensis in foro majori 1462, Crucis in proximo Pichincha
     montis vertice conspicuæ 2042, acutioris ac lapidei cacuminis nive
     plerumque operti 2432, ut et nivis infimæ permanentis in montibus
     nivosis: media elevatio mercurii in barometro suspensi in Zona
     Torrida, eaque parum variabilis in ora maritima pollicum 28.
     linearum 0. Quiti poll. 20. lin. 0¼ in Pichinche ad crucem poll.
     17. lin. 7. ad nivem poll. 16. lin. 0 spiritus vini qui in
     thermometro Reaumuriano à partibus 1000 incipiente gelu ad 1080
     partes in aqua fervente intumescit: dilatio Quiti à partibus 1008
     ad partes 1018 juxta mare a 1017 ad 1029 in fastigio Pichinche à
     995 ad 1012. Soni velocitatis unius minuti secundi intervalo
     hæxapedarum 175. Penduli simplicis equinoctialis, unius minuti
     secundi temporis medii in altitudine soli Quitensis archetypus.

                     (Mensuruæ naturalis exemplar, utinam et

     Aqualis 5079/10000 Hexapedæ, seu pedibus 3 pollicibus 0. lineis
     6-83/100 major in proximæ maris littore 27/100 lin. minor in apice
     Pichinche 16/100 lin. Refractio Astronomica Orizontalis sub
     Æquatore media, juxta mare 27 min. ad nivem in Chimboraso 19´ 51´´;
     ex qua et aliis observatis Quiti 22´ 50´´. Limborum inferiorum
     Solis in Tropicis, Dec. 1736, et Junii 1737, distantia instrumento
     dodecapedalia mensurata grad. 47, min. 28, sec. 36, ex qua positis
     diametris Solis min. 32, sec. 37, et 31´ 33´´. Refractione in 66,
     grad. altitudinis 0´ 15´´. Parallaxi vero 4´ 10´´ eruiter
     obliquitas Eclipticæ, circa Equinoctium Martii 1737, grad. 23, min.
     28, sec. 28. Stellæ triem in Baltheo Orionis mediæ (Bayero E.)
     Declinatio Australis Julio 1737 grad. 1, min. 23, sec. 40. Ex arcu
     graduum plusquam trium reipsa dimenso gradus Meridiani, seu
     latitudinis primus, ad libellam maris reductus Hexap. 36650. Quorum
     memoriam ad Physices, Astronomiæ Geographiæ Nautice incrementa hoc
     marmore parieti Templi Colegii Maximii Quitensis Soc. Jesu affixo,
     hujus et posteri Ævi utilitati V. D. C. Spissimi Observatories Anno
     Christi 1742.

M. de la Condamine fixed his meridian on the terrace of the college; but
this line being traced on brick became effaced, and in 1766 another was
substituted on stone, and a Latin inscription on marble was placed on
the wall near to it.

The climate of Quito is remarkably agreeable, and almost invariable; the
indication of winter is the fall of rain, and the absence of rain
constitutes the summer season. During the months of December, January,
February, and March it generally rains every afternoon; usually
beginning at half-past one o'clock and continuing till five. A rainy or
even a cloudy morning is seldom seen at Quito, and even during the rainy
season the evenings and mornings are most beautiful.

The temperature is so benign, that vegetation never ceases; hence this
city is called the evergreen Quito, _siempre verde_ Quito; it is also
called the everlasting spring, _eterna primavera_; both which epithets
it may be said to deserve, for the native trees are all evergreens, and
the fields on the slopes of the mountains never lose their verdure.

From the terrace of the government palace there is one of the most
enchanting prospects that human eye ever witnessed, or nature ever
exhibited. Looking to the south, and glancing along towards the north,
eleven mountains covered with perpetual snow present themselves, their
bases apparently resting on the verdant hills that surround the city,
and their heads piercing the blue arch of heaven, while the clouds hover
midway down them, or seem to crouch at their feet. Among these, the most
lofty are Cayambe urcu, Imbaburu, Ilinisa, Antisana, Chimboraso, and the
beautifully magnificent Cotopaxi, crowned with its volcano, which during
the greater part of the three years that I was a resident in this part
of America was continually ejecting either smoke or flames, not
observable during the day, but particularly visible in the morning and

Having mentioned these mountains, I shall give a brief description of
the most remarkable in the province of Quito, being the most elevated in
the new world, and till the discovery of the Himmalah mountains,
considered the highest on the globe.

Chimboraso is the "Giant of the Andes," the hoary head of which may be
seen from the mouth of the Guayaquil river, a distance of not less than
one hundred and eighty miles; and here the view is certainly more
imposing than when we observe it from the plains extended at its foot:
seen from that spot it looks like an enormous semi-transparent dome,
defined by the deep azure of the sky; at the same time it cannot be
mistaken for a cloud, on account of its solid appearance and well
defined edges, so different from the aspect of those collections of
vapours. The height of this enormous mass, from the level of the sea,
was ascertained by M. de Humboldt to be twenty-two thousand four hundred
and forty feet. Its height from the road leading to Quito, which passes
along the plain at the foot of the mountain called _el paramo_, or _el
pajonal_, is twelve thousand one hundred and eighty feet, and five
thousand four hundred and sixteen feet above the limit of perpetual
snow, under the scorching sun of the equator, and sixteen thousand eight
hundred and ninety-two above what is computed to be the limit in

M. de Humboldt has remarked, that "mountains which would astonish us by
their height, if they were placed near the sea shore, seem to be but
hills when they rise from the ridge of the Cordilleras." Without
scarcely daring to contradict this most scientific traveller, I cannot
avoid expressing my own feelings when I viewed Chimboraso, even at its
foot. Perhaps my ideas of grandeur are not correct, so that I must
appeal to persons of more extensive conceptions, to know whether a mass
rising twelve thousand one hundred and eighty feet above the head of an
observer can be considered a "hill!" In the comprehensive mind of a
philosopher, the base, not only of this mountain, but the whole range of
the Andes, may be a matter not worthy of attention, and consequently
detached parts of it must form minor objects. I viewed Chimboraso with
sensations of inexpressible delight, mixed with a kind of veneration
perhaps more strongly impressed, from the consideration, that it was
considered the highest mountain on the globe, for at that time (1809) I
had not heard it questioned, and much less denied. A kind of reverential
awe crept over me as I stood and gazed on this majestic mass, such as
may be more easily imagined than described.

The figure of Chimboraso resembles a truncated cone, with a spherical
summit. From the foot of the snow its sides are covered with a calcined
matter, resembling white sand; and although no tradition exists of its
active volcanic state, yet the issuing of some streams of hot water from
the north side of it seems to warrant that it is a volcano, or that it
possesses volcanic properties; and the circular summit of the mountain
has the appearance "of those paps without craters, which the elastic
force of the vapours swells up in regions where the hollow crust of the
globe is mined by subterraneous fires."

From the melting of the ice, and perhaps with the assistance of some
undiscovered springs on the sides of this mountain, the rivers of
Huaranda, Huando, and Machala, have their origin.

Cayambe urcu, Cayambe mountain, is the loftiest of the Cordilleras,
excepting Chimboraso; its elevation above the level of the sea is
nineteen thousand three hundred and sixty feet, and above that of the
plasa mayor of Quito nine thousand one hundred and eighteen. It bears
some resemblance to Chimboraso in its dome-shaped summit, and, seen from
Quito, it is the most majestic. The beauty of the appearance of Cayambe
urcu is rendered more interesting at sunset, on a clear evening; Huahua
Pichincha, little Pichincha, being due west of it, the shadow of this
may be observed gradually covering the foreground of that, and a few
seconds before the sun dips in the horizon, the shadow ascends the
mountain with great rapidity, and finally, in a moment, the whole is
dissolved in darkness. An impression is made on the mind of the
observer, that this is caused by an overshadowing, and he remains gazing
in expectation that the mountains will _again emerge_; but the very
short duration of twilight soon convinces him that he looks in vain; and
when he turns his eyes from Cayambe to search for the other mountains,
they are gone also. This colossal mountain is crossed on its summit by
the equator, and were it not overtopped by its neighbour Chimboraso, it
would appear as if destined by the hand of nature to be a monumental
division of the two hemispheres. Cayambe is a volcano; but its crater
has never been examined, nor are there any traditions of its being in a
state of injurious activity. At the foot there are several vestiges of
mines, said to have been very rich when worked by the indians before the
conquest of the country, but at present they are entirely abandoned. The
rivers which have their origin in the north and west sides of Cayambe
empty themselves by the Esmeraldas and Mira into the Pacific; the others
into the Atlantic, by the Marañon.

Antisana is a porphyritic mountain; its summit is nineteen thousand one
hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea, on which there is
the crater of a volcano: near to the foot of this mountain is the small
village of Antisana, situated at the amazing height of thirteen thousand
five hundred feet above the sea; it is considered to be the highest
inhabited spot on the surface of the globe.

Seen from Quito, Cotopaxi is the most beautiful mountain in the whole
range, on account of its shape, being that of a truncated cone, having a
flat summit; it is eighteen thousand eight hundred and ninety feet above
the level of the sea, and, as already observed, its volcano, the crater
opening on the top of the mountain, is in constant activity, appearing
sometimes in the morning and evening like a colossal beacon: the flame
rises in such a manner, that its light is reflected from the icy coating
of the mountain.

A faint idea of the majestic Cotopaxi may be conveyed, if we consider
that it is nearly as high above the level of the sea as Mount Vesuvius
would be were it placed on the top of Mont Blanc, the highest point of
the Alps--or if the highest volcano in the old world, Etna, were placed
on the top of Bennevis, the highest mountain in Scotland, and both on
the top of Snowdon, the loftiest mountain in Great Britain; the crater
of Etna would not then be on a level with that of Cotopaxi.

Cotopaxi is the most dreadful volcano in the province of Quito, and its
ravages are spoken of by the inhabitants with horror. In 1738 the flame
which rose from the crater ascended to the height of three thousand feet
above the summit of the mountain: in 1743 its roarings were heard at the
distance of two hundred leagues, at Hurda; at Guayaquil, a distance of
fifty-two leagues, they were mistaken for loud peals of thunder. This
was the first eruption after the arrival of the Spaniards in this part
of America; but a short time before their appearance, when Pedro
Alvarado was on his march from Punto Viejo, the first eruption took
place, at which time a huge mass of stone was ejected, which the natives
call the head of the Inca, _cabesa del Inca_. The traditional record of
the indians is, that this explosion and ejectment happened on the very
day on which Atahualpa was strangled at Caxamarca, for which reason it
received the name which it now bears.

Before the second eruption, in 1743, a rumbling subterraneous noise was
heard, which continued to increase for five or six days, when an
eruption took place on the summit, and three other apertures or craters
made their appearance about the middle of the acclivity, the whole
mountain being covered with snow till the moment that the eruption took
place, when the entire frozen mass was instantaneously melted by the
streams of melted lava, excepting some huge heaps that were thrown into
the air, where they melted amid the flames of the ignited matter that
was ejected. The melted snow overflowed the country lying between
Cotopaxi and Tacunga, a distance of five leagues, destroying the houses,
inhabitants, and cattle. The river of Tacunga was too limited to carry
off the enormous quantity of matter which flowed into it, and part of
the town and property on the adjacent country was destroyed. This
dreadful scene of devastation continued for three days, and the country
at the foot of the mountain, and extending more than three leagues on
each side, was covered with cinders and scoria. During this time of
terror and dismay to the people of Quito, Tacunga, Ambato, Riobamba, and
the surrounding villages, the roaring of the volcano seemed to increase;
but on the fifth day all was quiet; the fire and the smoke disappeared,
and the terrified inhabitants hoped that all the combustible matter was
consumed, and that they should, consequently, thenceforward live
securely from the fury of this devastating enemy.

In the month of May, 1774, the flames forced their passage through the
sides of the mountain, and continued to burn till November, when an
eruption, equal to that of the preceding year took place, and the
inhabitants of the surrounding towns were afraid that utter ruin awaited
both them and the whole country. At this eruption enormous quantities of
ashes were thrown out, which mixing with the water and mud darkened the
current of the Marañon to the distance of more than a hundred leagues;
so that the Jesuit missionaries, seeing not only that the colour of the
water was changed, but that many dead bodies, drowned animals, pieces of
furniture, and wrecks of houses floated down the stream, and hearing
also the loud roaring of the volcano, sent expresses to inquire the fate
of their countrymen, imagining that something more dreadful had occurred
than what had really taken place.

On the 4th of April, 1768, another explosion took place; but nothing
except ashes were thrown or carried to any considerable distance; the
latter were ejected in such quantities, that the sun was completely
hidden, and from half past two o'clock till the following morning the
inhabitants of the neighbouring towns and villages were obliged to light
candles and to use lanterns in the streets.

In January, 1803, an explosion took place, after all external
appearances of the existence of a volcano, or that either fire, smoke or
vapour had ceased to be visible for more than twenty years. In one night
the activity of the subterraneous fires became so powerful, that the
surface of the mountain was heated to such a degree as to melt the whole
of the immense quantity of ice and snow which covered it to an
unfathomable depth, and to a height, from the limit of perpetual snow,
of not less than four thousand two hundred feet. At sunrise on the
following morning the whole cone was entirely deprived of its customary
covering, and of its dark brown appearance. At this time the damage
sustained was not so considerable as at the former explosions; nothing
was injured except some houses and cattle that were washed away by the
sudden increase of the waters. M. de Humboldt says, that he heard the
tremendous noise of the volcano, like continued discharges of a battery,
at Guayaquil, fifty-two leagues in a straight line from the crater; it
was heard also even on the Pacific Ocean to the south west of the island
of Puna.

From the east side of Cotopaxi the river Napo takes it rise; and from
the south the Cotuche and Alagues, which afterwards unite and enter the
Marañon; to the north rises the river del Pedregal, which after
receiving some minor streams joins the Esmeraldas, which empties itself
into the Pacific Ocean.

Carguairaso is a volcano, the summit of which is fourteen thousand seven
hundred feet above the level of the sea; it is situated in the province
of Riobamba. In the year 1698 it ejected such enormous quantities of
water, mud and stones as to destroy the crops in the neighbouring
fields, and the lives of many thousands of the inhabitants. This
dreadful calamity was also accompanied by one of the most alarming
earthquakes that had been felt in this part of South America.

To the westward of Quito is the volcano of Pichincha, on the eastern
skirt of which the city is built. The mountain is elevated fifteen
thousand nine hundred and forty feet above the level of the sea. The
greatest explosions of this volcano have been in the years 1535, 1575,
1660, and 1690; in the last of which very fine ashes continued to fall
in Quito for twelve days; the air was darkened by them, and the streets
were covered more than two feet thick. The crater of this volcano opens
to the westward, so that Quito must suffer from it so long as this
continues to be the only crater, for the ashes are blown over the top of
the mountain by a westerly wind; but the ravages committed by it are
generally limited to the province of Esmeraldas.

In 1811 I observed the leaves of the plantains covered with very fine
ashes, which had been ejected from Pichincha, and carried to the
distance of thirty-one leagues.

The summit of this mountain is called Rucu Pichincha, old Pichincha; it
is composed of several spire-shaped rocks, rising above the snow, at the
back of the crater; these are seen from Mindo, a small village situated
near the road which I re-explored, between Quito and Esmeraldas.
Detached from this there is the top of another mountain, connected with
the same base, and called Huahna Pichincha, young Pichincha; its head is
rocky, and it is the highest point that the Spanish and French
academicians arrived at during their operations.

El Altar, formerly called by the indians Caparurar, and which name it
still retains among the natives, when speaking of it in Quichua,
signifying the snow mountain, was anciently higher than Chimboraso is at
present; but the volcano having consumed the walls of the crater till
they were incapable of supporting their own weight, the top fell in.
This was the case with that of Carguairaso in 1698; and the ruins of the
two volcanos bear a strong similarity in their pointed ridges, their
spire-like rocks, and leaning directions; they appear as if falling into
decayed heaps.

I have only mentioned the most remarkable of the mountains visible at
the city of Quito; but besides these are the following in different
parts of the kingdom:


     Rumi nahui
     Supay urcu
     Yana urcu



Many of the ravines, quebradas, and valleys in this province have a
very warm atmosphere, which in some is so very hot and unwholesome that
they are uninhabitable. Other valleys which are more elevated are
remarkably healthy, uncommonly productive, and extremely delightful as
places of residence. One of these, called Pomasqui, is about five
leagues from Quito, where sugar-cane arrives at a state of maturity in
three years, and where many of the intertropical fruits come to their
greatest perfection. This luxury is enhanced by the proximity of other
situations possessing all the variety of climates known in the world: in
the course of three hours a person may experience the rigidity of the
poles, the oppressive heat of the equator, and all the intermediate
temperatures. A peon will ascend a mountain in the morning, and return
with ice so early in the day as to afford time to allow him to bring
before sunset the luscious pine-apple, the banana, and the chirimoya, to
where the apple, peach, and pear grow and ripen. There the botanist at
one glance would compass the whole of the vegetable creation, and in one
day's excursion would range from the palm to the region where vegetation
becomes extinct.

These valleys are principally under cultivation, and bless the
husbandman with a continued succession of crops; for the uninterrupted
sameness of the climate in any spot is such as to preclude the plant as
well as the fruit from being damaged by sudden changes in the
temperature of the atmosphere, changes which are in other countries so
detrimental to the health of the vegetable world. The fertility of some
of these valleys exceeds all credibility, and the veracity of the
description would be doubted, did not the knowledge of their localities
and the universal descriptions of the equability and benignity of these
climates ensure the probability. An European is astonished on his first
arrival here to see the plough and the sickle, the sower and the
thrashing-floor, at the same time in equal requisition:--to see at one
step a herb fading through age, and at the next one of the same kind
springing up--one flower decayed and drooping, and its sister unfolding
her beauties to the sun--some fruits inviting the hand to pluck them,
and others in succession beginning to shew their ripeness--others can
scarcely be distinguished from the colour of the leaves which shade
them, while the opening blossoms ensure a continuation. Nothing can be
more beautiful than to stand on an eminence and observe the different
gradations of the vegetable world, from the half-unfolded blade just
springing from the earth, to the ripe harvest yellowing in the sun and
gently waving with the breeze.

An enumeration of the different vegetable productions of this province
would be useless; it will be sufficient to observe, that grain, pulse,
fruits, esculents, and horticultural vegetables are produced in the
greatest abundance and of an excellent quality, as well as all kinds of
flesh meat and poultry.

The province of Quito abounds in veins of gold and silver ore; but at
present (1810) none are wrought. Grains of gold are often found among
the sand washed down from Pichincha; but no search has ever been made to
discover the matrix, nor does any tradition exist, nor any vestige
remain of the working of mines in this mountain.

The mountains in the neighbourhood of Palactawga, in the district of
Riobamba, are full of veins of gold and silver ore; but, excepting what
is gathered when the rainy season ceases among the decombres washed
down, they are entirely neglected; however, Don Martin Chiriboga, in
1808, had selected a very rich vein, which he assured me he had chosen
out of thirteen shewn to him, and had taken out a register for the
working of it; but during my stay in the province nothing effectual was

Near a village called Puncho a vein of cinnabar was discovered and
seized by the government, because mines producing quicksilver were a
royal monopoly; but a German mineralogist having been sent for from
Lima, to form an assay of the ore, declared in his report to the royal
audience, that it was a mine of sheet tin, _haja de lata_, not knowing
the proper name for tin; however this mistake caused the tribunal to
declare, that the mine should not be wrought nor again mentioned in

At Popayan and Cuenca there are many veins of iron, according to the
generally received reports, particularly at the latter place, which is
said to stand on a bed of iron ore. As I did not visit Cuenca, I mention
this on the authority of several individuals, of whose veracity I have
no reason to doubt.

I have already, when at Huacho, spoken of the character of the Peruvian
indians; and as those of Quito were under the government of three of the
Incas, received their laws, rites, and customs, and adopted their
language, it is only reasonable to consider them a part of that nation,
or rather, that the character of that nation was stamped on their habits
and customs: at least, persevering industry, whether the result of their
becoming the subjects of the Inca, or otherwise, is strongly marked in
many of the remains of buildings in the territory belonging to Quito.

The ruins near to Cayambe may certainly be called superb. They are
supposed to be the remains of a temple dedicated to the great creating
spirit, Pachacamac. These ruins are on an elevated part of the plain:
their form is a circle forty-eight feet in diameter; the walls are
fifteen feet high and five thick, and the whole is built of adobes,
sun-dried bricks, cemented with clay. The materials of which the walls
are constructed are in a state of perfect preservation, which fact
appeared to me more surprising than the building itself; because the
climate is very different from that on the coast of Peru, where I had
seen buildings of this class. Here the rains are both violent and of
long continuance, nevertheless the walls are in many parts entire,
though formed of clay, and seem by their hardness destined to defy the
ravages of time for centuries to come.

At the northern extremity of the plains on which the town of Tacunga is
built are the remains of Callo, belonging at present to a farm in the
possession of the Augstin friars. This edifice, supposed to have been a
palace of the Inca, was built of porphyry; the stones were cut into long
square prisms of different dimensions, having the exterior surface
slightly convex, except at the doors, where the fronts are plain; this
gives to the walls the fluted appearance of rustic work. The stones are
joined with such extreme nicety and exactness that the point of a
pen-knife cannot be introduced between them. A kind of asphaltum seems
to have been used as a cement, although in other Peruvian buildings a
marly soil was employed for this purpose.

About one hundred yards from these ruins, fronting the principal
entrance, there is a mount, standing in the middle of a plain: it is
about a hundred and fifty feet high, having the shape of a cone, and
appears to owe its existence ta human labour. It is called _el panecillo
de Callo_, and, like that which stands at the southern extremity of the
city of Quito, is supposed to have served the purpose of a watch-tower,
because it commands an extensive view of the surrounding country, and
might be one of the means employed to provide for the safety of the
conqueror against any sudden surprize of his new subjects. If we believe
the tradition of the Indians, it is a huaca or mausoleum of some of the
royal race of the Incas; but this is not correct, because, according to
Garcilaso, these were all interred at Cusco, to which place they were
conveyed if they died in any other part of the country, Cusco being
considered their holy city.

Near the town of Atun Cañar there is another ruin, similar to that at
Callo, but of much greater extent; it was visited by M. de Humboldt, who
gives a description of it in his researches. At the distance of six
leagues is another at Pomallacta, and there are more in many parts of
the country.

Several remains of fortified places, called pucuras, still exist; they
are hills or mounts surrounded by ranges of moats or ditches, dug behind
each other, and protected or strengthened with parapets of stone, whence
the holders could safely annoy the enemy. These places were so common,
that almost every eligible situation was thus fortified: the outward
moat of circumvallation at Pambamarca is upwards of a league and a half
in extent.

The oral traditions of the indians touching the state of their country
before the arrival of the prince Huaina Capac, afterwards Inca of Peru,
are very trifling, and clothed in almost impenetrable obscurity; indeed,
the language spoken by them is entirely unknown, having been completely
superseded by the Quichua, the court language of the Incas.

Huaina Capac having conquered the capital, called at that time Lican, he
espoused Pacchachiri, the daughter of the Quitu or supreme chief; she
was afterwards the mother of the unfortunate Atahualpa, to whom the Inca
at his death bequeathed the territory, which had formerly belonged to
the Quitu: the result of which bequest has already been shewn at

Of the present race of indians, I shall only add to what I have said
when speaking generally of this class of the inhabitants of South
America, that the law of repartimiento, and the continuation of
corregidores in the provinces have weighed most heavily on the
unfortunate indians of the kingdom of Quito; consequently with their
debasement all the vices of indolence, apathy, and sloth are more
visible here than in those parts of the colonies, where the curse of
conquest has been less felt.

Owing to the numerous population of Quito, its various climates, and
consequent diversity of productions, it must at some future period
become highly interesting to the naturalist, the merchant, and the
traveller. At present, one of the principal branches which will attract
commercial attention is that of wool, the quantity being great, and the
quality above mediocrity; but it will gradually improve as a more
perfect knowledge of the treatment of sheep becomes known to the


     Villa of Ibarra, Description.....Villa of Otavalo, Description....
     Lakes San Pablo and Cuicocha....Visit to the River Mapo....Gold
     Mines on the Banks of....Indians pay their Tribute in Gold....Bæza,
     the Capital of the District....Description of the Inhabitants, &c.
     ....Commissioned by the Government to Explore a Road from the
     Capital to the nearest Point of the Coast....Maldonado's Road....
     Leave Quito....Cross the Skirts of Pichincha, arrive at the River
     Piti....Description of the Country....Description of Piti....
     Proceed to Esmeraldas....Description of the River of Jaguar....
     Houses, Plantations, Cattle....Method of Distilling Rum....Food of
     the Inhabitants...._Saino_ Tatabra, and _Aguti_, or Huatus....
     Monkey and Charapa....Method of Killing Game with the _Sorbetana_
     and Poisoned _Pua_.

Eighteen leagues to the northward of Quito is the town, _villa_, of
Ibarra: it contains about twelve thousand inhabitants, many of whom are
employed in the manufactories of cotton and woollen cloths, stockings,
coverlets, and ponchos; the last of which are superior to those of any
other part of the kingdom. Here are a parish church and four convents,
San Francisco, Santo Domingo, San Augstin, and la Merced, and a nunnery
of La Conceptión. The houses are generally good, the streets wide and
convenient, and the market-place capacious. Some of the shops are
tolerably stored with European goods, and the trade carried on is very
considerable. The climate is warmer than that of Quito, and the market
is supplied with meat, pulse, fruit, and vegetables. Ibarra, being the
capital of the district of the same name, is the residence of the

In the district of Ibarra are many very fruitful valleys, in which there
are extensive plantations of sugar cane, from which the best sugar in
the kingdom is manufactured. The wheat grown in this district is also of
the finest quality.

To the south west of Ibarra is the town, villa, of Otavalo, the capital
of the province or district of the same name. It contains from eighteen
to twenty thousand inhabitants, many of whom are mestisos, of a fair
complexion, and handsome in appearance; some of the men are remarkably
robust and muscular, indeed I never saw a race of finer looking people
than an assembly of Otavaleños on a Sunday, when they meet at church, or
at a feast. The climate of this town is much colder than at Ibarra, or
Quito, owing to its greater elevation, as well as to its proximity to
Cayambe urcu. Cotton and wool are manufactured here in the same manner
as at Ibarra, the natives appearing more inclined to this kind of
labour than to the cultivation of the earth. Large quantities of cattle
are bred in the district of Otavalo, and some of the large estates have
from four to five hundred indians attached to them, who are employed
either in the cultivation of the land, or in the manufactories, obrages.
One large estate belongs to the Count of Casa Xijon, who brought several
mechanics and artisans from Europe for the purpose of establishing a
manufactory of fine cloths, woollens, and cottons; also for printing
calicoes, and other goods; but being prevented by the interference of
the royal audience, and a subsequent order from Spain, he was prevailed
on to destroy all his machinery, and to re-embark the artisans for

In this district there are two lakes; the larger one, called de San
Pablo, is about a league long and half a league wide, and is most
abundantly stored with wild geese, ducks, widgeons, herons, storks, and
other aquatic birds, but no fish. The smaller one is called Cuicocha; in
the centre of this there is a small island, where there are abundance of
guinea pigs in a wild state, named by the natives _cuis_, and hence the
name _Cuicocha_, cocha signifying a lake. Some small fish called
prenadillas, are caught here; they are somewhat similar to prawns, but
when boiled retain their colour, which is almost black.

After I had visited Ibarra and Otavalo, I was ordered by the President,
in December, 1808, to visit the river Napo, for the purpose of reporting
on the state of the gold mines on the shores of that river. This
commission was extremely flattering to my wandering inclinations, not
only on account of my being thus able to visit some parts of the country
little known to Europeans, but because I should have an opportunity of
witnessing the very river where the undaunted Orellana embarked, and
among undiscovered and unheard of nations traversed the greatest extent
of country that had ever been crossed at that time by any human being.

I was accompanied by six indians from Quito, and four yumbo indians. The
latter inhabit a valley between Quito and Bæza, and frequently bring to
the former place pine-apples, bananas, yucas, camotes, besides other
fruits and esculents. The yumbos were our guides, while the Quito
indians carried my provisions, clothes, bedding, and other necessaries.

Our first day's journey was to Pomasqui, where we passed the night at
the house of a friend, who kindly added some machica and dried tongues
to my stock of eatables. On the following day we began to ascend the
eastern chain of the Cordillera, and slept at night in a small hut made
of a few slight poles, covered with pajon; the following night we slept
to the eastward of Antisana. On the fourth day we began to descend by a
very rugged path, and in some places so nearly perpendicular that we
were obliged to prevent ourselves from falling by taking hold of the
roots of trees, or the crags of rocks; however, about three o'clock in
the afternoon we reached the first small plantation and first hut of the
yumbos, where we remained that night, and on the following day I found
myself travelling along the north side of the Napo.

I was met here by the son of Don Diego Melo, Governador of Archidona,
who pointed out to me the soil which contained gold. It was of a reddish
hue, and generally lay about three or four feet deep, having underneath
it a stratum of indurated clay; some of these _capas_, as they are
called, extend from one to two hundred yards or more from the margin of
the river, and are of different breadths, from twenty to sixty yards. No
trees or vegetables grow in this kind of soil, and the gold, its only
produce, is obtained by washings: hence they are called _lavaderos_,
washing places, which I shall describe when on the coast of Choco.

The indians of the district of Archidona pay their tribute in gold dust,
which they collect from the sand along the sides of the different
rivulets; but owing to their ignorance of the comforts which this metal
would procure them, or perhaps to a dread of their being enslaved by the
_mita_, to work the mines, should they ever present themselves to pay
the tribute with an excess of it, they generally take care to pay it at
five or six different times, always complaining of the scarcity of gold,
and the trouble it costs to procure a small quantity. It is nevertheless
known, that if any remain after the payment is made, they throw it into
the river; but Don Diego Melo assured me, that one indian always paid
his tribute in a kind of gold, which he showed to me, and which was
evidently not in natural grains, but in small particles apparently cut
with a knife, or some other instrument, from a solid lump of that metal.
Don. N. Valencia sent some negroes to work a lavadero on the Napo; but
his death occasioned them to be recalled shortly afterwards, and the
project was abandoned, the negroes being ordered to return to Choco.

There can be no doubt as to the immensity of treasure which is buried
in the capas, nor of that which is annually washed down by the rains
through the small ravines and rivulets into the river Napo, and thence
into the Marañon, where it is lost. I think the necessity of negroes for
working these mines might be superseded by a kind treatment of the
native indians; by indulging them in their foibles at first, and
afterwards gradually convincing them of the benefit that would result to
themselves from their free labour in the mines. It would certainly be
superior to that of cultivating a few patches of land, and carrying the
produce to Quito or any of the other Spanish towns, to barter for iron,
fish-hooks, brads, and indigo. It is very evident, that such a project
would require a considerable degree of patience and self-command, and I
may add of honesty too, because the principal object would be to secure
the confidence of the indians, which, owing to the conduct generally
observed to them by the Spaniards, would not be easily accomplished.

From the accounts which I was able to collect, it appears that all the
rivers and streams in the neighbourhood of the Napo contain gold; and in
different parts of the province of Archidona, or, as it is more
generally termed, Quixos y Macas, there are capas, or strata of earth
whence gold may be extracted by washings.

Bæza is the ancient capital, and formerly contained upwards of ten
thousand inhabitants; but since the expulsion of the Jesuits it has
become entirely depopulated, as well as Archidona and Avila, two other
cities, and twenty-two missions, the greater part of the indians having
taken to their original way of living in a wild state. Those that remain
are generally called yumbos; they employ themselves in the cultivation
of cotton, sugar-cane, mam, and some tropical fruits, which they carry
to Quito to barter for those commodities which they find necessary
either for fishing or for the chase. They also manufacture the small
quantity of cloth which they require for themselves; this is of cotton,
and is generally no more than a _toldo_, mosquito curtain, in the shape
of a small tent, under which they sleep, besides one or two sheets of
the same material. The clothing of the men is merely a pair of short
drawers, reaching from the waist to about the middle of the thighs, and
is generally white; that of the women consists of a piece of blue cotton
cloth wrapped round the waist, reaching down to the knees; but a
profusion of glass beads adorn their necks, arms, wrists, and ankles.
Both men and women daub themselves with annota, achiote. In this half
dress they traverse the Cordillera, and with a basket made of
_piquigua_, a very tough creeper, carry their surplus to Quito.

On my return to the capital of the kingdom, I was commissioned by his
Excellency the President to re-explore the roads leading from Quito to
the coast, namely, that explored in 1741 by Don Pedro Maldonado
Sotomayor, and that opened in 1803 by the President, Baron de

It had always been considered an object of the greatest importance to
open a communication between the capital and the nearest sea-port, for
the purpose of facilitating the commerce between this place, Panama, and
Terra-firma, and to avoid the inconveniences which are met with in the
circuitous road to Guayaquil, and which were highly injurious to
business in general.

In 1621 Don Pablo Durango Delgadillo was nominated Governador of
Esmeraldas; he contracted with the Royal Audience of Quito to open a
road at his own cost from the town of Ibarra to the coast, and to
establish _tambos_, lodging houses, on the road; but he failed in the
fulfilment of his contract, and in 1626 was deprived of his government,
which was conferred, on the same conditions, on Don Francisco Peres
Munacho, who failed, like his predecessor, and was removed. Don Juan
Vicencio Justinian and Don Hernando de Soto Calderon were afterwards
appointed. They proposed a route to the coast different from their
predecessors, but they also failed in the execution of their plan. It
was adopted, however, by the Baron de Carondelet, who ordered the road
leading from Ibarra along the bank of the river Mira to that of La Tola
to be opened; but it was soon discovered, that the river Tola, owing to
a sand bank, or bar, which crosses the mouth of it, could never answer
the purposes of a port; and, from the manner in which the road had been
formed, in three years it became impassable, and passengers generally
preferred the paths along the woods to the highway. The continuance of
this road as a communication between the capital and the coast was not
the only objection--a distance of eighteen or twenty leagues was added
to that proposed in 1735 by Don Pedro Maldonado Sotomayor.

This intelligent Quiteño employed himself for more than two years in
examining the country lying between the capital and the coast, and being
invested with the same powers that were given to other projectors, in
1741 he opened a road leading directly from Quito to the river Piti,
which has its origin in Pichincha, and forms part of the Esmeraldas
river. Maldonado immediately went to Spain, and solicited a confirmation
of the contract, and from the favourable report of the council, the King
erected Esmeraldas into a government and a Lieutenant-Captain
Generalship in 1746, conferring on Don Pedro Maldonado the appointment
of Governor.

On the return of Maldonado to Quito the Royal Audience opposed the
appointment, and immediately informed the Council of Indies, that the
projected port and road would only open to the enemies of Spain an
entrance to one of her richest American cities, without at any time
rendering an increase to the royal revenue. This report produced a
counter order, when Maldonado abandoned his native country in disgust,
and retired to France.

The importance of the projected communication was so glaring, that the
merchants and natives never abandoned any opportunity of proposing it.
The President Baron de Carondelet had been induced to open the road
called de Malbucho; but this failing to answer the expectations of the
people, the President Count Ruis de Castilla was solicited to order an
examination of Maldonado's projected road; and the commission for this
purpose was conferred on me in May, 1809.

I immediately prepared for my expedition, by ordering a surveying chain,
and by putting my sextant and some other instruments in order;
re-engaging also the indians who had accompanied me to Napo, as well as
six others. One of these was to be my carrier, and he waited on me for
the purpose of measuring me for a chair. My stock of provisions and
other necessaries having been procured, I left Quito with my suite; it
was composed of ten indians, with my luggage, one indian with my chair,
a servant, and four soldiers; forming a procession which would have
attracted the attention and drawn a smile from the inhabitants of any
city in England.

The indians had their usual dresses, composed of white drawers, brown
capisayas, and sandals made of bullock's hide. Each carried on his back
a basket, like those of the yumbo indians, having a girth passing under
the bottom of it, which crossed the forehead; another was fastened round
the basket, one end of which the indian held in his hand to steady his
cargo. My carrier had a chair made of canes, and just large enough for
me to squeeze myself into; it had a board to rest my feet upon, and two
or three canes formed an arch over my head; these were for the purpose
of placing leaves on when it might happen to rain. The two hind feet of
the chair rested on two straps, which passed round the arms of the
indian close to his body, and one attached to the top went round his
forehead; so that when seated my back was towards the back of my

Leaving Quito, we travelled along the plain of Añaquito about two
leagues, and then began to ascend the skirts of Pichincha, at a small
village called Cotocollo: the ascent was very gentle, and after a
journey of five leagues, we rested on the western side of the summit, at
a small hamlet called Yana Cancha. We had here a most beautiful prospect
of the crater of Pichincha, which was only about half a mile distant,
and during the whole of the night I could hear a rumbling noise, and I
sometimes imagined that I felt a tremulous motion. These appalling
circumstances kept me awake for a considerable time, though they had no
such effect on my indians and the guard, nor on the inhabitants of the
house, who all slept soundly, and many of them snored most lustily. At
sunrise the view from Yana Cancha was most enchanting; from the slope of
the mountain, apparently from the crater, the river Mindo rolled down
to the fertile valley which it irrigates, dispensing its necessary
support to the many small plantations of sugar-cane, camotes, yucas,
bananas and plantains, which are cultivated at the bottom of the ravine:
to the westward immense forests extended themselves, forming the
boundary of the horizon to the naked eye; but with the assistance of a
good eye-glass I could perceive the Pacific Ocean beyond the limit of
the woods.

Having crossed two eminences called Yarumos, and another called Inga
Chaca, the remainder of the road to the place of embarkation on the
river Piti was quite level, being intersected about every three leagues
with small rivulets. The whole distance from Quito to Piti being only
eighteen leagues, without any obstacles whatever to prevent it from
being converted into a most excellent road, makes a difference between
this and that leading to Guayaquil of about fifty leagues of land

When on our journey we had to halt for the night, the indians unloaded
themselves, and cut down six or eight slender poles, ten feet long,
which they stuck into the ground; they then cut others, which they tied
crossways to the former, with strips of bark; they next pulled the
upper part forward till this half roof formed an angle with the ground
of about forty-five degrees, and sticking a pole into the ground in
front, they tied the cross pole to the top of it to keep the building in
a proper position. The next business was to cover it, and for this
purpose each of them had procured when at Yana Cancha a roll of about
twenty _vijao_ leaves, which were laid in rows along it from the bottom
to the top, each leaf hanging over the next inferior one, so that the
rain was entirely carried off, and to secure the dryness of this rude,
yet comfortable cabin, a small gutter was always dug at the back to
carry off the water. During this operation part of the indians were
engaged in procuring water, either from some neighbouring rivulet, or,
after we had descended the hill called el Castillo, from the _huadhuas_.
These are large canes, the largest species I believe of the gramina
tribes; they grow to the height of forty feet, perfectly straight, and
at the bottom are about six inches in diameter. The whole of the cane is
divided by knots, from ten to fifteen inches asunder; when green, they
are filled with excellent water, so that from each division about two
quarts may be obtained by cutting a notch in the cane; when they are
approaching to a state of ripeness, the water becomes like a jelly, and
when quite ripe it is converted into a white calcareous substance, some
of the knots holding upwards of two ounces of this matter, which a few
months before was held in solution in a perfectly transparent fluid: on
this account the indians object to drink the water, on the supposition
that it may produce calculi.

The leaves are in shape somewhat similar to those of the banana, about a
yard long, and half a yard broad; the upper side is of a beautiful pale
green, the under white; it is covered with a substance which melts when
held near the fire, and collected has the appearance and possesses all
the qualities of bees' wax. A small portion of it being added to tallow
hardens it considerably, and the candles made from this composition are
rendered much more durable in hot climates. These leaves are preferable
to those of the plantain, or banana, for they are quite pliable, and are
therefore often used for packing instead of paper, whereas the banana
leaf is easily torn into shreds; this, however, may be prevented by
holding them over the fire till they become pliable. It is customary for
the indians to pay a real at Yana Cancha for the loan of each bundle,
which they engage to deliver on their return, or they give two bundles
for one instead of a real; thus travellers carry under their arms during
the day the roof which is to shelter them at night.

The soil of the country between Quito and Piti is very rich, and abounds
in many kinds of most excellent timber, suitable for buildings as well
as for the cabinet maker; among these there are cedars, huachapeli,
ebony, cascol, guayacan, lumas, and many others. One kind, called
_sangre de drago_, dragon's blood, grows in many places near to Piti. It
attains the height of forty or fifty feet; the leaf is somewhat similar
to that of the laurel, and the gum which it produces, and which gives it
the name it bears, oozes immediately whenever an incision is made in the
bark; it is then received on a leaf, or in a small hollow cane, or else
it is left to harden in the sun, by which means each drop becomes in
size and shape like an almond; the indians collect it and carry it to
Quito, where it is sold as a dye.

The appearance of the yarumos scattered in clusters in different parts
of the woods is most beautiful from an eminence. They are a species of
bombax; the wood is porous and light, the leaves extremely large, and of
a very pale green colour, so that amid the dark green foliage of these
extensive woods they look like enormous flowers.

The richness of the soil, the plenteousness of water, even for
irrigation should it be necessary, the serenity of the climate, and the
facility of procuring indians as labourers, with every advantage that
can be desirable, render it very probable, that this part of Quito will
soon become populous, and that Panama, and the mines of Chocó, will in a
few years be supplied with the produce of land now in an uncultivated
state. There can be no doubt but that herds of cattle and fields of
grain will crown the labours of those who may form establishments in
this charming territory, where maize, wheat, rice, and plantains, the
daily bread of the four quarters of the globe, will be produced in
abundance to reward the labour of the husbandman.

At Piti I found an old man, his wife, and two sons living in a
comfortable house, built like those of the Puna in the Guayaquil river,
shaded with half a dozen lofty coro palms, and fanned with the
magnificent leaves of the plantain, while the banana, several orange,
lemon, palta, guava, arnona, and other intertropical fruit trees were
laden with fruit, at the same time that small patches of sugar-cane,
yucas, and camotes, seemed to vie with each other in luxuriance: numbers
of turkeys, fowls and ducks ran about on a small plot of ground lying
between the house and the river, which is here about a hundred yards
wide. Two canoes were tied to two trees, in one of which there was a
small casting net, several harpoons and fishing lines--every thing
seemed to bespeak comfort, nay, even profusion.

The old man informed me, that he was a native of Guayaquil; but that he
had resided on this spot for more than fifty years, on which account the
natives of the country had surnamed him _taita_ Piti, father Piti. He
shewed me forty-eight tiger or jaguar skins, and assured me, that the
animals had all been slain by his own lance; but he was sorry, he said,
that the sport was at an end, not because he was old, but because there
were no tigers left in the neighbourhood for him to kill, upwards of
seven years having elapsed since he took the last skin. He assured me,
that whenever he found the track of a tiger he always followed it alone,
and never rested till he had slain his victim. The skins were hung on
the inside of the roof and round the sides of the house, forming a very
pretty, but rather uncommon kind of tapestry.

I here discharged my indians, and paid them only three dollars each,
although I had detained them eleven days on the road; my carrier told
me, that he had never had a lighter cargo, having had nothing but the
chair to carry; indeed I never entered it but twice, once out of
curiosity, and another time through persuasion: they all laid out their
money in fruit, roots, and dried fish, which they took to Quito, and
which would pay them at least cent. per cent.

I rested one day at Piti, and then proceeded down the river in a small
canoe with the two sons of old Piti, leaving orders for my servant,
luggage, and the soldiers to follow me in a larger one.

We glided down the stream about two miles, the river in some parts being
so narrow, that the branches of the trees which grew on each side were
entwined with each other over our heads, and formed a leafy canopy
almost impenetrable to the rays of the sun, and we could observe the
fishes frisking about in the water beneath; sometimes where the river
became wider, the margins were covered with the luxuriant gamalote, the
leaves of which are generally a yard long and two inches broad, being
somewhat like those of the maize; the stem is sometimes two yards high,
as green as the leaves, so long as the soil in which it grows continues
to be moist; but as soon as the earth becomes dry the plant immediately
decays. Here we saw some beautiful fat oxen grazing on this plant; they
belonged to the inhabitants of three houses, each of which was as
charmingly situated as that at Piti. We soon arrived at the place called
the _Embarcadero de Maldonado_, where we left our canoe tied to a pole,
and took a breakfast composed of smoked fish broiled, fried eggs, and
plantains; and for drink we had some _masato_ and rum made by the

The masato is made by boiling a quantity of ripe plantains till they are
quite soft; these are reduced to a pulp by beating them in a trough;
this pulp is then put into a basket lined with vijao leaves, and allowed
to ferment two, three, or more days; when it is wanted a spoonful or
more is taken out and put into a tutuma bored full of holes like a
cullender, a quantity of water is added to it, and the whole is rubbed
through the holes of one tutuma into another without holes, which serves
as a bowl to drink out of; or small tutumas are filled from it, and
handed round. I was highly pleased with the masato, and scarcely took
any thing else for my breakfast; the taste is a sub-acid, but remarkably
agreeable. I purchased a small basket for the remainder of our passage
down the river, at which my two _palanqueros_ were not a little pleased.

At the distance of three leagues from the Embarcadero de Maldonado a
most enchanting prospect suddenly burst on our sight. We had almost
insensibly glided along the unrippled surface of the river Piti, a
distance of about four leagues, during which the view was limited on
each side by the lofty and almost impenetrable woods, and before us by
the windings of the river--where not a sound was heard save the
occasional chattering of the parrots and monkeys on the trees, or the
shout of my palanqueros to the inmates of some solitary houses scattered
along the banks. Our sphere of existence seemed solitary, and as silent
as a dungeon, and I lolled in the canoe as if oppressed with
uninterrupted solemnity, such as might be congenial to the pious musings
of a holy anchorite; but I was suddenly roused from my reverie by the
loud roaring of the river Blanco, and in a moment the scene was changed;
at once our narrow river formed part of another, three hundred yards
wide; on our left the whole range of the country as far as the coast was
extended in the prospect. The Blanco, which rises in the neighbourhood
of Tacunga, after collecting part of the waters of el Corason and
Pichincha, and receiving those of several tributary streams, becomes
navigable at its junction with the Piti. The country on the western side
of the river is to a considerable extent very level, the soil good, but
the trees neither so numerous nor so lofty as in other parts, owing
perhaps to a scanty depth of soil, which seems extremely well calculated
for a rice country; indeed the natives assured me, that the small
patches sometimes cultivated here multiplied the seed six hundred fold.

After passing the mouths of several minor rivers we arrived at that of
Guallabamba, equal in size to the river Blanco. The union of the two is
called Esmeraldas. We continued our course, and reached the city of
Esmeraldas in the evening. The distance from Piti to this place is about
eighteen leagues, which notwithstanding our delays we completed in nine

During our passage down the river I was very much delighted with the
sight of a full grown tiger, which lay basking in the sun on a sand-bank
that projected from the side of the river almost across it. The noble
brute was stretched close to the edge of the bank, frequently dipping
his tail into the water, and sprinkling it over him, while his muzzle
and feet touched the stream. After watching the animal for a quarter of
an hour, my palanqueros became impatient, and at last taking their
lances they jumped ashore from the canoe, but at the same moment the
tiger sprang on his feet, yawned, stretched himself, and trotted into
the woods, leaving the two young fellows to lament the effects of their
less nimble feet.

Between Piti and Esmeraldas I counted forty-two houses, built on the
sides of the river, each having plantations of sugar-cane, yucas,
camotes, aji (capsicum), plantains, and bananas. Near many of the houses
horned cattle were feeding on the luxuriant gamalote, and at every house
pigs and poultry were running about. Each farmer has a hand-mill for
grinding sugar-cane; its construction is very simple, being composed of
two wooden rollers placed horizontally in grooves cut in two upright
pieces. The ends of the rollers project, one on each side, having cross
levers for the purpose of turning them; with this simple wooden machine,
for not one of all those that I saw had a nail, nor any other iron work
about it, the natives express the juice from the cane, for the purpose
of making _guarapo_, molasses, and rum; two men are generally employed
at the rollers, and a woman attends to place the cane between them,
while the boys and girls bring it from the plantation.

It was here that I observed the peculiar mode of cultivating the
sugar-cane, which I have already spoken of; that is, of cutting the ripe
canes every three months, uncovering the roots of the remainder,
incorporating the soil with new earth, or digging it as well as that of
the space between the two rows, and then hoeing the earth up to the
roots again. By these means the cane here is perennial; while in the
province of Guayaquil, where the same mode of cultivation is not
observed, the plant yields only two, or at most three crops. Although
the cane at Esmeraldas is of the creole kind, I have seen it when ripe
more than ten feet high, six inches in diameter, and seven or eight
inches between the knots or geniculi.

The means employed by the natives in the manufacture of their rum are
remarkably simple: the juice of the cane is allowed to obtain the proper
degree of fermentation, and is then distilled. The apparatus used for
this purpose is a deep earthen pot, having a hole on one side near the
top; through this they pass a large wooden spoon, having a groove in the
handle; on the top of the pot there is a pan luted to it with clay, and
this being repeatedly filled with cold water, and emptied, serves as a
condenser; the spirit drops into the spoon, and running along the groove
is received in a bottle. I considered this alembic as an invention of
the natives of this part of America, because I never saw it used in any
other place; the general custom of the indians is to content themselves
with fermented liquors from the manufactories of the white inhabitants,
especially where spirits cannot be purchased.

Spirits are also distilled from an infusion of very ripe bananas in
water; this is allowed to ferment, and is strained before it is put into
the alembic. Another fermented beverage, as well as spirit, is prepared
from the yuca; the root is boiled, reduced to a pulpy substance, and
placed in baskets to ferment, in the same manner as the plantains are
for the masato; when mixed with water and strained, it is called
_kiebla_, and the spirit distilled from it _puichin_. The water
contained in the coco-nut is also allowed to ferment, but this is seldom
drunk, it being considered very unwholesome. Although these people have
so many intoxicating liquors, they are not prone to drunkenness.

The food of the inhabitants consists of beef and pork, which is cut into
thick slices, salted and smoked. The beef which is fed on gamaloti is
good, but that fed on the savanas near to the sea is much better: the
hogs are fed on ripe plantains, and become very fat, but the meat is not
solid. Fowls are bred in great abundance; they feed well on ripe
plantains, and are delicate eating. Besides these, the woods produce
game in great abundance. Among the quadrupeds are sainos, tatabras,
deer, monkeys, agutis, iguanas, charapas: among the birds, poujis,
huacharacas, turkeys, parrots, and wild ducks of several varieties.

The saino, tatabra, and aguti are three varieties of the caira tribe;
the first is about two feet high and three feet long, and is slightly
covered with coarse black hair; the snout is shorter than that of a pig;
it has on its back a soft protuberance, which when opened emits a very
offensive musky odour, so much so, that the animal itself rolls about,
and places its nose close to the ground, as if to avoid the stench, and
its companions immediately desert it. The flesh of this animal, however,
is extremely delicate, and by the natives or any other person who has
tasted it, it is held in the greatest estimation: to preserve it the
natives smoke it in preference to using salt.

The tatabra is smaller than the saino; is very similar to it, but it has
no protuberance on its back. The aguti is not so large as a rabbit; it
is of a very dark grey colour, and the hind legs are much longer than
the fore ones; it generally sits on its haunches like a squirrel, and
might be mistaken for one; as well as the other two varieties, however,
it has no tail, at least not visible. These two species are easily
domesticated, they become very fat, and are good eating.

The monkey which is eaten by the natives is the black long-armed monkey.
I objected for a long time to taste it, but seeing the people around me
eat it, and hearing them all praise it, I laid aside prejudice, tasted
it, and afterwards became so fond of it, that I considered it superior
to any kind of meat I had ever eaten. The flesh is similar in colour to
mutton, the fat resembles that of pork.

The charapa is a small tortoise, the shell not being above four inches
in diameter: the natives generally season all the eatable parts, and put
them into the shell, which serves as a stew-pan: the eggs are remarkably
delicate, and when stewed with the meat the whole is very savoury.

The natives make use of the lance in killing the saino and tatabra. They
usually form parties for the purpose, and never go singly; for although
these animals will not attack a man who does not molest them, yet the
sainos when provoked are very desperate antagonists, and will attack
those who offend them. They make a hollow moaning noise, which leads the
natives to their feeding places, when they attack them with their long
lances; two or more men stand back to back, surrounded by these
poisonous brutes, and kill as many as they judge convenient; they then
pierce one on the back, when the rest immediately disperse to avoid the
smell. The tatabra is not so furious, and is an easier prey to the

During my stay at Esmeraldas I was requested to go into the woods, about
a league and a half from the town, to see a great curiosity; not being
able to learn what it was, I went, and found the two hind quarters of a
full grown jaguar suspended from the trunk of a tree, into which the
claws were completely buried; all the fore parts appeared to have been
torn away, and fragments of it were scattered on the ground: the sight
astonished me, and I was not less surprized at the account which I
received from the natives. The jaguar, for the purpose of killing the
saino, on which it feeds, rushes on one of a herd, strikes it, and then
betakes itself to a tree, which it ascends, and fastening its hind
claws into the tree, hangs down sufficiently low to be able to strike
the saino with its paws, which having effected in a moment it draws
itself up again, to escape being hurt by the enemy. However, it appeared
that in this case the jaguar had been incautious, and the saino had
caught it by the paw, when the whole herd immediately attacked it, and
tore as much of it to pieces as they could reach.

For taking birds the natives use a hollow tube of wood, from five to
eight feet long, called a _sorbetana_, or _bodojera_, the diameter of
the perforation being not more than half an inch; the dart used is
called _pua_, it is about seven or eight inches long, and very slender;
at one end a sharp point is cut, and it is notched round so as easily to
break off. This point is dipped in some poison, a small quantity of raw
cotton is wrapped round the pua, near the point, so as to fill the tube
into which it is put; the sportsman then applies his mouth to the tube,
gives a smart puff, and the pua is thrown to the distance of a hundred,
or a hundred and fifty yards, with an almost unerring certainty against
the object marked out, which in a moment falls to the ground and
expires. The poison used is brought from Maynas, on the banks of the
Marañon, where it is procured from a vegetable. It probably owes its
poisonous quality to the quantity of prussic acid which it contains,
although it does not possess either the taste or odour of that acid. The
activity of this poison is so astonishingly great, that I have seen a
monkey while jumping from one tree or branch to another, if wounded with
the poisoned point of a pua not larger than a fine needle, fall to the
ground before it could reach the adjacent bough; and birds as large as
turkeys will fall from their perch without being able to throw
themselves on the wing. A small black spot is left in the flesh by the
poison, but the whole of the meat is uninjured for food.

The natives use this poison as a purgative, and I was assured by several
who have taken it, that it operates very mildly; they always take it in
the form of a pill, carefully enveloped in a portion of the pulp of the
plantain, to prevent the possibility of its touching the gums, or any
lacerated part of the body, as death would almost inevitably be the
consequence. The only partial antidote known, when by accident a person
is wounded, is to eat a considerable quantity of sugar, and to this the
sportsmen have recourse after they have been employed for any
considerable length of time with the sorbetana, as sometimes a swelling
of the lips is produced, which they suppose to be occasioned by inhaling
the contaminated air in the tube. As a defensive weapon the sorbetana
and poisoned pua are excellent; in the hands of these people they would
commit the greatest havoc, because they might be used in an ambuscade or
defile, without any noise or report; and the pua being almost invisible
in the air, an army ignorant of such missiles might be destroyed in the
same manner as a troop of monkeys, when one of which drops the rest
immediately flock to the spot, as if to examine the cause, and one after
another become the prey of the hunters.

The dexterity with which the sorbetana is used is very great; but the
men are trained to it from their earliest infancy. Boys of three or four
years old have their tubes of a proportionate size, and use the puas
without poison, with which they shoot small birds: they also frequently
entertain themselves in the evening with shooting the wasps, which build
their nests under the eaves or floors of the houses. I have often been
astonished at the extraordinary precision with which the little naked
rogues direct the pua.

Although the natives are such expert marksmen, either with their almost
unerring throw of the lance, or aim with the sorbetana, they are
passionately fond of fire-arms, and will give almost the whole of what
they possess for a fowling-piece or musket, and this notwithstanding
their want of skill in its use.


     Continuation of Esmeraldas, Fish caught in the River...._Chautisa_,
     method of taking....Preserving of....Method of catching Fish in the
     River....Of Cooking it....Yucas, Camotes, Yams....Palmettos....
     Tobacco....Cocoa....New variety of....Occupation of the
     Esmeraldeños....Origin of....Language....Dress....Manners and
     Character of....Religion....Re-ascend the Esmeraldas River, to the
     Embarcadero de Maldonado....Mouth of the River....City of
     Esmeraldas....Road to Atacames....Port of....Town of....
     _Manzanillo_....Rio Verdo....La Tola....Country Produce, Timber,
     and Wood....Coutchouc....Fruit....Palms....Animals....Mines....

In the Esmeraldas river and in many of the tributary streams there is a
variety of delicate fish, as well as in the sea on the neighbouring
coast. The most delicate in the rivers are the lisa, _dama_, _sabalo_,
and _sabalete_; in the sea the lisa, corbina, chita, mero, and tollo;
besides these there is a small fish resembling a shrimp, not half an
inch long, which makes its annual appearance in February, or in the
beginning of March; it is called _chautisa_, and is really a great
delicacy when prepared by the natives. The numbers which ascend the
rivers are so great, that on each side they appear to form a white path
in the water, about two feet broad, and several miles in length. The
women employ themselves in taking them, for which purpose they have a
canoe; two of them hold a piece of flannel three yards long by the
corners, and place it under the surface of the water, one end being a
little elevated to prevent the chautisa from passing, and when a
considerable quantity are collected the flannel is taken up and emptied
into the canoe, after which the operation is repeated. In the course of
two hours I have frequently seen from six to eight bushels taken in this
manner by three women. They are preserved by using as much salt as is
necessary to season them; they are then put into baskets lined with
leaves, and a large stone is placed on the top to press them into a
solid mass, like a cheese. After standing a day or two, the baskets are
placed on a frame made of canes, which is elevated about a yard from the
ground; they are then covered with plantain leaves, and a small fire of
green cedar, sandal, or other aromatic wood is kindled underneath, for
the purpose of smoking them. After remaining ten or twelve hours, the
cakes are taken out of the baskets, and again exposed to the smoke till
it has penetrated through them, when they are laid up for use. A small
portion of the smoked chautisa is generally added to fish while
cooking, to which it communicates a very delicate flavour: several
dishes are also prepared with the chautisa mixed with yucas, yams, and
other esculents.

For fishing at sea the natives generally use hooks, but they have both
drag and cast nets made of pita, which are always dyed with annotta,
achiote. In the rivers they use the common means practised for taking
fish, besides which they sometimes make an enclosure of canes on the
side of the river, having a trap door so suspended that it can be
loosened by a person who hides himself at a short distance from the
trap. The decoy consists of a bunch of ripe plantains, suspended so as
just to catch the surface of the water: the fish, particularly the two
most delicate kinds, the sabalo and sabalete, enter to eat the
plantains, and when the watchman observes, either by the motion of the
rope to which the fruit is fastened, or from the splashing heard in the
water, that a quantity have entered the _corral_, he lets the trap door
fall, and takes the fish with a small net. I have been present when two
hundred fine fish have been caught in this way at one time.

The most curious method used for catching fish is that which is
practised after night fall: a man takes his small canoe and places in
the bow of it a large piece of lighted coutchouc, in order to attract
the fish; he then places himself behind the light and strikes them with
a small harpoon; and he is so very dexterous that he very rarely errs.
The sight of two or three canoes on the water at night, having their
large lights burning, and now and then reflected on the fisherman, or
silvering the rippled stream, is very pleasing. Many times have I
wandered along the margins of the river at Esmeraldas to witness this
scene, when the silence of the night was uninterrupted, except by the
lave of the waters gently splashing on the sandy shore.

When a large quantity of fish is taken which is intended for sale the
natives preserve it with salt, but if it be destined for home
consumption they usually smoke it, particularly the sabalo and lisa,
which are very fat. One of the methods of cooking fish, and which is
practised here, is exceedingly good, preferable, I think, to any other.
After the fish is cleaned it is seasoned with a little salt, and the
pods of green capsicum; it is then rolled up in a piece of plantain, or
vijao leaf, and laid among the hot embers, or buried among the hot
ashes; when sufficiently done it is eaten off the leaf, and is
remarkably delicate, all the gravy and flavour of the fish having been
preserved by the leaf; cooked in this manner it is called _pandao_.

The yucas, camotes, and yams cultivated at Esmeraldas and in the
neighbourhood are the finest I ever saw. It is not uncommon for one of
these roots to weigh upwards of twenty pounds. At one place I saw a few
plants of the yuca that had stood upwards of twenty years, the owner
having frequently bared the bottom of the plants and taken the ripe
roots, after which, throwing up the earth again and allowing a
sufficient time for new roots to grow, a continual succession of this
excellent nutritious food was procured.

The palmito supplies the place of many of our European vegetables, and
is certainly far superior to the finest cabbage I ever ate. It is
particularly white, tender, and delicate, and greatly resembles the sea
kale. To procure them the top of a palm is cut down and opened, and the
white core or leaves are taken out, which constitute what is often
termed by travellers the cabbage, and the tree is known by the name of
the cabbage tree. As there is an abundance of coco-nut palms in the
neighbourhood, I one day had a tree cut down, and the palmetto taken
out; it measured four feet nine inches long, and eighteen inches in
circumference; when boiled it exceeded any vegetable I ever tasted; it
was perfectly white, tender, and delicately flavoured.

Tobacco is cultivated here, and it is of an excellent quality: it is not
preserved in the leaf, but twisted into a small roll, and made into
parcels of about twenty ounces each, which sell from a quarter to half a
dollar the bundle: it finds a very ready market at Quito. Owing to the
expences of the administration of the royal rent or monopoly of tobacco
at Quito, the president and officers of the revenue declared it a free
trade. This news was welcomed by the natives with joy, and should the
newly constituted authorities allow it to remain free from restrictions,
its produce will be the source of great riches to the inhabitants of
this part of the country.


The small quantity of cocoa that is grown in the province of Esmeraldas
is of the finest quality, and considered by many amantes del cacao to be
equally as good as the royal bean of Socomusco. A letter from the
governor of the mint at Mexico to Don Juan de Larrea was shewn to me at
Quito, stating, that a sample of the Esmeraldas cocoa having been sent
to him, the quality was so highly approved, that he and his friends
should be willing to purchase any quantity at twenty-five dollars the
arobo. At the same time the Guayaquil cocoa was selling at three and a
half dollars, and the best Caracas at five. The bean of the Esmeraldas
cocoa is very small compared with that of Guayaquil, not being above
one-third of the size: it is of a bright orange colour, and very heavy
from the large quantity of sebaceous matter which it contains. The
chocolate made from it preserves the same golden appearance, and is
extremely delicious. Another kind of cocoa is found here, called
_moracumba_; it is never cultivated by the natives, growing wild in the
woods: the tree is considerably larger than that of the theobroma cacao,
and has a very different appearance; but the pods grow to the stem and
large branches in the same manner, and have the same appearance as the
other; the beans under the brown husk are composed of a white solid
matter, almost like a lump of hard tallow. The natives take a quantity
of these and pass a piece of slender cane through them, and roast them,
when they have the delicate flavour of the cocoa. I have also seen them
bruise the bean after it had been well dried, and use the substance
instead of tallow in their lamps. This kind of cocoa, which I consider a
new variety, will undoubtedly when more known be mixed with the dry
cocoa of Guayaquil and other places, to which it will be a very great

The occupation of the male part of the inhabitants consists in hunting,
fishing, and attending to their small plantations. Their maize is not of
the best quality, the grain is hard, and scarcely repays the care of the
planter, for cultivator I cannot call him. All the labour requisite is
merely to search for a piece of land unshaded by trees, or to cut down a
portion of these, plant the grain, observe when the young cobs begin to
appear, protect the plantation against the depredation of the monkeys,
agutis, and parrots, till the grain be ripe, and then to harvest it:
this is generally done about eleven weeks after the seed is put into the
ground. Four crops may be produced in one year, without either ploughing
or harrowing or scarcely any other labour. It is thus that the bountiful
hand of providence dispenses gifts in a country whose climate does not
suit hard labour, a blessing which the inhabitants of colder regions do
not enjoy. But they who choose may call the effects produced by these
gifts "the habitual indolence of the people," without contrasting the
sterility of the soil and climate of one country with the fertility of
that of another.

The females at Esmeraldas are generally occupied in their household
concerns; however they assist in the labour of the plantations, and
usually accompany their husbands when fishing or hunting calls them far
from their home: in the canoes the women usually take the paddles when
proceeding down a stream; but they seldom or never use the pole,
_palanca_, when ascending. Although they assist the men in what may be
called their department, the reverse never happens, and a man would
consider himself degraded should he add a piece of wood to the fire,
assist in unlading a canoe of plantains, in distilling rum, or perform
any office connected with household concerns. I have seen a man and his
wife arrive at their dwelling with a cargo of plantains, camotes, &c.;
the man would step ashore, carrying his lance, throw himself into a
hammock, leave his wife to unload the canoe, and wonder at the same time
that his dinner was not ready, yet he would not stir either hand or foot
to hasten it.

The natives of Esmeraldas, Rio Verde, and Atacames, are all zambos,
apparently a mixture of negroes and indians; indeed the oral tradition
of their origin is, that a ship, having negroes on board, arrived on the
coast, and that having landed, they murdered a great number of the male
indians, kept their widows and daughters, and laid the foundation of the
present race. If this were the case, and it is not very improbable, the
whole of the surrounding country being peopled with indians, it produces
a striking instance of the facility with which an apparently different
tribe of human beings is produced, for the present Esmeraldenos are very
different in their features, hair, colour, and shape, to the chino, or
offspring of a negro and an indian; these are commonly short and lusty,
of a very deep copper colour, thick hair, neither lank nor curled, small
eyes, sharpish nose, and well-shaped mouth; whereas the Esmeraldenos are
tall, and rather slender, of lightish black colour, different from that
called copper colour, have soft curly hair, large eyes, nose rather
flat, and thick lips, possessing more of the negro than of the indian,
which may be partly accounted for by the male parents having been
originally negroes; and the children, as I have already observed,
preserve more of the colour of the father than of the mother.

The language of the Esmeraldenos is also entirely different from the
Quichua, which is the general language of the indians; it is rather
nasal and appears very scanty of words; for instance, a woman is called
teona, a mare qual teona, a bitch shang teona, the word teona being
added to the name of the male. It is, however, not unharmonious, and
some of their native songs are not devoid of melody.

The dress of the men is generally a pair of pantaloons of blue cotton,
dyed tocuyo, a white or blue shirt hanging loose on the outside of the
pantaloons, and a large straw hat. The women wear a piece of blue cotton
or woollen cloth wrapped round the waist, and reaching down to their
knees, also a shirt, or more commonly a handkerchief, having two of the
corners tied together at the back of the neck, while the handkerchief
hangs down before; when at work, or in their houses, both men and women
generally throw off the shirt. The children go about naked to the age of
eight or ten years. The manner of nursing their infants appeared very
strange; the child is placed on a piece of wood, in the shape of a
coffin lid, hollowed a little like a tray, and covered with a piece of
cotton cloth, on which the child is laid; it is then slightly covered
with another cloth, and lashed down with a tape or a piece of cord; in
this manner they carry them from place to place under their arms, on
their heads, or in the bottom of their canoes, often placing a banana
leaf over them as a precaution against the scorching heat of the sun; in
their houses they have two loops of cord hanging from a cane nearly at
the top of the roof; the child is within these loops, and the whole
swings backward and forward and lulls it to sleep.

The natives are shy with strangers, and particularly the females; they
are however very ingenuous, which to some people appears indecent; and
well it may, since cunning and craftiness are too often the handmaids of
a high degree of civilization. They appear particularly attached to
truth and honesty; their _yes_ and _no_ bear the exact value of the
words, and if at any time they are called upon to ratify them, or are
induced to think that they are not believed, they leave in a very abrupt
manner the person or the company. Their honesty is evinced by the
exposure of what they possess, and by leaving it thus exposed when they
go on their hunting and fishing parties. The houses, like those of the
Puná, are not only without doors and windows, but without walls, and the
only sign by which an inhabited house can be distinguished from an
uninhabited one is, that the steps of the ladder in the latter are
turned downwards, and no arguments whatever are sufficient to persuade
an Esmeraldeno to enter a house when the ladder is thus placed.

It may with truth be asserted, that industry is certainly not a
prominent feature in their habits; but where a sufficiency is easily
procured, where luxury in food or clothing is unknown, where superiority
is never contended for, and where nature appears not only to invite, but
even to tempt her creatures to repose, why should they reject her offer.
The excessive exercise taken in hunting and fishing is certainly a
proof, that when exertion becomes necessary for the support of nature,
it is resorted to with as much alacrity as in other countries, where
labour is imposed either to support the pomp of superiority, or the
whims of fashion.

In their persons and food the Esmeraldenos are particularly cleanly;
they are abstemious at their meals, and not inclined to habitual
intoxication. It is rare indeed to see them in this state, excepting
during the time of their festivals. They have a curious practice when
assembled at dinner: the men alone are seated, and the women hand to
them in small _tutumas_ the _masato_; they all immediately rise, each
holding his cup; they then fill their mouths with the beverage, and
turning round their heads over the right shoulder, they squirt the drink
through their teeth, after which they resume their seats. This I was
told was an offering to their departed friends. The cups being again
filled, the same ceremony once more takes place, and is a propitiatory
offering to the spirits of the air, a sort of supplication to protect
their plantations and cattle against the ravages of the wild beasts and

All the natives call themselves Christians, but they seldom conform to
the ceremonies of the church, forming a very strong contrast to some
others of the same denomination, who are really only Christians in the
ceremonious part, and who are, I fear, more remote from loving God above
all things, than those indians are from loving their neighbours as
themselves. They are particularly superstitious. If a man be wounded by
accident with his own lance, he will break the staff, and send the head
to be again tempered by the blacksmith; if a hat fall into the water,
its owner immediately exclaims, "my hat instead of myself," and never
attempts to recover it; if the master of a house die, the remainder of
the family abandons it for ever, nor will any other individual occupy it
till the expiration of a year: but all these are harmless foibles, as
innocent in their practice as in their effects.

Their number of diversions or entertainments is very small; after the
occupations of the day they generally retire to rest; the Sunday is to
the generality of them like any other day; but when they assemble at the
annual feasts in the town singing and dancing are very common. The music
which I heard among them, and the instruments which I saw in their
houses were novel to me, and are perhaps unique, except the drum; this
they make by fastening a piece of hog's skin over one end of a hollow
piece of wood, the other end is left open; the _chambo_ is a hollow tube
about thirty inches long, and four in circumference, made of a soft kind
of wood, and pierced with small pegs of _chonta_, projecting in the
inside about half an inch; a quantity of small hard beans are put into
it, and the two ends are closed. The instrument is played upon by
holding it with both hands, one at each end, and shaking it, so that the
music produced is sometimes like that which is intended to imitate rain
on an English stage. The _marimba_ is made by fastening two broad pieces
of cane together at the extremities, each from six to ten feet long; a
number of pieces of hollow cane are then suspended between these, from
two feet long and five inches in diameter, to four inches long and two
in diameter, resembling a gigantic pandean pipe; across the upper part
of these canes very thin pieces of chonta are laid, which rest on the
frame without touching the pipes, and these are slightly fastened with a
cotton thread; the instrument is suspended from the roof of the house,
and is generally played by two men, who stand on the opposite sides,
each having two small sticks, with knobs made of coutchouc, with which
they strike on the cross pieces of chonta, and different tunes are
produced, according to the size of the pendant tube of cane over which
the chonta is laid. Some marimbas are well made, and the diapason not
very irregular; rude as the instrument is, I have often been pleased
with the sound of it, especially when floating down a river, and my
palanqueros have sung their native airs to the tune. This instrument,
which is sometimes accompanied with a guitar, cheers the natives in
their revels, and is not unfrequently employed to wake their souls to
divine contemplation at high mass.

After having remained a short time at the town, or city, for this title
has been conferred on it although it only contains (1809) ninety-three
houses, I ascended the river again to the Embarcadero de Maldonado, for
the purpose of observing the labour and the time it would require. Our
canoe was fifteen feet long, and was manned with two palanqueros, who
with light poles about ten feet long impelled the canoe forward, always
keeping near the margin of the river; besides these I had with me my
servant and two soldiers, my bed and some provisions. I observed that on
an average the men worked nine hours in the twenty-four, and on the
sixth day we arrived at the Embarcadero, having been only fifty hours on
the passage; but the natives informed me that it generally took more
time, the current not being so rapid at this period of the year as at
others. The distance from the Embarcadero to Quito being eighteen
Spanish leagues might with the greatest ease be travelled even on foot
in two days. Thus in cases of emergency an express might be sent from
the city to the coast in three days, or perhaps less, and one from the
coast to the capital in five, even when the river is swollen; whereas
from Quito to Guayaquil, or vice versa, it requires at least seven days
in summer, and in winter it is often absolutely impossible to fix the
time. From Esmeraldas to Quito goods might be conveyed in six or seven
days, during the greater part of the year, while it requires eleven or
twelve days from Guayaquil during the dry season, and during the rainy
season it is impossible to carry them. I have been rather diffuse on
this point, but I consider it one of great importance at present (1825),
owing to the changes that have already taken place in this important
part of the ex-colonies, not only so far as regards the communication
between the coast and the capital, but because the locality and produce
of the province of Esmeraldas constitute it one of those that most
deserve the immediate attention of my speculative countrymen.

On my return I examined the mouth of the river Esmeraldas, and found it
quite unfit for an anchorage, owing partly to its great depth in the
channel, which is a hundred and forty fathoms, and to a bar that extends
from the north shore, as well as to the rapidity of the current, which
runs at the rate of four miles an hour, even when the waters are low.
The mouth of the river is nine hundred and seventy yards wide; it is
situated in 51´ N. lat. and 79° 35´ W. long. and may be discovered at
the distance of six or seven leagues from the shore, by the colour of
the muddy water which runs from it, and marks the surface water of the

Two leagues from the mouth of the river stands the city of Esmeraldas;
it is on a rising ground, and most delightfully situated, enjoying a
much cooler temperature than what could possibly be expected in the
vicinity of the equator. This is probably caused by the coldness of the
waters of the river, which, as they flow, communicate a part of their
coolness to the atmosphere, and keep up a perpetual current of fresh
air. The town is entirely free from that great annoyance in most hot
climates, the mosquitos; owing perhaps to the total absence of marshy
land or swamps in its vicinity, and to the breezes, which, continually
blowing, are so destructive to those insects.

A road through the woods leads from Esmeraldas to Atacames, a distance
of five leagues. Atacames is a little town near the sea, having a small
river of fresh water, which empties itself into the ocean on the south
side. A projecting headland forms a convenient roadstead, which has good
anchorage, and owing to the universal serenity of the weather the port
may be considered a safe one. Two leagues to the northward of this place
there is a high bluff headland, called Morro Grande, which with the
Morro de Atacames forms the bay, the best anchorage in which is under
the headland of Atacames. The landing on the beach close to the town is
generally good, but when the contrary happens there is another and a
better to the westward of Atacames.

The town is composed of about thirty houses, built like those of the
Puná, having only an upper story. The inhabitants employ themselves in
the cultivation of their chacras, scattered along the side of the small
rivulet of Atacames, which is generally navigable for canoes about five
leagues from the town. More attention has been paid here to the
cultivation of cocoa than at Esmeraldas, and considerable profit has
been derived from it. In 1805, an officer in the Spanish navy employed
several of the natives to fell timber for the Lima market, one small
cargo of which was exported, but through the interest of the Guayaquil
merchants the law of _puertos no abilitados_, close ports, was enforced,
and an end was put to the trade. The inhabitants of Atacames are of the
same race with those of Esmeraldas; but they do not speak the same
language--they make use of the Spanish, and consider themselves Spanish

Near the beach there are several very lofty coco-nut palms, and a great
abundance of lime trees, whence any quantity of their fruit or acid
might be obtained; but as the trees are intermixed with the manzanillo,
the utmost precaution is necessary in order to prevent strangers from
poisoning themselves with the fruit. The tree is very similar to a low
bushy apple tree, and the fruit has the appearance of a small apple; but
it is so extremely poisonous, that if a person inadvertently taste it, a
universal swelling of the body and death are the inevitable
consequences. The poisonous qualities of this tree are so great, that if
any one incautiously avail himself of its shade, sickness ensues, and
death would follow should he sleep under it in the evening. When the
natives cannot obtain the poison from Maynas for their puas, they use
the sap of the manzanillo, procured by making incisions in the bark of
the tree; but the use of it is attended with considerable risk, and the
poison is not so certain to kill the game; besides, the natives are
averse to use game as food when killed by it.

From Atacames to the mouth of the Esmeraldas river, a distance of four
leagues, goods might be conveyed and put on board canoes for their
passage up to the town, or to the Embarcadero, where, if the importance
of mercantile pursuits be duly considered by the government, facilities
may be given at a small expence to the navigation of this river. The
greater part of the south side is favourable to the formation of a road
as far as the confluence of the river Blanco with that called Piti.

To the northward of the river Esmeraldas there are several small rivers
which empty themselves into the sea; and at the embouchures of each
there are a few houses. At the distance of seven leagues stands Rio
Verde, consisting of about twenty houses and a small chapel. The river
is navigable for canoes about eight leagues, is full of fish, and on its
banks are many houses and plantations. Seven leagues from Rio Verde is
the river Tola, and about two leagues from the mouth is the town of the
same name, containing about a hundred houses and a parish church.
Between the town and the sea there is a very extensive savana, on which
are kept upwards of five hundred head of horned cattle.

When the road called de Malbucho was opened by the president of Quito in
1804, as a communication between the capital and the coast, this was
intended to have been the port; but on examination it was found, that
the mouth of the river was almost choked by a sand-bank, and a schooner
sent down by the Viceroy of Peru to examine the port foundered on the
bar. To the northward of La Tola there is a convenient harbour, called
Limones, and another, at a short distance to the northward of this, is
called Pianguapi, or San Pedro; all these communicate by an estuary,
which receives its fresh water from the river Tola.

The country adjoining the line of coast reaching from Atacames to La
Tola is entirely covered with wood of an excellent quality both for the
cabinet-maker and the architect; for the former the principal varieties
are the caobano, a species of mahogany, very large, and in great
abundance; ebony, cascol, a hard wood, completely black, and very large;
pusilde, of the colour and almost of the consistency of ivory; of this
wood they make billiard balls: there is also red sandal wood, of a
beautiful lively red colour, and very fragrant; the bark contains such
an abundance of aromatic resin, that when heated by the sun it exudes
and scents the air to the distance of five hundred yards from the tree.
The natives use the resin dissolved in rum to cure wounds. Here too is
the guayacan, of a green hue, with dark brown veins: this wood is
remarkably hard, the tree is very lofty and straight, and on this
account the natives generally choose it for the upright posts which
support their houses: when kept continually wet for eight or ten months
it petrifies, and it is a common thing for the natives to dig at the
foot of an old post, and break off pieces of the petrified wood for

For architectural purposes timber grows in great luxuriance, and to an
extraordinary size. There is no doubt that ere long the dock-yard of
Guayaquil and the Peruvian markets must be supplied with guachapeli,
cedar, robles, a kind of oak, marias, balsams, laurels, and other trees
from the woods of Esmeraldas, which as yet may be said to be untouched.

Besides the varieties just mentioned, there is an abundance of ceibos,
balsas, and _matapalos_, which are of an enormous size, and supply
timber for canoes and rafts. The matapalo, kill tree, is so called
because it entwines itself with any other trees that are near it, and by
depriving them of their sap, or preventing the circulation, destroys
them. I have seen several of these trees, which three feet above the
ground measured upwards of twenty-five feet in circumference. The wood
is soft and light, and of no other use than that to which it is applied
by the natives. A kind of gum exudes from the bark, or is drawn from it
by making incisions, and in many parts of Peru and Colombia is used as
an antidote for ruptures.

The coutchouc tree is quite common in almost all parts of the forests;
it is large but not very lofty, and the wood is entirely useless;
however, the tree produces what is of much greater value to the natives:
the bark of the trunk is taken off and subjected to repeated washings;
they beat it with small stones until the fibres are regularly extended,
so that the whole is about one-eighth of an inch in thickness; it is
then dried, and used as a bed, sometimes as a curtain, a shelter in the
woods against the sun or rain, or as a sail for their canoes. Bark when
thus prepared is called a _damajagua_. Some of them measure two and a
half yards long and from one to two broad; the larger ones are sold for
three or four dollars each.

The coutchouc, _jebe_, as it is called by the natives, is procured from
the tree by making incisions in the bark; the substance which exudes is
at first perfectly white and of the consistency of cream; it is received
in large calabashes, and allowed to remain a day,or two, in which time
it becomes thicker; it is then poured on the leaves of the plantain or
vijao, and again allowed to remain a day or two; it is afterwards made
up into rolls about a yard long and three inches in diameter. These
rolls constitute a considerable branch of commerce, and generally sell
at Esmeraldas for two dollars the dozen; but in the mines on the coast
of Chocó they sell for three times that sum. The coutchouc is used as a
substitute for candles: a roll of it is generally cut length-ways into
four parts, but before it is lighted the piece is rolled up in a green
vijao leaf, to prevent it from melting or taking fire down the sides.

Oranges, limes, lemons, pine-apples, mameis, sapotes, nisperos, with all
the fruits mentioned at Guayaquil grow here in abundance, and some of
them to a state of great perfection. The madroño is a fruit peculiar to
this country; it is similar in shape and colour to a small lemon; the
pulp is white and of an agreeable sub-acid taste, enveloping three large

Many varieties of palms grow in the woods; the coco palm, the _palmito_
or cabbage palm, the coroso palm, which grows to the height of eighteen
or twenty feet. This tree has a trunk about three feet in circumference,
and is covered with an immense number of long slender prickles: the stem
to which the leaves are attached and the nuts are covered in the same
manner. An agreeable beverage is made from this palm, by boiling the
leaves and the stem to which the bunch of nuts is attached; it is at
first sweet, but by fermentation it acquires a vinous taste. The nuts
are eaten while green and tender, and have a taste resembling that of
the green French olives; when ripe they have the appearance of ivory,
and are used at Quito by the sculptors for small busts, statues, or
images. The chonta palm is remarkably useful, the wood is extremely hard
and elastic, and of it the natives make bows, sorvetanas, puas, and

The animals which are found in the woods are the jaguar, three varieties
of the cavia, four of monkeys, like those at Guayaquil, deer, tortoises,
iguanas, snakes as at Guayaquil, with the addition of the _dormilona_,
for whose bite the natives possess no antidote. Here is also the boa
constrictor, called by the natives _sobre cama_; however this tribe is
not numerous, and accidents seldom occur; the inhabitants generally take
care to have poultry and hogs about their houses, because these animals
are great enemies to the snakes. There are several varieties of ants and
bees; of the latter are two, one called the _moquingana_, which form
their nests by attaching them to the branches of the large trees; the
honey is very palatable, and the natives employ themselves in purifying
the wax, for which they find a good market at Quito; the other is the
_amonanas_, which make their nests under ground. To find these nests,
the natives, whenever they observe a number of the bees, besprinkle some
of the plants with molasses, and follow them when laden with it on their
return home; this generally leads to a discovery. Great quantities of
wax are procured from the nests; it is of a deep orange colour, but with
a little labour it is rendered very white.

The province of Esmeraldas derives its name from a mine of emeralds
which is found at no great distance from the town; it may be approached
by ascending the river Bichile, which enters the Esmeraldas river on the
south side. I never visited it, owing to the superstitious dread of the
natives, who assured me, that it was enchanted and guarded by an
enormous dragon, which poured forth thunder and lightning on those who
dared to ascend the river. The existence of an emerald mine was proved
to me by the alcalde, who gave me three raw emeralds, which had been
found by his sons on the sand at the mouth of the river Bichile. Gold
mines exist in this province, there being scarcely a river in which gold
is not found among the sand on its shores: however none of them are
worked at present (1809).

The importance of this part of South America has induced me to be more
particular in its description than might appear necessary for a tract of
country almost uninhabited. Its capability of becoming of extensive
utility to the mercantile world, of forming the principal entrance to
the kingdom of Quito, and of vieing ere long with Guayaquil; its soil
and climate; the ease with which indians, from the well populated
provinces of Quito, might be procured for the formation of colonies; the
extensive markets both along the coast and in the interior for its
various productions, besides many branches well calculated for
exportation, must forcibly attract the attention of all those who are
inclined to speculate on the rising interests of the western parts of
the new world.


     Visit to Cayapas....Village....Inhabitants....Houses and Furniture
     ....Visit to the Malabas, Wild Indians....Arrival at the Vijia....
     Interview with the Cacique, Family of....Tribe of the Malabas....
     Tradition of the Origin of....Dress of....Manners....Laws....Return
     to Cayapas....Visit Tumaco....Description of....Barbacoas....
     Description of....Gold Mines....Manner of Working them....Leave the
     Coast, Malbucho Road....River Mira...._Puentes de Maroma_, and
     _Taravitas_...._Piquigua_....Arrive at Ibarra, and Return to Rio
     Verde and Esmeraldas....Ascend the River Quinindi....Boa
     Constrictors....Santo Domingo de los Colorados....Indians....Dress

During my stay on the coast I visited the new village of Cayapas: it is
composed of indians, living entirely free from the controul of any
Spanish governor or any authority. So ignorant were they of the forms of
the Spanish administration, that they only considered the royal audience
to be superior to their own alcalde. They did not even know what the
royal audience was, and they repeatedly called me the royal audience,
having mistaken the expression of the lieutenant-governor of La Tola,
who told them the royal audience expected they would attend on me, and
procure for me whatever I might want.

After a tedious journey up the river Tola, in a canoe, managed by four
indians, I arrived at New Cayapas, and was received by the alcalde, who
insisted on my taking possession of his baston, insignia of authority,
and retaining it as long as I remained with them: he ordered the indians
to obey me, and they advanced one after another to kiss the head of the
baston, and accompanied me to the house of the alcalde, which was
situated about thirty yards from the river side.

Cayapas scarcely deserves the name of a hamlet, there being only a small
church, the house for the parish priest, and two others; but the
situation is most beautiful: the small river, navigable for canoes, the
rich foliage of the large trees which overhang it, the branches in some
parts meeting each other, the enormous banana leaves, the stately coco
palm, and the verdant gamalote, every where enrich the scene. Houses are
scattered along the sides of the river, each having its small plantation
of sugar-cane, yucas, and camotes, its hogs and its poultry.

The indians are low in stature, very muscular, and of a lighter colour
than those of the interior. The dress of the men is a pair of drawers,
reaching from the waist to the middle of the thighs, and sometimes a
poncho. The women have a piece of blue cloth wrapped round the waist,
which reaches down to their knees, and a profusion of glass beads hangs
round their necks; but the children to the age of eight or nine years
are all naked. Both men and women paint their bodies with achiote, to
which they sometimes add a few dots or stripes of indigo, manufactured
by themselves from the plant which grows wild in every part of the
country where the shade of the trees does not destroy it.

The furniture of their houses is composed of a long bench made of canes,
which serves as a table, a sofa, or a bed; damajaguas, which serve as in
Esmeraldas, and the never-to-be-dispensed-with toldo, with curtains to
avert the attacks of the mosquitos at night. Their cooking utensils are
manufactured by themselves; their plates and dishes are the shells of
calabashes, their cups those of the tutuma, and their spoons of the
muscle: nature having thus provided them with the necessary equipage for
their food, in the same manner as she has with the ground for a table,
and the plantain leaves for cloths and napkins, which without any
expence may be renewed at every meal.

The principal employment of the natives is hunting, fishing, and
cultivating their small patches of sugar-cane, yucas, camotes, and
gourds. From the leaves of the aloe they make very fine thread, pita, in
considerable quantities. This article is either sent to Quito or to the
coast, where it finds a ready market, and procures for the indians the
few clothes which they require, as well as salt, which is brought from
the Punta de Santa Elena, in large canoes, and piraguas, (canoes with
planked sides and a sail), by the inhabitants of La Tola, Atacames, and
other places.

From the information which I had of the existence of a tribe of wild
indians, called Malabas, who reside on the river de San Miguel, which
joins that of Cayapas, I determined on visiting them, contrary to the
advice of my friends at La Tola. I accordingly requested a small canoe,
and two indians at Cayapas, and my request was reluctantly complied
with; however, on promising the alcalde a reward in the name of the
royal audience, I was equipped with what I wanted. Having with me a
considerable quantity of beads and hawks' bills, I was not afraid of
meeting with a kind reception: my servant declined accompanying me, and
remained at Cayapas.

I left my friendly alcalde, in possession of his baston, at about five
o'clock in the morning, and began to ascend the river with my two
palanqueros, who sometimes were obliged to use a considerable degree of
exertion to stem the current with a canoe that only measured eleven feet
in length, and was barely sufficient to carry us; and it is certain that
had they not been very expert, and I very quiet, we should have been
frequently upset. At four o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at the
house of the _vijia_, or look-out, where we remained till the following
morning. An indian was immediately despatched to inform the Cacique that
a viracocha, white man, or child of the sun, had arrived with two
Cayapos, and wanted to see him. About ten o'clock the Cacique came in
his canoe, with the messenger that had been sent to him, and as the
language of the Malaba bears a strong resemblance to the _Quichua_, I
soon entered into conversation with him. I assured him, that mere
curiosity had led me to pay him a friendly visit, and in a short time
the old man was satisfied; we embarked together in his canoe, the two
Indians being ordered to wait my return at the vijia house.

Before noon we arrived at the house of the alcalde, and found his family
highly delighted at his return, for the poor fellow who was sent from
the vijia had informed them, that I was a strange looking man, in a
strange dress, and that I had told him I was neither a Spaniard nor a
Creole. Although this excited the curiosity of the alcalde, it did not
alarm him, because, said he, I have been at the Spanish town of
Cotacache, and know that all white men do not come from the same place:
_this_ is perhaps as much as many travellers have to report when they
return from a grand tour. Question now followed question, without
waiting for answers; nor was the alcalde less teased than myself, it
being naturally inferred, that having been with me for two hours, he
must certainly know every thing about me. After allowing the noise to
continue for about half an hour, he ordered the females to retire, which
they did immediately. To my great surprise they went down the ladder
which we had ascended, after which they went up another at the back part
of the house; when I turned round, I observed that they were separated
from us by a division made of cane, three feet high above the floor,
where, with true female curiosity, they stood and listened, but never
spoke, except to one another in low whispers.

The Cacique and myself now seated ourselves on a damajagua, and four
young indians stood with their backs against the partition; I again
assured the old man that curiosity alone had induced me to visit him and
his people: he replied, that probably my _curiosity_ had tempted me to
come in search of lavaderos, gold mines, or to request of him to receive
missionaries, or to force him to become tributary. Having protested that
nothing of the kind was meant, as my inquiries and conduct while among
them would evince, he begged of me to make myself happy, for I was
perfectly at liberty to remain or to leave them whenever I chose, and
that if I thought proper to send my two Cayapos home, two of his sons
should accompany me to Cayapas at any time. To this I very readily
acceded, although I did not intend to remain more than a day or two; but
I wished to tease my friends, who were anxious with regard to my safety,
and then to convince them of the goodness of man in a natural state.

The tribe, at the head of which was Cushicagua, consisted of about two
hundred _ishcay huarango_ families, living within the distance of two
leagues of his house; besides these he assured me that a great number
of tribes were scattered about the woods lying between the Spanish
settlements in the interior and those on the coast. This information
sufficiently accounted for the reports which I had several times heard
at Quito, of smoke having been repeatedly seen ascending from different
parts of the woods to the westward of Otavalo.

According to the tradition of the Malabas, they and the other tribes
that inhabit the woods are descendants of the Puncays of Quito; and
although the Conchocando of Lican, the supreme chief of the territory
now called Quito, became the vassal of Tupac Yupangui, they were not
conquered by that prince, for he never passed the mountains towards the
coast; and since the conquest of the country by the Spaniards, although
the Cayapos solicited a Christian priest, and became tributary to the
whites, the Malabas have as yet lived quite independent.

The dress of the men consists of a pair of wide drawers reaching from
the waist to about the middle of the thighs, of a purple hue, which tint
or dye they procure from the bark of a tree growing in the neighbouring
woods, known at Quito under the name of _grana ponciana_, and which when
known in Europe will undoubtedly become an article of commerce. The
women are dressed in a very strange manner; a large piece of cotton
cloth is girded round the waist, two corners of the upper half cross the
breast, pass under the arms, are again brought over the shoulders, and
hang down in front almost to the waist; the two lower corners pass
between the legs, and are fastened to the back part; the whole body is
covered, and the appearance altogether is not ungraceful; the colour of
this garment is generally brown: the women have their ears perforated,
but instead of rings they use small bunches of the most beautiful
feathers they can procure, wearing another tuft of the same on their
heads. In the same manner the men often place three or four feathers
from the wing of the parrot in the _wincha_, an ornamented piece of
leather which they wear tied round their heads; both men and women
ornament their bodies with achiote, and some of the latter very

Nothing could exceed the joy which these people evinced when after my
first meal with them I borrowed a pair of drawers of one of the young
men, and putting off my own clothes I substituted the drawers, and
requested the females to paint me: to this the Cacique consented, and
they immediately descended their own ladder, and ascended the other;
after a great deal of laughter, and some disputes as to the beauty of
the figures drawn on my body with this red unctious matter, I was
complimented with a kiss from each of my _damas del tocador_, and told,
that if I were not so white I should be very handsome. I returned the
kindness which I had received by distributing among the females beads,
bells, and combs; I also gave to Cushicagua my spoon, knife, and fork,
and to the young men two glass bottles. My watch was the cause of
universal astonishment, the motion of the seconds' hand when lying on
the floor astounded them, conceiving that while I held the watch in my
hand I communicated the motion to it: when I applied the watch to their
ears their amazement was expressed in the most boisterous manner--they
shouted and jumped, and then listened again! and at last it was
concluded that I had a bird shut up in the little case, and that it was
endeavouring to release itself by pecking a hole. I then opened it, and
every one as he peeped laughed, and exclaimed, _manan, manan, chy
trapichote_--no, no, it is a sugar-cane mill, this being the only piece
of machinery they had ever seen, and the only resemblance consisted in
its rotatory motion.

These Indians have two meals a day, one in the morning the other in the
evening, composed chiefly of plantains, bananas, yucas, camotes, a
little flesh meat procured in the woods, and fish, of which there is a
great abundance in the river, to catch which they use the same means as
the Esmeraldeños.

I asked the old Cacique what crimes he had to punish among his subjects;
he told me, very few: theft he punished, he said, by taking from the
thief double what he had stolen, which he gave to the person injured; if
the thief could not satisfy the fine, he was delivered to the plaintiff
as a slave until his services might satisfy the claim. Adultery he
punished by obliging the man to maintain the woman as long as the
husband might think proper, or else by keeping him in the stocks, which
were under the house, till the husband begged his release. Murder, said
he, never happens among us; and all small crimes I punish by flogging
the criminals myself.

After remaining two days I left the Cacique of the Malabas, and returned
to Cayapas, his two sons being my palanqueros or canoe men. On leaving
him, he begged of me to send him some salt, which is very scarce among
them, and that when I was tired of living among the whites to come and
live at Malaba, assuring me, that I should have one of his daughters for
a wife, and be the Cacique. When I stood on the river side all the
females came to me and kissed me, and as the canoe floated down the
stream they all joined in a farewell ditty, which was answered by my two
young Indians. Nature claimed her tribute, and I paid it: I turned my
face to wipe away my tears, and blushed that I was ashamed at shedding

On my arrival at Cayapas, I found that the cura of the Tola, on hearing
of my trip to Malabas, had come up to Cayapas with my four soldiers,
with the intention of demanding me of the Cacique; however, to his great
joy, my arrival made this unnecessary: his surprize, and that of my
soldiers and servant at seeing me step ashore in the garb of a Malaba
cannot be expressed: to complete the costume I had borrowed the lance,
made of chonta, of one of the indians. I sent to the kind Cacique
Cushicagua as much salt as the canoe could carry, and gave some trifles
to his two sons, who took leave of me in a very tender manner: they came
to me separately, and each laying his hands on my shoulders, kissed my
breast and retired. How easily such men might be reduced to what is
called civilized society! But would they be benefited by it? Would they
be more virtuous? Would they be more happy?

From Cayapas I returned to La Tola, and thence proceeded by the estuary
of Limones to Pianguapi, and crossing a small gulf I arrived in the
evening at Tumaco. This is an island in the bay, called Gorgona, which
takes its name from that of the Cacique Gorgona, who governed the island
on the first arrival of the Spaniards. The bay has a very good anchorage
for small vessels, but large ones generally anchor at the outer
roadstead, called el Morro. The island of Tumaco is about two miles long
and one broad, remarkably fruitful, and well cultivated, abounding in
tropical fruit trees. The town is formed of about a hundred houses; they
stand on the western side of the island, facing the anchorage, and
present a very beautiful view. The inhabitants are generally mulattos,
but call themselves Spaniards. It is the residence of a
lieutenant-governor, and is of itself a parish. Besides the island of
Tumaco there are in the same bay the islands called el Viudo, la Viuda,
el Morro, and Placer de Pollas. The river Mira enters the sea here at
three embouchures, called Boca Grande, Rio Claro, and Mira.

Tumaco is the sea-port to the city and province of Barbacoas, which is
approached by an estuary; at the head of this the canoes are dragged
across a piece of low ground, called el Arrastradero, and then launched
in the river which leads to Barbacoas, called el Telembi.

Barbacoas was founded in the year 1640 by the Jesuit Lucas de la Cueva,
who was a missionary sent from Quito for the conversion of the tribe of
indians called Barbacoas. After some time it was discovered that the
sand along the side of the river contained grains of gold: this induced
several persons to settle in the neighbourhood, and to employ themselves
in collecting the precious metal. Their success brought down others from
Quito and different parts of the interior, and a town was formed, which
was afterwards honoured with the title of city.

The climate of Barbacoas is extremely warm, and the rains continue
during the greater part of the year, so as to preclude the cultivation
of the land; hence all kinds of provisions are extremely dear, the
supplies being chiefly brought from the Province de los Pastos on the
shoulders of men, because it is impossible in the present state of the
road for any beast of burthen to travel; and so accustomed are the
carriers to their laborious way of living, that when, in 1804, it was
proposed to open a road, those men used all their influence to oppose
the execution of the plan; and as it was not of any pecuniary importance
to the Government, it was abandoned.

Among the inhabitants of Barbacoas are some very respectable families,
and many rich ones, all of which are employed in the lavaderos; but the
principal labour is done by negro slaves, who are here treated with
greater cruelty by their masters than in any other part of the colonies
that I visited; nakedness is of little importance to them in such a
climate, but hunger in all countries requires the antidote, food, and
this is really distributed to them very sparingly.

The city is the capital of the province of the same name, and the
residence of the lieutenant-governor. Here is also a _casa de
fundicion_, where the gold which is collected at the lavaderos is
melted, and where it pays the royal fifth. It is also the residence of
the vicar of the province, who exercises the ecclesiastical jurisdiction
of the whole coast belonging to the bishopric of Quito; the cabildo has
six regidores, and two alcaldes annually elected.

I returned from Barbacoas to Tumaco, and thence to La Tola, but before I
took my departure for Quito, by the road of Malbucho, I went to the
Playa de Oro, a gold mine belonging to the Valencias. At that time
(1809) this was one of the most popular mines, and I visited it for the
purpose of observing the manner of working them on a large scale, which
I had not then seen.

I have already mentioned, that the gold is found in a stratum of yellow
or orange-coloured earth, of different dimensions, but seldom more than
five or six feet deep, the inferior limit being a stratum of indurated
clay, called by the miners _laxa_. The first object after the site is
selected is, to form an embanked reservoir at the highest part of the
_capa_ or stratum, for the purpose of collecting the rain water; the
next is to throw aside all kinds of rubbish to the lateral limits of the
stratum; the slaves then begin to dig the ground or pick it over,
throwing aside all the large stones, after which the water which is
collected is allowed to run over the ground, while the slaves are
employed in forming with it and the earth a kind of puddle; after this
the stones and rubbish are again collected and separated, the water is
turned on, and in its course washes away the earth: these operations are
performed till the laxa begins to appear. The water is then conducted
along the sides by small channels cut for this purpose, and it is kept
running along the sides while the slaves are continually stirring it, so
that the earth is carried off by the water. When the whole is nearly
washed away the laxa is carefully swept, and every small crevice closely
examined, and a small channel is formed along the middle of the
lavadero, where the water is allowed to run down it; but particular care
is necessary not to make any perforations in the laxa or indurated clay,
as it might be the cause of a great loss of gold. The last washing is
generally performed in the presence of the master, as the larger grains,
_pepitas_, begin to be visible. After all the earth has been separated
by the repeated washings, the gold mixed with sand, iron sand, and
platina, is swept into the small channel, and collected by placing a
piece of board across it at a short distance from the reservoir, and
allowing a small portion of water to run for the purpose of cleaning out
all the crevices; the first quantity is then put into a trough or canoe,
and carried to the house of the miner; and another operation similar to
the last takes place with another portion of the earth, and so on till
the whole of the gold is collected. After the miner has allowed what was
carried to his house to dry, he then spreads it on a table, and with a
loadstone or magnet he separates from it all the iron sand, which is
always very abundant, and placing the gold, platina, and sand in a
shallow trough, he allows a small stream of water to pass over it,
keeping the trough in motion till the water has washed away the sand.
The last operation is to separate the gold from the grains of platina,
which is done with a small stick, a pen, or a piece of wire, with which
the platina is picked from the gold. Owing to the enormous duty imposed
by the Spanish government on the platina, which rendered it almost
invaluable, the miners usually throw it away.

After visiting Playa de Oro I left the coast, and proceeded on my
journey towards Quito. The first part of the road is by the river Tola
to Carondolet, or Naris de Peña, which was formerly the name of the
landing place. The river is not so rapid as that of Esmeraldas; but it
has the disadvantage of being so shallow near a place called the
Porquera, that loaded canoes are forced to stop there, or unload, pass
the sand banks, and load again. Carondolet is a small village, bearing
the name of its founder; from this place a road forty feet wide was
opened to Malbucho, a small village at the foot of the Cordilleras,
thirteen leagues from Carondolet; _tambos_, or lodging-houses, are built
on the road, four leagues from each other, and at Licta, four leagues
from Malbucho, two negroes and their families, belonging to the
government, are stationed in charge of the repairs of the tambos.

Owing, as I have before mentioned, to the inadvertency of cutting down
the large trees for the formation of this road, the brush-wood sprang up
with increased vigour, and the roots of the large trees produced
numberless young suckers, so that in a very short period what was
intended as a road became quite impassable, and was entirely abandoned
by travellers.

At Licta the river Mira presents itself on the north side of the road,
dashing along with astonishing rapidity, while a dense mist rises from
the foam; in some places the river is six hundred feet wide, and in
others, where the rocks have opposed its ravages, it is not more than
one hundred. The Mira derives its first waters from the lake San Peblo,
and afterwards receives those of Pisco, Angel, Taguanda, Escudillas,
Caguasqui, and Chiles, which flow from the mountains of Pelliso; it
afterwards receives those of Camunixi, Gualpi, Nulpi, and Puelpi, and
enters the Pacific Ocean by nine mouths, between the Point de Manglares
and Tumaco. The Mira divides the province of Esmeraldas from that of

On the sides of the river Mira there are many farms and plantations of
sugar cane, scattered along from the Villa de Ibarra to San Pedro, and
on the north side there are many small houses and plantations, even
lower down the river, and as the road is on the south side, the natives
have to avail themselves of _puentes de maroma_, and _taravitas_. The
puentes de maroma, or swing bridges, I have described at Cochas, on a
general principle, but those used to cross the Mira are merely for foot
passengers; they are formed of the stems of the creeper called piquigua,
which are generally about half an inch in diameter, and sometimes from
fifty to a hundred yards long; they generally spring up under large
trees, or creep up the trunk and along the branches, and hang down again
to the ground, but do not take root; they then ascend another, or
perhaps the same tree again, or, carried by the wind, stretch along from
a branch of one tree to that of another; so that where they are common,
the trees in a forest have the appearance of the masts of ships with
their rigging. The stem is remarkably fibrous and tough, and for the
purpose of constructing bridges, it is first beat, and then twisted, by
which means it forms a kind of cord, and five, six or more of these
combined make a rope, the duration of which is almost indefinite, for
the age of some of the bridges across the Mira is unknown. Some of these
puentes de maroma are from one to two hundred feet long, and only three
feet wide; the bottom is generally covered with pieces of bamboo,
_huadhua_, laid crosswise; hand ropes made of piquigua are also fastened
to the side of the bridge to prevent passengers from falling into the
river; this would otherwise be inevitable from the motion of the bridges
when any one crosses them, for some of them not only spring under the
feet, but by hanging loose they swing; the ends are generally fastened
to trees standing near the river side, or else to large posts placed for
this purpose. I have seen some of these puentes formed just like a
ladder; and they are crossed by stepping from one bar to another, with
the assistance of one hand rope, while a foaming stream is roaring at
the depth of eighty or a hundred feet below.

The _taravitas_ are formed by securing the two ends of a rope, generally
made of raw hide, but sometimes of piquigua, to rocks, trees, or posts,
on the opposite sides of the river, the rope passing either over a
pulley, or through a ring; to this they attach another rope, which
first passes through a pulley or ring fastened on each side the river;
to the pulley or ring, on the large rope, a basket made of raw hide is
suspended, and is called a _capacho_; in this a person stands, and by
pulling the small rope he drags himself along, or else he is drawn
across by persons stationed on the other side of the stream; all kinds
of goods are passed over in this manner, and for horses or cattle slings
are used, being suspended by a hook to the ring or pulley.

Having arrived at Ibarra, circumstances obliged me to return to the
coast; I sent my escort to Quito, being perfectly satisfied that a
military guard was quite unnecessary, and taking two guides, I crossed
by an almost unfrequented route some extensive forests to the mine of
Cachiyacu, belonging to Don Pedro Muños. This is a gold mine similar to
Playa de Oro, situated on the sides of a small river, whence the mine
derives its name. I here added another guide to my party, and by a
solitary path arrived at the Rio Verde, about two leagues from the
mouth, where it empties itself into the Pacific Ocean. I proceeded on to
Esmeraldas, and ascended the river to the mouth of the Quinindi, for the
purpose of exploring the road from Santo Domingo de los Colorados to
Quito. The river Quinindi is navigable for small canoes; it is generally
about fifteen feet wide, the current neither rapid nor deep, and it
abounds with excellent fish. To my great surprize and delight, on
entering the mouth of this river, I saw two boa constrictors basking on
a sand-bank, very near to the edge of the water, and we passed them at
the distance of about twenty feet. One appeared to be at least
twenty-five feet long, the other about half that length. They were both
of them in the most beautiful posture that can be imagined, their heads
raised, and their bodies forming festoons, or arches; those formed by
the greater one were six, the largest in the centre being about two feet
high; the smaller formed only five arches, and these much lower than the
other. Their colours were a most brilliant yellow, a deep green, and
stripes along the back of a dark brown hue. The tremulous motion of
these animals, occasioned probably by the posture in which they had
placed themselves, gave to their colours a most imposing effect; the
brilliancy was heightened too by the rays of the sun darting full upon
them; I felt as if under a charm, and I sat gazing on them in a
transport of delight for more than half an hour. Two African negroes
and my servant, a native of Quito, were almost frantic with fear; but
the two Esmeraldeños, my palanqueros, expressed no other emotion than
that of sorrow, at not being prepared to kill them, and to smoke their
flesh, which, certainly, if as good eating as that of other snakes which
I had several times tasted, was a great loss to them.

As we passed along the river almost innumerable monkeys of the small
brown kind crowded the tops of the trees, dinning our ears with their
unceasing chattering, and throwing down leaves upon us till the surface
of the river was nearly covered; however the two Esmeraldeños with their
sorbetanas killed upwards of fifty, out of which we chose the fattest,
and made an excellent dinner, selecting it in preference to any of the
dried provisions which I had with me. On the second day after our
entrance on the Quinindi we landed, and in three hours arrived at the
house of the cura of Santo Domingo de los Colorados.

The settlement or reduction of the Colorados is merely the house of the
cura, and a small church; the indians live dispersed in different parts
of the surrounding woods, generally on the banks of the small rivers,
and only appear on the Sundays and holidays at mass. These indians,
like the Malabas and Cayapos, trace their origin to the times of the
Conchocandos of Lican: they also state, that they were never subject to
the Incas, and only to the Spaniards within the last thirty years
(1810). They are not tributary, but each indian from the age of eighteen
pays one dollar annually to the parish priest, who has no other stipend.
Including the two annexed _semi paroquias_ of San Miguel and Cocaniguas,
the curacy contains about three thousand indians, but the curate seldom
receives more than eight hundred dollars a year, or rather the amount of
eight hundred. The indians always pay their quota in raw wax, at half a
dollar a pound, which is sent to Quito for sale; but a considerable
profit is derived from it, because it is worth a dollar a pound when

The indians of Santo Domingo are called red _colorados_ from the
quantity of achiote with which their bodies are besmeared; in their
persons they resemble the Malabas; the dress of the men is composed of a
pair of very short white drawers, and a white poncho about
three-quarters of a yard square; their hair is cut round and hangs like
a mop, but it is confined to the head with a fillet of silver lace, or a
thin slip of sheet silver; round their necks, the small part of their
arms, and below their knees, they wear other slips of silver, about an
inch broad, and to the lower edge a great number of small silver drops
hang loose, forming altogether a very pleasing appearance. The women
wear a piece of flannel or cotton cloth, wrapped round the waist, and
reaching below the knees, with a profusion of beads round their necks,
wrists, and ankles; white and pale blue glass beads are held in great
estimation among them; they plat their hair in long tresses, and allow
them to hang loose.

The houses of the indians at Santo Domingo are very similar to the sheds
which my carriers used to make in the woods for a night's shelter; being
nothing better than a few slender poles placed in a slanting position,
supported by others, like the roof of a house, having only one side
covered to exclude the rain.

These indians cultivate capsicum, aji, to a very large extent, and find
a ready market for it at Quito, where they also carry fruit, fresh fish
caught in the rivers, and wax taken from the nests of the Moquingana
bees. Their food is principally composed of plantains, ground nuts,
maize, yucas, fish, and game.

From Santo Domingo I pursued my route to Quito, passing through
Cocaniguas, and crossing the southern skirts of Pichincha by the Alto de
San Juan, having, in three months, traversed the forests lying between
the capital and the coast, in search of a new road of more easy
communication between these two places than that from Guayaquil. The
road recommended by Don Pedro Maldonado is undoubtedly the best in every
respect, and I have since had the satisfaction to know, that my report
has hastened the opening of it, which will add greatly to the advantage
of the inhabitants, to the ease and convenience of travellers, and will
facilitate the carriage of merchandize; so that I may hope that I have
added my mite towards increasing the prosperity of one of the richest
capitals of the new world, by assisting to produce the means by which
its intercourse may be rendered more easy and expeditious with the old.


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical and descriptive narrative of twenty years' residence in South America (Vol 2 of 3) - Containing travels in Arauco, Chile, Peru, and Colombia, - with an account of the revolution, its rise, progress, and - results" ***

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